A month of Burpees

I had been toying with the idea of creating/doing a Burpee challenge for a while now. So last month I did.

I gathered a few friends too, but some dropped out due to injury (not from the Burpees!) while others popped in and out. I felt that doing a lot one day to catch up wasn’t the goal of the challenge, the goal was to do them every day–which was harder than just “catching up.” I didn’t say anything though, I was just happy they tried. I did have one coworker who made it through the whole month with me ūüôā

I started May 31 with 5 Burpees, then added one each day during the month of June. I was supposed to end with 35, but somewhere between 10 and 14 I miscounted and realized I was doing 15 on the day I should be doing 14. But I kept the extra, and ended on June 30th with 36.

I did some research while coming up with the challenge, and here’s what I learned:

1. Burpees are named after their creator–Royal H. Burpee, who was an employee at the Bronx YMCA in the 1930s. ¬†He used the exercise in his doctoral thesis for Columbia University¬†in the subject of applied physiology in 1940, while the Bronx YMCA introduced it to their members.

2. I hate Burpees

3. Burpees are used in Spartan races if a racer can’t complete an obstacle as a time penalty, 30 for an elite athlete and 10 for those running in the general population. Burpees are also often used in CrossFit classes as a penalty if a participant is late.

4. I hate Burpees.

5. Burpees were used by the US Armed Forces as a measurement of fitness for applicants during WWII. The exerise let them assess the strength, coordination and agility. Twenty-seven burpees in one minute was considered poor physical form, while forty-one was considered excellent. I believe that would be the original Burpee, not ¬†with a push-up. (I haven’t tried, not sure I really want to know)

6. I hate Burpees.

7. There are dozens of variations. Royal’s original was a 4 beat: ¬†squat with hands on floor, kick feet back to a push-up position, jump back to squat position, jump up. A newer version (the one I did) has a push-up and a higher jump added. Do a search, however, and you will find Burpees with weights, jumps onto steps, jumps over obstacles and many more additions to make a Burpee more difficult. Like it needs help! ¬†Check out Lifting Revolution’s blog to see some variations.

8. I hate Burpees. And push-ups, I definitely hate push-ups.

9. “On May 17, 2014, in Greenwood, South Carolina, ¬†a gentleman by the name of Cameron Dorn broke two burpee world records. He performed 5,657 within a 12-hour period. He also completed the most burpees in a 24-hour period, finishing with a whopping 10,105. Another world record was achieved on October 21, 2013, in Portland, Oregon, by Lloyd Weema. He broke the burpee world record for the most chest to ground burpees performed in 72 hours with 9,480.”* ¬†Yeah, I am not trying that.

10. I am in much better shape after my month of Burpees. They helped my core and arms tremendously. Although I have avoided push-ups since grade school, I can do them now–and they aren’t scary anymore.

I will keep Burpees in my rotation from now on, as I definitely don’t want to lose the fitness I gained. ¬†Straight up push ups will also be thrown in. My core is solid after all the push ups, and my knee bends more after all those squats, as well as bending the leg while jumping in and out of the push-up position. I am glad….glad that I did it, and glad that it is over!

Added up, I did 628 Burpees over the course of the month, which was both a surprise and made me feel incredibly good! And I just saw an email from Shape with a Burpee challenge, so apparently I am right on trend. Who knew?

Shape got creative with the variations, giving you 7 different types of Burpees. The challenge is to do 10 reps of 1 variation each day of the week, with an increase of reps by 10 each week. So, 700 Burpees over the four-week period. Wanna try? Here’s the link: Shape Mag

*Dr. Axe

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