I LIKE BURPEES, BURPEES ARE MY FAVORITE!
By Coach Rachael
How many burpees do you think you could do in a 7 min AMRAP? In the 2013 CrossFit games, this was the 1st competition exercise. Did the thought make your heart sink? Did your stomach start to churn? Now, imagine for it to count you have to jump and hit an object 6” overhead instead of just a clap.
Well, to gain some perspective, the top score was a woman from Russia who performed 161 reps. This is 23 burpees a minute or one every 2.6 seconds.
Since the objective of burpee work is speed, speed, speed, these numbers make sense for a games athlete. It also justifies why burpees are one of the most universally dreaded exercises in CrossFit. So, I am sure most people don’t want to hear that the burpee is also one of the best movements for overall health. Burpees require strength, flexibility and endurance. In fact, when doing one burpee you are strengthening 10 different muscles in the legs, back, arms, abs and chest. “A burpee is somewhat equal to a push up, good morning, air squat, and a vertical jump all in one,” says Reebok CrossFit Games athlete Annie Thorisdottir in the article The Awesomeness of Burpees Will Condition You Like No Other Exercise published in mensfitnessfocus.com. Never thought about it that way, did you? In one movement, you are performing four exercises, and training your body to get off the floor quickly. I am sure all of you have had a time where you were called to a honey-do, or to a crying child, and did NOT respond fast enough. Your knees, back or laziness held you back. Not today! Not anymore! Next time you can respond to that call of duty with a burp in your step.
So where did this love it / hate it exercise ever come from anyway? Who should we thank for this beauty? As with many of the body weight movements, burpees were used in the 1940’s as a fitness test for men enlisting in the army. If you could perform 41 burpees in a minute you were considered in excellent shape. The original burpee, invented in 1939 by Royal H. Burpee, was a four-step movement. Our burpee was modified by the military and is broken down to be a six-step movement. Huffingtonpost.com, A Brief History of the Burpee.
How do these six movements, when put together to equal a burpee, compare to other exercises, you ask? In one study a group of athletes performed three rounds of burpees (with a four-minute break afterwards). A second group of athletes performed sprint interval cycling for 30 seconds in an “all-out” situation for the same rounds and rest intervals. The athletes underwent a series of health tests post workout. Both exercises elicited similar heart rates and VO2 max, which is the maximum amount of oxygen you can take in while exercising. The difference is that cycling done on a stationary bike requires a “relatively simple motor pattern, whereas the burpee involves some degree of agility, balance, coordination and total body strength” menshealth.com, Why Burpees Are the Most Badass Exercise.
“Studies suggest burpee workouts burn up to 50% more fat than conventional exercises, and can also increase your metabolism” positivehealthwellness.com. The next time you see burpees programmed in a WOR WOD, just think of all the benefits LaMonte and Julie are giving you,
burpees are a gift. J Don’t ignore all the fat that is melting off with each jump and clap. Maybe this will help motivate you through the next time we do the Filthy Fifty, Riley or The Don!
Warm-up: Down and Back:
High knees, Butt kicks, Opposite hand, walking lunges with a twist, karaoke, jumping jack shuffle, broad jump, back peddle, lateral movement
Mobility: 2×10 deadbugs (core activation)
Strength: choose a challenging load and work 5 sets, rest 90s:
Snatch: high hang + hang + below knee 5×3
Metcon: Partner 20 min AMRAP
10 HPC (115/75)
10 Front Rack Lunges
10 WB cleans
1 athlete completes full round, then switch
41 Partner Box Jumps