Remembering What Memorial Day Means

Memorial Day is all about BBQs right? It’s the unofficial start to the summer season right? Guess again, junior!


Memorial Day is a time for appreciation and reflection. It is a time to reflect on the sacrifices that were made by servicemembers in the defense of our great nation. It’s not a time to chill out on a 4-day weekend and brag about how great your fucking supreme grilling skills. Yes, this is how many Americans spend this holiday, but rarely do they recognize or understand the importance of it.


With the rise of CrossFit, more people are beginning to understand the importance of sacrifice. Whether you like CrossFit or not, I could give a shit less. But in CrossFit gyms across the nation, you’ll find members doing a workout each Memorial Day weekend called “Murph”. CrossFit has a number of workouts that are dedicated (and named) in honor of fallen servicemembers and first responders. Murph is probably the most famous of the workouts.


So who is Murph? If you’ve seen the movie Lone Survivor, then the name should ring a bell. Lt. Michael Murphy was the leader of a small SEAL team, tasked with a recon mission in the mountains of Afghanistan. After their location was compromised by a few goat herders, the team came under heavy enemy fire. A massive, hours long firefight ensued, in which many of the team members became separated. Lt. Murphy was fatally wounded while knowingly climbing out to an exposed position in an attempt to provide his location to higher command.


This massive act of selflessness and courage is almost unfathomable to comprehend. Lt. Murphy knowingly moved to an uncovered area, in the middle of a firefight, in an attempt to help save his men. It’s likely that he knew that would be his last act, giving up his life to help save the lives of those he was in command of.


The Murph workout, traditionally completed on Memorial Day, is a way to recognize the sacrifice that he and all the other servicemembers have made. It’s a grueling workout, and it’s designed to be that way. I suggest that you give it a try this Memorial Day weekend. When you’re feeling down and fucking sorry for yourself in the middle of the workout, remember that there are those that have given much more, ones that have given everything.


“Murph” – Completed with a 20-pound vest if you have it

  • 1 mile run

  • 100 pullups

  • 200 pushups

  • 300 air squats

  • 1 mile run


*Break up the exercises into smaller rounds if you need to (5 pullups, 10 pushups, 15 air squats). One mile runs cannot be broken up. 


Jon Griffith specializes in optimizing performance for firefighters & police. Jon is a personal trainer, firefighter, and former U.S. Army infantryman. He lives in Austin, Texas with his wife and 3 cats.

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