Get Your Burpee On

Wednesday November 23, 2011

6 Rounds:

400m Run

25 Burpees 

*30 Minute time cap


I don't think I've ever heard the expression "Yay Burpees" with any tone of seriousness. Coach Mike Burgener, the resident CrossFit Olympic Lifting coach and former ND football player (this gives him credibility) makes his students yell "YAY BURPEES" every time he utters the word in question. If he deems the response too meager or not loud enough, the whole class must do burpees, a lot of them. I know because I spent a weekend with "Coach B" learning the finer points of the snatch and clean & jerk. Although I learned a great deal about the olympic lifts that weekend, I also realized the importance of the burpee.

The burpee is used in many CrossFit boxes as punishment, maybe for being late or not using the hook grip. But why the burpee? Perhaps because no one likes burpees. I hear more groans in the gym when burpee workouts are announced than any other movement. I guess its something about going ALL the way down to the floor, pushing yourself off that floor, getting into a low squat, jumping, then capping it off with that ridiculous yet mandatory clap at the top. What's to like right?

Well I'm here to defend the burpee! Coach B may be in 60's and nearing senility with his obsession over the intricacies of the split jerk, but he knows his stuff. There are few exercises that illicit such an immediate cardiorespiratory response as the burpee does. It is valuable form of conditioning and I would put it in the same category as running, rowing, jump rope, and swimming. It is also functional; think about the transition from paddling to standing in surfing or a linebacker getting up from the ground to run and make a tackle. I can promise you, there will be a time in your life you find yourself tired, down all fours and need to get up quickly. Then you will thank the burpee!

If you ever think YOU have to do a lot of burpees and you're feeling sorry for yourself just think of lil Richard Haynes. He did a mile of them!