How I Hate Burpees

I saw it on Twitter. Posted from Men’s Health, there was a link to an article on a woman who took the challenge to do 30 Burpees a day for at least 15 days. This meant 3 sets of 10, separated at first by 1 minute rest and eventually working it down to 0 rest.

If you are anything like me, the very mention of “burpee” makes you want to puke. They are a tough exercise. Almost a punishment. Lifting really heavy deadlifts… almost fun compared to the burpee. A veritable carnival.

Do a set of burpees and I want to kill myself, if the exercise doesn’t do it first.

Now last week was my coming-off-a-vacation week. I was a mess of drinking beer daily and piling down Tastykakes (Philly’s other gift to the obesity epidemic besides cheesesteaks). I wanted to kick myself in the ass and get back to some good level of fitness. Both stamina and strength. So when I read this article, it gave me pause.

Honestly, it sounded like a good idea. And honestly it was. (Although I strayed from the original design of the article, but more on that later.)

One of the things that the article purports is that doing the exercise will aid in increasing both endurance and strength. After 5 days, I saw minor increases. Now it could have been my body getting back to pre-vacation levels of fitness. Basically, I am willing to accept that as a possibility. But, there is something else. I do feel as though I am a little more able to endure more before calling it quits in a workout. That’s big. Even the burpees themselves became easier by week’s end. Plus my normal extreme soreness after squats, lunges, and deadlifts was almost non-existent.

Then comes yesterday and I exceeded the prior week’s workout after the 30 burpees. That included a 33% increase of distance in my post-strength training run. After adding a set and reps to my deadlifts and kettlebell swings, and seeing an increase in the number of pullups I performed. Those gains confirmed what I was ready to doubt: burpees helped.

Now the caveat. I took two days off, breaking the idea that I would do burpees every day straight for at least 15 days. I have my reasons, but suffice to say I want to keep a proper two days of rest and recovery. Part of me was hard on myself for not taking the challenge in full. But I am 38 and need a little extra time to recover. Plus, Friday was my sprint day: running as hard as I can for as long as I can after a longer jog, and that takes a lot more out of me.

Still. I see improvements. Quick improvements. Even faster than normally coming back from a long vacation. That’s some exciting stuff. Even though I do still hate them.

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