We all know that the burpee can be a full body workout. We also know that it can be quite exhausting to perform several of them. They challenge both your strength and muscular endurance. They say, ‘if you want to make progress, you should measure it.’ This is a true statement.
What is a Burpee?
For a Classic Burpee, start from a standing position, squat all the way down, place your hands on the floor and jump back into a plank, do a push-up, jump your feet back into a low squat, jump up into the air, and repeat.
You may be thinking, what if that is just too much for me? Then adapt, squat down as far as you can go and place hands on the floor, step back rather than jump, do the push-up from your knees, don’t do push-up, or don’t jump up. It’s your work-out, make it work for you.
What is a Burpee Challenge?
First set a goal. It may be to do 50 or 100 burpees- or to see how many you can do in a fixed amount of time.
Next test yourself. Warm up first then perform your burpees. I am not saying that you try to perform 100 burpees in a row. You need to break the 100 up into manageable pieces. Personally I started out with groups 5 with a short break to catch my breath. It was just enough to get me breathing heavy but allowed me to get thru a hundred. In a month or so, test yourself again. Maybe you can perform larger groups needing less rest. That is what you are trying to find out.
How does it help you track your fitness progress? If you can get through your fixed number of burpees faster or do more burpees in a fixed amount of time, then you are improving. Eventually, you will reach a limit, but that’s ok, you can try a harder version of the burpee or increase your challenge (more burpees or more time).
What is a “Harder Burpee”?
If you are doing well with the classic burpee, you may do your push-up with only one foot on the ground or narrow your hands. You could try a single leg burpee, where you squat down with one foot in the air and keep it off the floor when you do the push-up. The more extreme would be to incorporate a one-arm-push-up. The possibilities are endless. Any of these will increase your strength and challenge your endurance.
As your body adapts to exercise, your body composition can also change, which may result in no observable change in your weight. So rather than use how much you weigh as a measure of progress, use how well you can perform.
It also does not have to be burpees. Runners have been tracking personal records since the 80’s. You make up your own mix. It depends on your personal goals. Crossfit has several standard workouts. There are the “Girls” which are shorter workouts that you can probably work in several times a year and the “Hero” workouts, which are longer and may only want to use as an annual test.
Thanks Paul! What a great article with a call to an awesome personal challenge! Also feel free to check out another post on the infamous Burpee! During this year’s upcoming Habitudes for the Holidays Challenge, you can bet that working on our burpees will be a part of the holly, jolly season!
Your Friend and Trainer,
Paul and Cassie