“Easier than normal Murph”
If you’ve been at all interested in scaling the Murph WOD, I’m sure you’ve heard all of these terms thrown out.
(Except that last one. I just made it up!)
Contrary to popular belief, there isn’t an “official” version of the version of Murph that would be considered to be half the amount of work. Because of this, we’re going to cover all of the Half Murph and Mini Murph varieties in our discussion of the Murph Workout for beginners.
(and if want to get a lot better at Murph, check out the GOAT’s (Tia-Clare Toomey) 30-day Murph Prep program…you can thank me later!)
Note: “Half Murph” and “Mini Murph” are used interchangeably throughout this article!
Table of Contents
What is Murph?
We’ve talked about Murph a few times on this site so we won’t be detailing it at length today. To provide some context of what the “half” and “mini” versions are in relation to, here is the prescribed version of the workout.
In many cases, the “Murph Workout for beginners” turns into the “Murph Workout for really good CrossFitters who don’t feel like pushing themselves to the limit today”!
What is Half Murph/Mini Murph?
Take a long look at Murph again.
When you break everything down, you have 2 miles of running and 600 bodyweight repetitions.
That is a lot of work for any CrossFit Hero WOD, yet alone a regular workout.
How do you feel about the workout if you cut it exactly in half? Does a mile and 300 bodyweight reps seem palatable? If so, you have a couple of options.
With this version of Mini Murph, you get the running out of the way up front. For many, the initial accumulated cardio fatigue is preferable to the “impending doom” feeling that everyone experiences during Murph.
No matter where you are in the workout, you can’t not think about that second mile!
Even if you’re slightly more fatigued from the big run, you can race through the pull-ups, push-ups, and squats without having to worry about saving yourself for a final big piece. Once you stand up that last air squat, you’re done!
This version is more of an exact “halvening” of Murph, literally splitting the workout perfectly in two.
There is the temptation to move faster on the first run and you certainly can since it is only half as long. However, the bodyweight movements, especially the 150 squats, will catch up with you eventually.
To me, the first 400-600 meters of the second Murph run are the worst for me. So, if you’re like me, almost the entire second run in Half Murph is going to feel pretty tough!
As you can see from these workouts and their respective times to beat, they can still be quite challenging. Neither one is a “fast” workout by any means.
A “true” Murph workout for beginners might look something more like the “Mini Half Murph”.
As you can see, this one could just as easily be called “Quarter Murph” due to everything being cut down to exactly 1/4.
If you’re new to CrossFit and/or have trouble with some of the Murph movements, I would not suggest cutting the total repetitions any more than what Mini Half Murph asks of you. Instead, opt for banded pull-ups, push-ups on knees, and air box squats while still keeping that classic Murph stimulus!
Tips for Successful Mini Murph or Half Murph
Just because you’re not putting in a couple miles of running or knocking out 100 pull-ups in a heavy vest doesn’t mean your Murph experience is going to be easy. The last thing you want to do is get too excited and treat the workout as a sprint rather than the long, Hero WOD chipper it actually is.
Keep these items in mind as you devise your Mini Murph/Half Murph strategy:
Partitioning is okay!
You might think that because you’re scaling Murph that you have to be as “by the book” as possible with all other portions of the workout.
I’d say that this line of thinking is nowhere further from the truth!
When you do a version of Partitioned Murph, you are usually doing a variation of Cindy during the middle of the workout. Cindy is one of the most famous CrossFit Girls workouts. Few would complain that 10 rounds of Cindy is “too easy”, especially those looking for a Murph workout for beginners.
You may have a different partitioning plan than the classic 5-10-15 sequence. No matter how you break things up, you’re going to get a challenging workout.
You know how I just said you do not have to do things by the book with Mini Murph or Half Murph? This extends to the wearing of the heavy vest.
…and leave the vest at home
To be blunt, the vest is really an “either/or” inclusion to the workout. You either do Murph as prescribed and throw on the vest to add a lot of challenge to the workout or you scale Murph and forego the vest. If you’re scaling the workout because you don’t feel quite ready for it, you are almost certainly not ready to do any vested version of the workout.
Keep working on your CrossFit and your endurance. Next Memorial Day (or in one the years to follow) you will have earned that vest with your name on the front!
Mind your hands
50 pull-ups is a lot of pull-ups no matter how you slice it. If you’re not partitioning your repetitions, you’ll do 50 consecutive pull-ups.
This situation offers advantages and disadvantages.
If you’re adept at kipping pull-ups, you can blow through these in a few big sets. If you’ve opted for the “big run” to start your Half Murph, you’ll be smooth sailing through a bunch of push-ups and squats to finish things out.
However, your hands might not be accustomed to such a high volume of pull-ups. If your hands tear near the beginning of those 50 pull-ups, the rest will be…not fun.
If you’re not sure how your hands will hold up during the big sets of kipping pull-ups, either stick to a number you know you can handle for a few sets (ex. 10 sets of 5, 5 sets of 10) or be disciplined enough to drop off the bar the moment you get “that feeling” before a hand tear.
You’ll feel better during the rest of the workout…and for the rest of the day…and for the rest of the week.
If you think that a good sets of CrossFit grips will help (and they probably will!) check out our list of the best grips for CrossFit.
It’s Getting to Be that Murph Time of Year, Again…
Memorial Day is right around the corner and CrossFit boxes around the world are already making their Murph plans. You definitely have some time to graduate from Googling “Good Murph workout for beginners” to “How to go sub-50 minutes in Murph”, but if you’re a little too busy for that right now, you always have the Mini Murph and Half Murph options.
Either way you slice it, you’ll be getting a great workout while honoring a great American hero.
We talked above about getting your hands squared away before tackling Murph, but what about your feet? Check out our list of the best CrossFit shoes for beginners to make sure your feet are equipped for the trials to come!