I’ve been obsessed with work capacity style workouts for quite sometime now, and I have a love/hate relationship with burpees. Burpees have been a main ingredient in many of these workouts, and for damn good reason.
Burpees are one of the greatest work total body conditioning exercises known to man.
Transitioning from a standing position down into a pushup then immediately back into a full squat jump is fatiguing as all heck. Incredibly fatiguing.
If someone gave me the choice between burpees, kettlebell swings, Schwinn Airdyne sprints or hill sprints as a work capacity conditioning session, I am going to choose all three of the latter before I choose burpees. Sorry burpees. Sometimes the best exercises are the ones that we dread the most. This is one of those cases for me and many others out there.
However, since this is a love/hate relationship, I have to admit that the burpee can drastically improve a person’s cardiovascular conditioning while accelerating body composition changes.
In other words, if you keep working at burpees and get really good at them, you’re going to put yourself into a state of great physical shape and see some serious changes in the mirror.
I wouldn’t never build an entire program around burpees alone- or any exercise- but I would build an entire workout or a solid “finisher” around the burpees. “Finishers” are sequences of exercises grouped together at the end of a workout to elicit a large metabolic training effect. They are designed to test your mind and your body, and well, finish you.
If you enjoy leaving the gym feeling highly fatigued- and lets face it most of us do- the 100 burpee for time finisher is a fantastic challenge.
Here is how it works:
—> The Rules for the 100 Burpee AFAP (as fast as possible) <—
- Full burpees only (push up and squat jump included).
- Take breaks as needed but remember you’re racing the clock.
- Stop if you experience nausea or dizziness.
That’s it. Set the clock and get to work.
Now, I know that not everyone is at a fitness level to perform burpees for the full 100 reps. You may not be able to finish 20 reps. If this is the case, adjust the challenge to fit you.
Here are some general guidelines for different fitness levels:
If you’ve never performed a single rep of burpees, you’re a beginner in my book. Sorry, but you are. You might be physically fit but you’ve never experienced a single burpee. Nothing wrong with that. Never a better time to start implementing the burpee.
What I really like about this challenge is that it requires zero equipment, can be performed anywhere and can serve as a conditioning test that you can continue to re-test to see improvements in fitness. It’s no different than testing how fast you can run 2-miles.
One of the keys to work capacity style workouts and finishers is to avoid letting your mind cash checks that your body can’t cash.
The best work capacity workouts keep the trainee in complete control of their body and the weight being used. Of course, it’s every person’s responsibility to pull the plug at his or her own discretion. You’ve got a brain, don’t be afraid to use it, even if it means swallowing your pride and falling short of your goals for the training session.
If reps get sloppy, stop the set and regroup. Grab a drink, take a breather, gather yourself. If you still cannot finish the set after a break in the action, stop. Done. Finished.
Don’t be afraid to pull the plug.
Grinding out one more rep with horrific form isn’t worth the torn rotator cuff, slipped disc in the lower back or tweaked ankle. There’s no glory in it. None.
I’d like to think that much of what I advocate on this blog is high tempo, yet safe. There will be no circus tricks done for high reps just to burn you out and get you fatigued. Safety is a real concern here.
Push it hard and to the limit, but in a safe manner. If you keep that balance, you’ll be able to sustain a life full of physical activity, not just a few years of glory until ligaments and tendons start giving out.
Building your fitness and preserve your body. It’s a balance.
Give this challenge a real shot, either as workout in and of itself or as a finisher after a strength training session.
Submit your time in the comments section!
Cheers to 100 beautiful burpees in a row…