Wednesday, February 13, 2013


I am one who gets suckered into things that are way over my head, and it's happened again. This time, it was the100 Days of Burpees Challenge. This Facebook group is mostly a bunch of friends some of which are about as new to Burpees as I am. For those who are wondering what the heck a Burpee is--it's an excercise which combines a squat, a pushup, and a jump all in one quick sequence.

 This is what I look like doing burpees--except I'm not as fit, and not a girl, and I probably look like a flailing sloth.

According to, The "Burpee" was named after its creator Gustav Milichev Burpee. Primarily a bridge Engineer by trade, discovered the exercise whilst plucking plumbs in an orchard just outside Minsk. There now stands a statue on the very spot where he performed the first ever Burpee.

According to The Art of Manliness, the burpee is the ultimate full body exercise. There’s a reason why football teams, CrossFit practitioners, and elite military forces use the burpee in their workouts. Just one simple movement tests both your strength and aerobic capacities. Below we go into a few more details on the benefits of the burpee:

Strength. The burpee is a full body, strength training exercise. With each repetition, you’ll work your chest, arms, front deltoids, thighs, hamstrings, and abs. Trust me. Your legs will feel like they’re pumping battery acid after you complete a set of burpees.

Fat burning. Because you’re using your full body when doing burpees and because they’re such an intense workout, the burpee is one of the best exercises to burn fat. Studies have shown that high intensity exercises, like burpees, burn up to 50% more fat than conventional strength training exercises. They’ve also been shown to speed up your metabolism which helps you burn more calories throughout the day. If you’re looking to get rid of that spare tire, step off the elliptical machine and start doing burpees.

Conditioning. Many men today spend hours a week in the gym sculpting washboard abs and bowling ball biceps. While those muscles look nice, they don’t do much for you when you have to split a giant pile of wood or even save your own life. Burpees are an effective exercise for developing the conditioning and endurance, the manly vim and vigor to tackle any challenge. They’re also a great exercise to include in football conditioning drills.

Free. There are no fancy gizmos, classes or gym memberships required to perform a burpee. All you need is your body, a floor, and an iron will.

Portable. You can do this exercise anywhere. On the road? Bust some out in the hotel room. Don’t have a gym membership? Get your burpee on at the park. In prison? Do them in your cell.

There are a LOT of variations on Burpees. Any version is a good cardio workout, and some of these do not even seem possible for me, a 53 year old out-of-shape dude whose only claim to athleticism is being able to run slow for longer periods of time. The original Burpee did not include thepush-up, although I do it in my routine. Wikipedia has this list, explaining several variations:
Burpee push up: The athlete performs a push-up after assuming the plank position. Knee push-up burpee:The athlete bends their knees and rests them on the ground before performing the push up.
Jump up Burpee: The athlete jumps up as high as they can in at the end of the movement and before beginning the next Burpee.
Long-jump burpee: The athlete jumps forward, not upward.
Tuck-jump burpee: The athlete pulls their knees to their chest (tucks) at the peak of the jump.
Jump-over burpee: The athlete jumps over an obstacle between burpees.
Box-jump burpee: The athlete jumps onto a box, rather than straight up and down.
One-armed burpee: The athlete uses only one arm for the whole exercise including the pushup.
Dumbbell burpee: The athlete holds a pair of dumbbells while performing the exercise.
Parkour burpee: Following one burpee on the ground, the athlete jumps upon a table and performs the second burpee on the table, then jumps back to the initial position.
Hindu push up burpee: Instead of a regular push up, do a Hindu push up.
Pull-up burpee: Combine a pull-up with the jump or do a pull-up instead of the jump. Muscle-up burpee:Combine a muscle-up (a variation of a pull-up) with the jump or do a muscle-up instead of the jump.
Double burpee: Instead of one pushup, do two in a row. This cancels the drive from landing after the jump and makes the next jump harder. Each part of the burpee might be repeated to make it even harder.
One Leg burpee: The athlete stands on one leg, bends at the waist and puts hands on ground so they are aligned with shoulders. Next jump back with the standing leg to plank position. Jump forward with the one leg that was extended, and do a one-leg jump. Repeat on opposite side.
Side burpee: The athlete bends at waist and places hand shoulder-width apart to the side of right or left foot. Jump both legs out to side and land on the outer and inner sides of your feet. Jump back in, jump up, and repeat on opposite side.

So what goals can one aspire to doing Burpees? Can one gain fame by excelling at Burpees?? Well, Wendy Ida set a Guinness World Record doing 37 Burpees in one minute in July 2012. I might be able to do 10 in that amount of time--not sure.

The most para jumps (or burpees) in one hour is 1,840 by Paddy Doyle (UK) at the Bulls Head, Polesworth, Birmingham, UK on 4 February 1994.

According to his website, Mikko Salo completed 1000 push-up Burpees in 82 minutes. I'm not sure if that is a record, but WOW!

Tom Wosencraft, a runner who used to run with my road running group, once did a mile of long-jump Burpees on the River Trails. It was continous, but I'm not sure of the time. I bet I could have ran faster than that.

So right now, I'm on day 10 of my Hundred Burpee Challenge. I struggled through days 7, and 8. My abs ached for a couple of days and I figured the end was near. But day 9 was easy, and I just killed day 10. Maybe I'm getting stronger. I stand in front of the bathroom mirrow, and see what could be the sides of a six-pack. OK OK! I know I'm probably imagining things, but we'll see. And If I'm right, PICTURES!!!!

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