Crossfit · training

Loving and hating burpees: A midseason report on the 100 day challenge

Today is day 45 of the Burpee Summer Challenge. We officially signed on for the challenge and described its terms here. We started on US Memorial Day on the 27th of May. July 16 is day 50, the halfway mark.

Neither Tracy nor I have kept up with the unadulterated burpee challenge. Tracy’s modified challenge is described here.

My version involves not making up the missed burpees on the days I miss. Why miss days? Too hot, sick, too much other physical activity…..

So far I’ve missed six days. Not bad, I think. But I’d like to limit the number of allowed missed days to 12, I think. Otherwise I could get off pretty easy at the end.

Tracy and I were really impressed with the many versions of the challenge our readers had adopted. Turns out we weren’t the only burpee challenge people making changes to the original, very demanding plan.

How do I do my daily quota of burpees? Up to ten I did them all at one go but since then I’ve been breaking them up into sets. Today I’ll do three sets of fifteen. I’m not sure if that sounds easy but it’s not. Burpees are still hard. But when I’m feeling down I remember that when I started CrossFit fifteen months ago I couldn’t do a single standard issue burpee.

First things first, what’s a burpee?

“By combining squat thrusts with a return to standing in between each rep, the burpee is the ultimate full-body exercise. Just one seemingly simple movement challenges the muscles in your chest, arms, thighs, hamstrings, and abs. And because you’re using your full body when doing burpees, it’s one of the best exercises to burn fat.” From 25 Most Deceiving Exercises (They Tone More than You Think!)

15 thoughts on “Loving and hating burpees: A midseason report on the 100 day challenge

  1. Great post. I too am a bit shy about doing my burpees in just any public space. That’s probably mostly because my form is so bad!! Now that we are about to go sailing for a month I will need to be more confident or at least care less about what others think because I cannot do my burpees down below.

    Good luck with the rest of the challenge and keeping your total missed days to 12.

  2. I think public parks are fine places to do them. I like the lawn at the rowing club and my backyard. Mostly people don’t care about your form. They’re in awe.

    My big question will be what to do after 60. (I can imagine doing 3 sets of 20 but my imagination ends there!)

    One is to do them every 2nd day and still aim for 100. So 62, 64, 66 etc.

    The other is to stop at 60 and keep doing 60 a day for the rest of the summer but that has less “challenge” appeal. I do want it to get harder.

    Decisions, decisions….

    1. You can do it! I’m really cheering you on. My suggestion: do your three sets of 20, and then up to 80 add one more set of X burpees as required, until you get to four sets of 20. Then do the same thing for the home stretch, ending at 5 sets of 20. That should satisfy your need for a “challenge.”

  3. I don’t do the push up part of the burpee, which isn’t I guess part of the classic burpee anyway. Pushups are still the bane of my existence, and if I had to try to stick one into a burpee, I’d never do a burpee at all. I’m the one who is adding a burpee a week (this week I’m up to 3). I have been wondering what I will do when I’m on vacation. I’ll be up to 9 then and I should be doing up to 11 the week I come home. I thought about asking my kids to do them with me in the mornings or evenings on vacation–they can already do a heck of a lot more of them than I can–but vacation is a tough time to keep up with stuff like that. I guess the plan is to do them with the kids and then see where we go from there. I’m still doing them pretty slowly but I don’t stop; I figure I’ll pick up speed as I get better at them.

    1. I like your progression. It’s still getting harder, just gradually so…

  4. I had to stop with the challenge because I hurt my arm two weeks ago and since then I’ve done very little with my upper body.

    When I get back to trying to do this, I’ll take your tip about resting at the bottom, even though I know I will feel silly doing that. It really is too tempting to quit when I’m on my feet.

    1. Yeah, it’s a bit too easy to walk away and say, “I’m done for now.” Also, I pick a number of how many I’m going to do before I start and commit to that number. So this morning I did 15 at CrossFit. I’ll do another 15 in the backyard at dinner and then 15 on the mats in the lovely air conditioned aikido dojo tonight.

    2. When I want to rest “at the bottom” I do downward dog. It gives a sense of relief and I find it hard to get up from the floor if I’m doing push-ups.

  5. Filthy, nasty burpees… we hates them.

    In all seriousness, though, I’ve never been able to do them well, and the up/down messes with my head. Found out this week I have iron deficient anemia. So, maybe now that I’m focusing on getting enough iron in my diet, I won’t get as many head rushes when I try to do burpees? You’ve certainly convinced me of their value in my workout routine.

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