It’s well known within FastTrack Fit Camp circles that I love a burpee. Over the last 10 years of FastTrack Fit Camp we’ve done a fair few.
To my mind, if I only had to chose one exercise I would chose the burpee.
Here’s some interesting facts about the Marmite of the exercise world.
1. The burpee was originally designed as a measure of fitness, as a four point move, by an American Physiologist called Royal Huddleston Burpee as part of a range of exercises for a fitness test.
He wanted to use the then (4 count move) as a way to track heart rate as part of a fitness test. His original move is a low impact version of the one we use at Fit Camp.
- 1. From standing, squat to hands down.
- 2. Jump back to a high plank
- 3. Jump in like a squat thrust.
- 4. Stand up.
His contained no jumping, no press ups, not with battle ropes or medicine balls or however else you’ve seen them done elsewhere…and here’s the rub modern day burpee crew. He only asked for 4 in a row! How things have changed.
2. In 1942 the exercise was used as part of a fitness test for World War II enlistees for a continuous 20 seconds. By 1946 the test had risen to 60 seconds and scores of 41 were deemed to be good and fewer than 27 was less than satisfactory.
3. There are umpteen versions of this move. Here’s a few…
- Making it low impact by stepping back and no jumping.
- Jumping back out with the legs and up when standing.
- Adding a press up.
- Using only one arm.
- Using only one leg.
- Long jump burpee.
- Box jump burpee.
- Tuck jump burpee…
4. In 2012 I started the 100 Day Fitness Challenge as a way of keeping myself fit after retiring as a participating fitness instructor. My challenge was 100 days of 100 burpees a day. This I did. My final day blog is here. From here the 100DFC was born.
Side note: the following year I ran 5km every day for 100 days. I had better physical improvements from the burpee year than I did with the running. Just saying.
5. World records:
- Lee Ryan (UK) 10,110 in 24 hours.
- Bryan Abell (USA) 4689 in 12 hours.
- Charlie Gard (Tas) 851 in 60 minutes.
- Mario Silvestri (It) 47 in 60 seconds.
- Leigh Scott (UK) 40 in 60 seconds (female).
- Most people performing burpees: Dubai Police 1455 people at the same time.
- FastTrack Fit Camp – Clare Wailing and Stuart Balshaw both achieving 38 in 60 seconds in 2019.
6. Self Testing:
A good result for a 30 second test is greater than 16 burpees for men.
A good result for a 30 second test is greater than 12 burpees for women.
7. What else?
The burpee is a full body exercise.
Therefore it targets multiple muscle groups, several movement patterns, challenges cardiovascular fitness and improves coordination and balance. It is excellent for fat burning, body reshaping and especially abs firming.
If you ever need a quick win to get in shape – a concerted burpee routine will do it. However do remember that they are only as good as the effort you put in and the technique you use.
If in any doubt ask someone to video you or set up your phone to record you doing a couple to see what you look like and where you’d be able to improve or increase intensity.
They don’t need any equipment. I’ve done them in car parks, hotel rooms, the kitchen, my garden, parks, at network meetings, at a Christmas party…
They’re calorie torching. If you’re feeling that you’ve not done much exercise in a day or week crack out 30-50 burpees as fast as you can. You’ll be giving yourself a metabolic gift.
Finally, rather than going into your burpees with thoughts of dread I challenge you to enjoy them.
To embrace them even.
Think about exactly what you are doing, every time you do one, and how they’re changing you.
In the grand scheme of things a few sets of 30-60 seconds of burpees is a miniscule part of your day. But it’s those 30-60 seconds of burpees that will change a large part of your life.
Remember to allow yourself enough space to move.
Please rest if you feel wobbly, light headed, nauseous, hot or overworked.
And, if you really can’t enjoy them. Buck them. Buck furpees people, buck furpees.
FastTrack Fit Camp is an outdoor fitness business with the focus on improving people on the inside so they feel good on the outside. In 2019 FastTrack Fit Camp became a Social Enterprise and committed to distribute a minimum of 50% of profits back to community environmental projects each year with the goal of helping our local citizens feel good whilst being outside too.