Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Giving the burpee challenge a try.

Elizabeth Templin McCamic

I am wondering if my half marathon experience has made me a challenge junkie.

About a week ago, when I was looking around for a new workout routine, my husband casually mentioned that he's been wanting to try a workout he read about online: the 100-day burpee challenge.

What's a burpee, you ask? It's an exercise where from standing you drop into a squat then kick back your legs to a plank position, lower to the ground so you can do a pushup then hop back to a squat ending with a jump back to standing. The whole thing takes just a minute and when I do them I look about as graceful as a beached whale. Well, maybe it's not that bad but that is how I feel, especially after five or six.

This 100-day challenge pops up on a lot of fitness sites focused on simple exercises. They all tend to emphasize how this is a good, full body workout with no equipment necessary.

We've being doing burpees together each evening. The idea is you do one the first night and increase one a day until you reach 100. We're up to 11 and right now I honestly cannot imagine what we're going to do in another month or two when our daily numbers reach into the 30s, 40s, 50s and higher. I'm hoping by then my arms and core will be stronger so I'm less shaky moving through the poses.

So far it's been a fun challenge for us to do together. It's also been a nice, small addition to my longer running and weight training workouts. Every minute we move counts, so I am trying to make sure I move as much as I can.

Has anyone out there tried this challenge before? Any fans of the burpee out there?


Anonymous said...

The concept of adding one per day is one rooted in history. The joke goes about the guy at the county fair who was asked to move his prize bull to another pen. He lifted it, carried it to the new pen, and set it down. The amazed watchers asked how he was able to lift such a large bull. His reply was that he lifted it the day it was born, again the next day, etc. Just as you did not start out running 13 miles, but built to it gradually, so too, you start small and build to more on this exercise. It worked on the running, it should work here, too. Good luck ... and particularly with exercising WITH someone, rather than doing solitary exercise ... much more interesting and much more likely to keep with it (you won't want to "show yellow" to someone else).

Small Group and Personal Training said...

Oh, the burpee....the dreaded burpee. Elizabeth, I am a certified group exercise instructor at the Y and a certified personal trainer, as well as being a former elite athlete (member of the U.S. National Springboard/ Platform Diving Team). I am also the fitness expert on our local morning show, "Charlotte Today." I use some form of the burpee in almost every class I teach and with nearly every client I train each and every day.

The burpee is not only a brutal move, but just as you mentioned in your article, it is an efficient one working every major muscle group in one single effort. In performing this exercise, you get the dual benefit of both a weight training and a cardio workout: you use your own body weight as resistance (muscle toning/ sculpting) and by nature of the difficulty of the move and by performing it with some speed, you sky-rocket your heart rate (cardio benefit). It is surely a calorie-buster!

Did you know that there are an infinite number of varieties of the burpee? Make sure you reach your 100-Burpee Goal without boredom...change it up! Try the sideways burpee, the frog-hop burpee, the sumo burpee, the inverted burpee...and the list goes on. You can Google/ YouTube videos and explanations of each of these variations. Changing it up will also enhance your results...hit different muscle groups, slightly alter how you work each muscle, and confuse that body into giving you results.

Good luck!

-Erin (www.erinborchard.blogspot.com)

Elizabeth said...

Erin, thanks for the tips on different types of burpees. I'll be researching them tonight as we enter day 17. So far it has been a fun challenge, though we're still just getting started.

I have noticed that my form is starting to improve, which is exciting. I'm hoping it's a sign I'm getting a little stronger.

It has been fun to take on this challenge WITH someone. I'll let you know how it goes.