Thursday, April 6th, 2017
Alex Jaramillo

Friday, April 7th

THE BURPEE – A Royal Exercise (and April’s Gym Challenge!)

Welcome to the new and improved Mt. Tabor CrossFit blog!  Here you’ll find weekly posts about exciting topics like monthly gym challenges, mobility and form tips, events, and member news.  Check back often to see what’s happening at MTCF.  Now, onto this week’s topic – everyone’s favorite:

The Burpee

Ah, the Burpee – what a magnificent fitness tool, what an unusually effective form of. . .well, let’s be honest, it’s torment.  Loved and hated, burpees are utilized in countless arenas; from military boot camp to the football field, from the prison yard to the damn-this-hotel’s-so-called-fitness-center-sucks-so-I’m-going-to-do-my-own-thing, the burpee reigns supreme as a highly dynamic body-weight exercise that nearly anyone can perform.  

A Brief History

Contrary to popular belief, burpees are not named after the burping and gurgling feeling one is subjected to in the course of the exercise’s performance at higher reps.  Rather, they are named after their inventor – one Mr. Royal H. Burpee, an American physiologist (and presumably, a sadist) who developed the burpee in the 1930’s as a means of rapidly assessing fitness. The exercise was quickly adopted by the US Armed Services and we’ve all been suffering since.

In all seriousness, the burpee is both an excellent assessment tool and an excellent conditioning tool.  Burpees recruit muscles throughout the entire body and, performed in rapid succession, will quickly elevate the heart rate.  They require mobility, strength, and cardiovascular stamina to perform and, conveniently, very little equipment or space – say for instance that narrow bit of floor between your bunk and the cinder block wall.  Go ahead, your cell mate can watch you sweat from the comfort of the stainless steel toilet.

The Challenge

So, this is the month to make your peace with the ominous burpee.  Let’s GET AFTER IT in April!  Let’s say goodbye to grumbling and reluctance when we see burpees in the WOD, and let’s say hello to healthy hearts, strong arms and legs, and greater dynamic core strength.  But, most importantly, let’s say hello the greater mental strength we’ll train as we confront this nemesis every day in the month of April.

Burpee Standards

  1. Start standing, then crouch into a squat position with your hands on the floor in front of you.
  2. Kick your feet back (or step them back one at a time) into a plank position at the top of a push-up.
  3. Lower your chest to the floor at the bottom of a push-up.  Make sure your chest is on the floor, and your head and neck are neutral.  No hyperextension or strange contortions.
  4. Push-up to raise your chest and jump your feet back to the starting squat position (or step your feet one at a time, shown here as a modification).
  5. Stand and give a little jump to full extension with your hands overhead.  Yes, be sure you are fully extended.  Sloppy doesn’t get us anywhere, and sure doesn’t look pretty.
  6. Repeat till you hit your lactic acid threshold… 😉  More on that in this oldie but goodie medical journal: https://www.unm.edu/~lkravitz/Article%20folder/lactatethreshold.html

A very special thanks to Coach Alex for her impeccable modeling – a new career, perhaps?  If you have any questions about form or modifications for this or any movement we do in the gym – ask a coach!  Go get your GOAT, athletes!  We will become stronger, faster, and better this month.