The Burpee Challenge or 100 Days of Burpees

27 Jan

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 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.

Spreadsheet below.


33 thoughts on “The Burpee Challenge or 100 Days of Burpees

  1. Sounds like madness! A definite case of fever on the brain!
    Still aren’t all crossfit people a little mad? I may give it a go.
    I have been trying to improve my full press ups by doing 10 first thing in the morning. And I have come up with an odd way of improving my handstand press ups during the day by each time I go to the loo at work I put the seat down and use it like a box. I try to do around 7 or 8 on each visit. Don’t tell anyone!

  2. I have just noticed that the challenge finishes May 8th. As I come from Guernsey originally and May 9th is Liberation Day this seems particularly appropriate.

  3. I’m in! Tried to do this before – but got sick on day 9, fell behind and then moved house. why does life get in the way of training?

    Cindy that tip for handstand press ups is ACE! and will make you extra careful when washing your hands….

  4. Cindy…you’re more awesome than I already thought you were! Although I think I’ll leave putting hands and head on the toilet floor to you…

    …they’re easy to practice at home against a door or a wall if you walk your legs up them.

  5. We did a 5 minute AMRAP of burpees in one of Chris’ classes a while back. If I remember correctly Ruari got fairly close to 100 but the rest of us were some way off more like in the 50s

  6. I’ll do the 100 burpee in 5 min challenge. I tried 100 burpees a day for 100 days but my shoulder started acting up.

  7. I’ll do the 100 day. As my life consists of hotel living at the moment I should have plenty of time to kill! …

  8. So we’re going to have a 100 burpee leaderboard!

    The Meniss is numero uno with a 5:28 effort, albeit unverified. But I will take his word cuz he’s tougher than me.

    All entries should be on video or verified at the box, or as is said on the interwebs IT DIDNT HAPPEN 🙂

  9. I want to tighten up the performance criteria, otherwise this just becomes movement bullshit.

    1) strict press ups. No “sprawls”
    2) jump into a heel down squat.

    There is some fantastic dynamic mobility in this movement if done strictly. So the 1st challenge is 100 perfect ones.

    Hell forget that!!!!

    The 1st challenge will be 10 perfect ones: no collapse in the plank, strict chest to floor push up, jump into squat, heels down, and say, a 12 inch jump off the floor to a genuine hip extension move with straight arm clap

  10. So, Andrew, are you saying that there is no place for the burpee face-plant in your movement standard? For shame…

  11. Trust Andrew to get all picknicity and add rules……

    But I’m in, 100 days of burpees from saturday. With a ‘lets see how close I can get to 100 in 5 mins by the end of it’.

    I’m thinking if a just over 5mins time made Robo-Cop-Colin hurl , i’ll be impressed if I do sub 15 mins BUT hey …let me not put mental limitations…. Might as well shot for the moon and end up landing in the stars and all that.

  12. I’d rather have 100 lashes than attempt this…. which is probably why I should try…

  13. Good idea colin!

    Andrew, question; can understand why you would want to make the jump higher but what is the point of a straight arm clap?

  14. try again, Sophia.

    I think the last time I tried 100 burpees for time it came out at about 9 minutes something but that was with half press-ups. This could be interesting…

  15. straight arm clap, with your head through the hole of course, means that you have lifted your chest and are getting the shoulder involved, and for a lot of people stretching their pec minors out, rather than repeating a desk hunch 100 times.

    i don’t mind people doing sprawls in a submission wrestling class, but our core moves are meant to be developmental, not substandard nonsense.

  16. Pec minors – now where have I heard that! OK I will try to do as perfect straight armed, heel downed, head through the hole burpees as I can, perhaps by doing little and often throughout the day rather than all at once, but can we do half-press ups after say the first 10 or so?

  17. Cindy you were amazing today as ever. This challenge has its ultimate standard but also we recognise that everyone is working toward this. So jump in with a mindset that you are looking to improve something or everything and see what happens.

  18. Ooh I’m in. I’ll aim for sub one hour as I’m currently useless at burpees. Hopefully that will soon change…
    And I’ll attempt the loo handstand press ups as well. Good tactics team!

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