Train to Hunt: Build Endurance with the "Burpee" workout

by Dan Staton, MS, PES, CrossFit Level II Coach


Wondering just how well your workouts are paying off? Try performing a few burpees
. The simple yet rigorous exercise provides the short bursts the body needs to build endurance. See how many you can do before your lungs start burning. That number will help you determine your level of conditioning. Why should you burpee? If you have to ask this then I guess I’m a little leery of your commitment to enjoying the outdoors, tackling nature with a conditioned body, mind and spirit. True sportsmen and archery enthusiast crave adventure, and your adventures will only be as good as your body allows…

How It’s Done
From a standing position, squat down and place your hands on the floor. Shoot your legs straight behind you as if you were about to perform a push-up. Reverse the motion quickly to come back up and jump as high as you can with arms reaching overhead into a clap. That’s one rep. Land softly, immediately going into the squat again to begin the next repetition.

The Test
Get a stopwatch and time yourself. Perform as many burpees as you can in one minute.

Rate Your Adventurous Potential
You performed:
•    15 or fewer burpees = you might be boring
•    25 or so = lukewarm
•    35 or so = exciting
•    45 or more = amazing

Need More Variation?
•    Burpee #1 would be performed from start to finish with one arm. The other arm would be braced against the back of the thigh so as not to lose contact with the thigh throughout the entire repetition. The burpee would end with the active hand patting the top of the head at the top of the jump.
•    Burpee #2 would be performed with the arms switching roles.
•    Burpee #3 would be performed on one leg. The passive leg should not touch the ground at any time.
•    Burpee Workout: Perform a burpee on the minute, every minute. Each consecutive minute ad one rep. See how far you can take this workout.  

For Example:
Burpee Reps    Time
1                       0-60 seconds
2                       61-120 seconds
3                       121-180 seconds
4                       181-240 seconds
5                       210-300 seconds

So on and so forth…

My personal burpee observations: I don’t like burpees. You probably won’t either, but do them anyway.  Doing burpees over and over has not lessened my dislike for burpees and they always remain challenging. Your thighs are probably the first thing to get burpee-burn. Surprisingly, holding your torso straight during the pushups is where you’ll feel it the most. You can lessen the load on your thighs if you place your hands a foot in front of your feet, and jump your feet to a foot behind your hands.

The first 10 burpees are over before your body realizes it’s having to workout. During the second 10 burpees, your body begins to send signals that it would really rather be eating some ice cream and watching The Outdoor channel. Good luck!

In Closing
When attempting an exclusive burpee workout, make sure you tackle a sufficient warm up and position your water bottle close at hand. Don’t be surprised if you quickly reach the point where your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen and it becomes difficult to keep track of reps. Do not fear the burpee: Embrace it and your outdoor adventures will only improve.

Stay strong, shoot straight, and Get Serious, Get Fit!

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