The punishing practices continue. I got ambitious last week and added in a couple of rounds of hard circuit exercising, trying to jump start my 12 pound weight-loss intentions. I discovered that while they are a great overall body conditioner, burpees are not the be-all/end-all exercise. My circuit routines had me sore and stiff in parts of my body I’d forgotten I still had a lease on.
And it is not really an exercise I seem to get better at. While I certainly can do more reps with greater effeciency than when I first started, I cannot go the full measure of reps without stopping. I forced (and I mean forced) myself to push out 25 reps without stopping. Then I would take a two minute break (where I learned the hard way to not take drinks of water!) and finish my remaining reps. Crossing the 35 total reps threshold seems to have been the make-or-break. Until then I would have to sit down on wobbly legs and suck in great gulps of breath while mopping off great streams of sweat. Past that now; both the gulping and the streaming. I can finish my second set and recover to normal activity in just a minute or so.
I tried another variation where instead of jumping up at the end of the move I jump to the side. Do a burpee, jump to the left, do a burpee, jump to the right. I saw someone doing it in a video where they were jumping over a step-crate. I figured I’d trip and break an ankle give such an obstacle so I just air-jumped. I also did a variation where instead of jumping I did alternating lunges. This tended to break my rhythm so I only did this a couple of days. Neither variation made the exercise more fun, however. Just getting them done, then reflecting upon having finished them, seems to be a burpee’s only motivational reward.
One more day and I will be finished with this goal. Then I’ll try and keep up a daily routine of burpees. I’d wanted to go for 50 every day, but maybe I’ll keep it at 25, and do 50 once or twice a week.
Sunday: 30+10 & 25+11
Friday: 25+16+2 (yes, I went ahead and did the full 43 reps, just in case something happened and I got off track, I could at least finish the goal with some honesty)
Total so far: 949
4 weeks of daily burpees. Doing a couple days of doubling up cured me of taking any days off, no matter how tired I thought I felt. I had showered, shaved, drank my water and gone to bed when I realized I had not done my burpees for the day. I could have blown it off but I got up and spent 5 minutes huffing and puffings then had to take another quick shower. My wife rolled over bleary-eyed and asked what I was doing and I told her that burpees are a battle that must constantly be fought. She told me I was crazy and I told her she didn’t understand.
People who don’t do burpees don’t understand.
I said I wouldn’t be doing any fancy variations but there was one I wanted to try. I don’t know where I got the idea but I must have seen it somewhere. I don’t know what to call it except a cross-legged burpee. Go through the standard first steps of a typical burpee, but when you jump your legs back, cross one ankle over the other so that you land supported by one leg. Do your pushup then jump back to a normal stance and jump up. Repeat, only on the jump back cross the other ankle over. I have managed a maximum of five in a row. What I have noticed it the jolt it gives my core and abdominals. It also slows my rep-pace down because of the extra few seconds it takes to get stabalized. It also forces me to do a real pushup, not a lame one, which I sometimes try to get away with.
Total so far: 435
Through the 3rd week and over the half-way point. I am hoing at some soon interval that the spirit of competition, of achivement and drive will kick in. Right now it is still the spirit of “Stinking burpees! Why did I ever think this was a good idea?”
Most complicated part right now is keeping a correct count. Sucks when you can’t remember if you have done 18 or 19 reps. I always have to back off and go with the lowest number, just in case. The other day I was going for 20 reps. I skipped a couple of days so I was playing catch-up, so at 15 reps I took a breather, then did another 5. All done, all good. Except I felt like crap for whimping out at 15 and taking a break, so I redid the full 20 reps non stop. How a simple bodyweight exercise can illicit so much ego and frustration…
Friday: 18 + 19
Saturday: 15 + 5 + 20
Sunday: 21 + 22
Total so far: 253 + 20 extra
This week I began to recall why people hate burpees. It is not that it is a hard exercise, it just makes you feel so out of shape trying to do such a ridiculously easy excercise. Never the less, I plowed through the week and successfully hit each daily goal. What I’m beginning to think is that burpees (for me, anyway) are not a good warm-up exercise. I almost need a warm-up/stretch before I begin high rep burpees.
Friday: 12 + 13
Total so far: 120
Racking up big reps was not the goal ths week. Seeing great gains and improvement was not the goal this week. Working up a sweat was not the goal this week. Showing up and getting it done without excuses, that was the goal.
Sunday: 1 (yes, one lonely burpee)
Total so far: 36
For motivation and support I’ve done a lot of video searches on performing burpees. Funk Roberts is fun to watch and he believes burpees are the answer to almost any question. What if he’s right?...
One thing I’ve notices is that very few of the videos show people doing burpees the way that I do them. So I wonder if I’m doing them incorrectly, or a least making them harder than they have to be. I go from a standing postition into a deep squat, touch my hands to the floor, kick my legs back to a plank position, perform a pushup, hop back from a plank to a squat, push up from the squat into a jump, and that’s one rep. The videos I see show people more or less bending over (not squatting), jumping to a plank, maybe do a pushup, jump back to being bent over, then stand up and jump. I like my way better, but it is grueling and hard to keep proper form all the time. Sometimes I am off balance standing back up, sometimes I can’t jump back to a squat position all the way. The faster I try to do reps, the worse it gets.
I’m also interested in the wide array of burpee variations people come up with. Way too early for me to try any. But one video channel never fails to inspire. I’ll stick with the basics for right now, but keep looking to up my game.
I am working a plan to include a regular roation of burpees into my workout routine again. I tried this before but it was unsuccessful because of problems with my back and shoulder. I still have those problems but part of the way I am going to address them is to start a progressive program of burpees.
I’ve started today with 1 burpee movement. Tomorrow I will do 2 burpees, the following day 3, the day after that 4… increasing the reps by 1 daily until I can do 43 in a row on Day 43. Collectively, by that time, I will have done 946 burpees total. Then I’m going to push on for a further week, until I have reached the final goal of 50 burpees in a day, collectively completing 1,275 reps total. What I want to do after that is perform a circuit of burpees during the week of 20-30-50, 20-30-50, taking one day off. That’s 200 burpees a week which is pretty much all you can ask of me, I think.
There are a lot of “Burpee Challenges” out there, and it is an easy exercise for some people, but not for me. I think this is the best method for me. I figure at my max I’ll probably be doing 1 burpee every 5 seconds, making for 12 burpees a minute, roughly 4 minutes of face-paced exercise by the time I reach my goal. To do that, I have to build up my endurance and flexibility over a longer time period.