If you’re reading this, I’d wager that you have a good idea what Murph is and you probably know who Murph was.
(and you probably want to get better at Murph, too. If so, check out the GOAT’s (Tia-Clare Toomey) 30-day Murph Prep program…you can thank me later!)
This you? Then we’ll cut right to the chase (for everyone else, give it a second; I’ll explain everything shortly!)
So….what is a good Murph time (for the 18-34 age group)?
If you’re “Advanced” (defined as being in the 80-95th percentile range and having multiple years of CrossFit experience) a good Murph time is 37:45.
If you’re a “Competitor” (defined as being in the 95-99th percentile range), a good Murph time is 33:07.
..and…drum roll please…if you’re an “Elite” athlete (defined as being at the “very top” and as someone who can “lift weights that others don’t even deadlift”), a good Murph time is 30:33.
Saw what you needed to see and learned what you wanted to learn? That’s cool, but what about a good Murph time for a “Beginner”? A good Murph time when partitioning reps? How about a good Murph time for a masters (of the universe!) athlete?
Curious about any of these times? Keep reading!
Table of Contents
Mark Zuckerberg and Murph
Before we “officially” get started with the discussion, we gotta discuss Mark Zuckerberg’s Instagram post detailing his experience with Murph.
Concerned that you can’t go sub-40:00 in a vest on Murph at ~40 years old? Don’t worry!
As we’ll soon see, this time puts Zuck in the elite of the elite.
Now that we’ve cleared that up….
What is Murph?
The Murph Hero WOD has a lot of names…but what exactly is it?
Murph is one of the most famous, if not the most famous CrossFit workout of all time. It has been programmed in a number of CrossFit Games championships as well as in lower-level competitions around the world.
If you step into a CrossFit gym on the last Monday in May, you can count the wonderfully painful grind that is Murph.
What does the Murph Workout Look Like?
For those of you who are actually unfamiliar with the Murph workout, here’s what it looks like
Doesn’t look like the shortest or the easiest CrossFit workout now does it?
We’ve already looked at some of the more “inspired” Murph times; here are good Murph times to beat for those of all experience levels and capabilities.
Due to its popularity, Murph has gained a huge following from fitness adherents of all levels and abilities. As such, it isn’t difficult to find a version of Murph to fit your personal skill level. Whether this means splitting up some reps or slipping on a vest for some added challenge, there is no excuse not to do Murph when do have the chance!
There are two incredibly common versions of Scaled Murph. Having completed both workouts, I can assure you that there is absolutely no shame in these “scaling” options.
If you don’t want to commit to the full grind, or if you’re looking for more of a “Sprint Murph”, Half Murph still offers challenges a plenty! You can even perform it as a CrossFit Partner WOD with each partner taking up one of the mile runs and splitting the middle reps as evenly as possible. If you do decide to partner up, know that being the second runner = being the sadder runner!
When I think about my experiences with Murph, I think I have actually done Partitioned Murph more than any other version. To be fair, after watching the 2015 and 2016 CrossFit Games (where this format was used) I thought this was the Murph workout.
This version really cuts down the lactic build up (particularly in the arms) and gives manageable numbers to work towards each “round”. Some call this “Cindy Murph” for obvious reasons!
We discussed a bunch of other Murph options in this article. They’re all awesome (and still, like, hard).
There are a number of different advanced versions of Murph, but only one that is at all common. In fact, this version is so common, you’ve probably seen people doing it without even realizing it…
(before you got interested in CrossFit or read this article, that is!)
Unfortunately, I don’t have a good Murph time for any of the vested Murph categories. Judging by how CrossFit Games athletes perform on Vested Murph, you can expect to add between 30 and 50 percent of your un-vested Murph time to your Vested Murph time. You can add similar time increments to each of the CrossFit level categories to get an estimate of a good Murph time for each of these groups.
What Are Good Murph Times by Age?
For masters athletes, a good Murph time is hard to find! Unfortunately, these statistics aren’t readily available. Even at the 2015 and 2016 CrossFit Games, Murph was only performed by individual athletes under 40 years of age.
So how can we get a good idea of what good Murph times by age are?
Let’s look at the first two 2022 CrossFit Open workouts. The movements involved were challenging, but not complicated (kinda like the Murph movements!) The workouts were shorter (10 and 15 minutes) than Murph, but weren’t exactly “sprint WODs” either.
An “apples to apples comparison”? No. A good basis for determining good Murph times by age? I think so!
I took the average times for male athletes finishing in the 75th, 90th, and 95th-percentile ranges for most of the CrossFit age groups (18-34. 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54) on CrossFit Open workouts 22.1 and 22.2.
I divided the 18-34 male score by each of the different age group scores. As expected, the older the athletes got, the “worse” their scores.
I found the averages of these numbers and then took the multipliers for each age range and applied it to the Murph “Advanced”, “Competitor” and “Elite” times to devise estimates on good Murph times by age.
and there you have it!
The good Murph times by age group 35-39 are: 40:16 for “Advanced” athletes, 35:25 for “Competitor” athletes, and 32:35 for “Elite” athletes.
The good Murph times by age group 40-44 are: 43:16 for “Advanced” athletes, 35:31 for “Competitor” athletes, and 34:48 for “Elite” athletes.
The good Murph times by age group 45-50 are: 44:09 for “Advanced” athletes, 39:04 for “Competitor” athletes, and 36:09 for “Elite” athletes.
And the good Murph times by age group 50-54 are: 47:38 for “Advanced” athletes, 41:39 for “Competitor” athletes, and 38:04 for “Elite” athletes.
Let me know if you’re interested in calculations for Half Murph or Partitioned Murph by age!
Tips For a Murph PR
Murph is tough; there is no doubt about that. As we’ve mentioned, there is no shame in tackling Half Murph or Partitioned Murph, either. If you’re looking to set a new Murph PR time or simply want to finish the workout in one piece, consider the following:
Don’t Wear a Vest
The workout is physically demanding enough on its own. Unless you’re an elite athlete or have attempted the workout a number of times before, leave the vest in the closet.
DON’T WEAR A VEST!
I know I just mentioned this, but this is worth reiterating. Memorial Day is going to come around and there are going to be a lot of people at the gym strapping their vests on, getting pumped for Murph.
You’ll also probably notice that a few (actually a lot) of these people don’t seem like the elite athletes who should be wearing a vest for the workout.
Don’t be one of these people.
It’s better to do the workout correctly and/or in under 3 hours than to cheat movements or to make Murph a week-long event.
Set Rep Goals
As Mike Tyson famously reminded us, “everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth” (I boxed for a little bit…can confirm!) Your plan to knock out 5 sets of 20 pull-ups might seem a bit ambitious after the first…I don’t know…5 reps.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t set rep goals for each “mini round” of Murph.
With 600 reps in between the runs, it is easy to get lost in the sea of “this is going to take forever!” and if you’re flailing around aimlessly, it just might just last that long.
Even quick sets of 3 push-ups performed at 10-second intervals will get you through this portion in under 7 minutes. 5 sets of squats at the same interval will get you through these right at 6 minutes.
Most importantly, rep goals provide small, manageable repetition goals to hit each “set”. “3”, “5”, or “10” seem a lot more manageable than “100”, “200”, and “300” do, don’t they?
Who was “Murph”? The Motivating Force to Finish Even Faster
You ever seen Lone Survivor? If so, do you remember the SEAL who heroically stormed into position under heavy fire in order to radio for support?
That was U.S. Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy…or “Murph”.
Murphy ended up giving up his life so that the fellow members of his SEAL team might have a chance to survive the overwhelming odds they faced. His meritorious service and bravery led to him being posthumously awarded the Purple Heart, Silver Star, and the Medal of Honor.
Knowing the physical and mental punishment Murphy went through just to become a Navy SEAL is inspiring enough. If his acts of heroism can’t motivate you to keep it moving during your last 50 push-ups, middle 100 squats, or over the last quarter-mile run, I don’t know what can!
A Lot of Good Murph Times
Murph takes on a lot of different iterations and due to the diversity of the workout’s participants.
There are a multitude of answers to the question “what is a good Murph time?”
In the elite class like the CrossFit Games athletes we watched above? You’re probably holding yourself to a different standard to Uncle Phil attempting the workout for the first time.
And if you’re 22 years old, filled with piss and vinegar, give your grandmother a bit of a break if she doesn’t quite break 40 minutes.
(if she does, drop everything and refer her to CrossFit HQ, immediately!)
Most importantly? If you haven’t done Murph yet, go do it, in some form or another, sometime soon. Remember how you completed it and how long it took you. This will be your baseline moving forward.
A new Murph PR every time after that? Sounds like “good” Murph times to me!
Finished Murph? How about you give another one of the best CrossFit bodyweight workouts a try!