A Doctor Did 30 Murphs in 30 Days and Tracked His Heart Health


Alex Hajduczok, MD is a medical professional in cardiology training with an enthusiasm for physical fitness. He shows Men’s Health what kept him going as he invested an entire month in 2020 pressing himself through CrossFit’s infamously tiring Murph exercise, and how tracking his own heart rate resulted in brand-new insights about how the body adapts to training.


When the pandemic counter in March in 2015, I chose to funnel all the madness going on worldwide into an individual obstacle: finishing the Murph exercise every day for 30 days. I desired to see if my body might physically hold up. It’s a quite ruthless exercise to even simply carry out as soon as (typically taking 45 minutes to an hour to finish), and in some cases it takes the body a number of days to recuperate. I believed that possibly after a number of days or after a week that I would simply feel so batter that I would not have the ability to continue. Deep down I informed myself that even if I got to this point, I would attempt to press through and still make it occur no matter how aching I was.

Named for the late Navy SEAL Lieutenant Michael Murphy, CrossFit’s Murph is an exercise generally carried out on Memorial Day to honor the service members who lost their lives in the line of responsibility. It includes a 1-mile run, 100 pullups, 200 pushups, 300 air squats, and another 1-mile run, all carried out while using a 20-pound weighted vest.

I was at first fretted that I would rip my hands with such high-volume pullups with a vest day in and day out. After about 5 days and no ripped hands (grips certainly assisted), I felt a lot more positive about ending up. The pushups and pullups really got a lot simpler as I advanced. It was the air crouches– all 300 of them– that were the worst, as they felt extremely boring.

The greatest psychological difficulty was doing such a grueling exercise day after day, however segmenting the exercise a various method every day made it feel somewhat various, or a minimum of not 100 percent repeated. My favorite was 25 rounds of 4 pullups, 8 push-ups, and 12 air squats. In some cases I would attempt to keep an EMOM (every minute on the minute) rate for each round, to keep some structure, and keep the strength up.

alex hajduczok doing a crossfit murph workout

Alex Hajduczok

Cranking up the volume on my earphones throughout the runs and blasting music in the (sadly) empty fitness center was likewise important in keeping me inspired. It assisted me hush whatever else going on around me, most especially the pandemic, and simply attempt to put my finest foot forward. When I thought about stopping, there never ever came a point. As my times enhanced, I ended up being more encouraged to attempt to do it much faster and much faster.

I attempted to ensure that I was routinely extending to remain loose, particularly keeping the hips mobile and good. I believe what assisted more than anything was a hearty and healthy diet plan, with a lot of protein and carbohydrates. I was burning about 3,200 to 3,500 calories daily, so remaining nourished was essential. Exact same chooses hydration. I found out how to truly enhance my healing to enhance training, how to call in to a rather rigorous regimen, and most significantly, I showed to myself that I might achieve a quite insane obstacle.

In addition to a significant enhancement in cardiovascular endurance, my efficiency in pushups and pullups likewise improved. On day 31, I finished a pushup and tried obstacle that NFL fullback Dan Vitale published online: 60 minutes of 20 pushups per minute, amounting to 1,200 reps. I will state that I would not have actually had the ability to do that previous to doing all the push-ups in a month of Murph.

I attempted to remain on top of my routine CrossFit training, blending in two-a-days a number of times each week. My strength in the squat, deadlift, tidy and take remained constant, which was good. I lost about 10 pounds throughout the month, dropping from 195 to 185, so it felt excellent to keep my lifting numbers at a lower body weight. My running likewise enhanced greatly.

alex hajduczok doing a crossfit murph workout

Alex Hajduczok

If you intend on doing the Murph next Memorial Day, or any day in between, the information is quite engaging to support doing it in 20 rounds of 5 pullups, 10 pushups and 15 air squats, or 25 rounds of 4, 8, 12. This enables ideal muscle healing and still lets you keep the rate up. If you desire to attempt to press yourself a bit more, I suggest attempting to keep an EMOM (every minute on the minute) rate.

Overall, the important things that slows individuals down the most are the pushups. Think it or not, 100 pullups aren’t as bad as you might believe. And the 300 air crouches will not truly get to you till the next day. The 200 pushups will provide a lot of individuals problem. If there’s one thing to work on ahead of time, I suggest including in a good quantity of pushup volume, at high strength if possible. 50 to 100 representatives about 4 to 5 days per week must do the technique, and it might be beneficial to practice them in a weighted vest.

Having tracked all of my exercises through my WHOOP gadget, I discovered that my typical Murph time enhanced in the 2nd half of the month, from 45:57 to 41:24. In addition, the time in the 80 to 90 percent of max heart rate decreased from 55.1 percent to 47.6 percent, while time in the 70 to 80 percent variety increased from 34.8 percent to 45.6 percent. What this suggests is that for a set output (the exercise was the exact same every day), the myocardial oxygen need was less in the 2nd half of the month, representing less of a countervailing HR reaction (less time at greater HR despite the fact that I was working more difficult and ending up the exercises much faster). This was truly cool to see; a measurable enhancement in physical fitness.

I believe this assisted strengthen a lot and re-emphasize of the important things that we discover in medical school and residency about cardiometabolic health; particularly how the body adapts to training. Seeing direct how a regimented training strategy impacts physiology and hemodynamics in myself was an eye-opener and has actually resulted in a number of other research study ventures in the world of cardiac arrest, including one using the WHOOP device. We are also using physiologic data collected by WHOOP in an ongoing clinical trial studying medical resident wellness and burnout, and I am extremely thrilled to share these outcomes with the medical and clinical neighborhood.

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