Why Alpine Stopped Doing Murph Prep

this is an image to show crossfit in arvada and wheat ridge. Athlete Brooke Carver

It’s been two years since our gym stopped specifying our programming to “prepare athletes for Murph”, we wanted to explain ourselves with the two most important reasons for this change…

We Want to Maximize Your Willingness to Train

From 2021 to 2022, Alpine saw an 11% performance increase in Murph times while deploying a constantly varied training philosophy. This is up 6% from what we saw in 2020 to 2021 when we were using a progressive program (Progressive programming is when you train the same exercises, formats, and/or time domains week after week while tweaking one variable – reps or load – in an effort to increase power output).

Here’s what we’ve learned that explains this massive performance increase in our athletes – programming that is structured to increase athletes’ willingness and ability to train improves their work capacity across broad time and modal domains. Understanding this correlation, our leadership team shifted a huge amount of focus towards making a program that is varied, balanced, and FUN (we can talk about this process at nauseam in another post).

This shift led to a per capita attendance increase of almost 1.1x/week. Meaning, with a programming adjustment, most of you are either consciously or subconsciously training one more time a week! That one more time per week starts adding up to noticeable gains.

While we understand that specific, progressive programming has a place in advanced athletics, about 1% of the CrossFit population, athletes benefit more from a daily program that is enticing and challenging. Alpine’s expression of constantly varied, functional movement, across broad time and modal domains (CrossFit’s methodology) is contrived to elicit excitement to train and then structured so you WILL be able to train more often. That excitement + ability to train increases your overall fitness, and thereby – your Murph time.

Options of the Specialist

Specialization more often leads to compromise in another domain or overuse injuries that we do not prefer for the general population. Prioritizing class towards constantly varying the exercises, time domains, and intensity levels of workouts, keeps our athletes engaged and forces them to adapt to new challenges. If we start focusing more heavily on our volume in the air squat, push-up, and pull-up, we distract from our snatch, deadlift, or odd object proficiency.

But…for those who have ample time and/or experience to specialize, addressing their weakness with extra sessions can help them become more well-rounded. To service these athletes, we have extras targeted at building capacity in more targeted modalities. These more specific sessions can be leveraged by any of our athletes as an effective way to develop their weaknesses.

Overall, this programming approach – with a varied class and more targeted extras – allows us to make the class hour as relevant and challenging to the masses as possible while providing more specific progressions for those desiring it.

PS…A Bonus Reason

Some might hesitate to admit it, but there’s an underwhelming desire for our (and we don’t think we’re an exception) athletes to do Murph. Last year we saw 27% of the athletes perform the workout.

We will service the needs of that 27%, but prefer to build the push/pull/squat/run volume needed in a varied way, ensuring we develop general fitness in the pursuit.