Life throws many challenges at us, a lot we don’t actually go looking for. As I write this its 0545 hours and I have been awake for hours with a fitful nights’ sleep full of cold and running a temperature. So I have made this moment that 5 minutes I have been looking for to write this post.
Crossfit is a constant learning experience. You learn a movement and spend time perfecting it maybe just one repetition. Once mastered you look to increase the reps, speed and or add weight. And this progress can seem endless for some movements. The snatch and clean are examples of this. For me a constant source of challenges. Some movements seem fairly innocuous like the burpee. A combination of a dynamic plyometric press up into a squat thrust into a 6 inch jump. All totally scalable and anyone who has attended my class will have seen plenty of alternatives demonstrated and turned into a coordination test with 6 count burpees.
So what can you get from a burpee? They can make you strong improve your CV efficiency, coordination and agility. They are a bit of a mind fuck too! People do really hate them with a passion. Expose yourself to these and soon you will embrace them as a thing of beauty. Efficient, effective and performed anywhere from your prison cell to your local park.
So now I have convinced you of the need to do burpees and to get good at them how do we do that? I first read about the 100 days of burpees on www.albanycrossfit.com and jumped in with a little help from my son Liam who put a spread sheet together to help keep track. How does it work? Well for 100 days you do burpees yes over 3 months of burpees. How many burpees? Oh just 5050 of them. That’s right Five Thousand and Fifty. Every day? No. Day one you do 1 burpee. Day two, 2 burpees, day one hundred, 100 burpees. A slow progressive curve of increasing work load. When do I do them? Well that’s up to you. In the early days it’s not really an issue, whenever you like. However, when you get into the larger numbers you do need to give it some thought. You can spread them out across the whole day, guerrilla burpees can be fun. I’ve done them in the office, pubs and restaurants, that once got me a free beer. You can make them part of your warm up, WOD or cool down. This becomes more necessary with the really high numbers. It’s very important to note that if you miss a day you have to make it up the next day. Obviously only you will know the truth of this. Last year when I returned from holiday I had fallen three days behind and had to do 250 burpees to catch up, not fun.
I have done this challenge twice now and I have become very inventive at anti boredom strategies. Did you know the numbers 1 to 10 add up to 55? A handy little ladder like this can help break up the monotony. Or try burpee combos, with pull ups, box jumps, tuck jumps, double press ups and many more. Or volume ladders such as 7 burpees on the minute every minute for 10 minutes is 70. Flip that round though and those 70 burpees take on a whole new flavour. I used these a lot in the later stages to expose myself to high numbers of burpees to prepare for the traditional 100 for time. I was aiming for 15 burpees a minute, as in just over three minutes you will have done 50. I can’t remember my first 100 for time, time but it did involve a bucket. My second taste of the challenge was achieved in 5 minutes 28 seconds. I was very pleased as I had predicted a sub 7 minute time. However I did spend 15 minutes hugging the toilet after. What were the benefits? I got very good at burpees and press ups and hitting a Fran hard did not seem so scary. Things to be aware of, RSI. My right shoulder and wrist suffered a bit from this. Pay attention to your form, use a soft mat for your hands. Don’t always go 100 percent have some easy days doing nice slow burpees, active rest.
Why am I posting this? God WHY am I posting this? Well I have just read an article that talked about challenges an apparently a sub 5 minute time for 100 burpees is the norm’. Well, maybe not but it is a realistic challenge. For me it’s a 10 percent improvement. So here I go again on my own…..or maybe you would like to join me?
I will post updates and host burpee parties and we can discuss it all on Facebook. Start date Saturday 29th January 2011.