How To “Recover” While Doing Burpees
Few exercises are hated in the fitness world as much as burpees. A burpee in the CrossFit world is to simply get down chest and hips to the ground and then get up and jump with a clap above your head with 2 hands.
Here at Okie CrossFit we preach sustainable and repeatable. Practice vs Training vs Testing. In the realm of the burpee, if you’re in a Competition or the CrossFit Open (testing), your burpees might look a bit reckless and should hurt your lungs. But how can you Practice and Train your burpees so that you can get more benefit (leaner sexier you) out of your workouts and if you ever want to Test them properly, dominate your competition???? Here are ways you can improve your burpees.
1. Teach the children (burpees) well.
Do you struggle to do more than 100 reps in 7mins (99% of the fitness population)? Of course you do. It’s time to become efficient and gain some spacial awareness. Watch people do burpees. Their form tends to break down pretty soon. The follow things are what I see (and what I do) when you get tired doing burpees: The “Belly Flop” This is where you bend over and either step one leg out at a time and collapse or make an effort to jump out and then collapse to the floor. The “Snake Up” This is where you leave your hips on the floor and look like you are doing an “Up-Dog” in a Yoga class. The “Get-to-your-feet-anyway-you-can” This is where once you have snaked up, you go to your knees and then gradually get to your feet. That sounds quite dramatic but it happens. If you practice nice, perfect form for as long as you can, you will develop the strength and endurance you need to keep as efficient as possible for as long as possible. If you can only get 10 done perfectly, then it sounds like 5×10 perfect burpees are a good prescription for you. Remember that only perfect reps count. Get a partner to judge you – 1 warning per set – if you can’t maintain perfect reps, then the set is over and you have your 30-90secs break before doing them again. Once you can do 5 sets of 10 perfectly, start to increase the speed and reps per set.
2. Develop strategies to match your fitness level.
For those of us who envy our cardio bunny friends who seem to burpee with ease, sometimes a little modification can help keep you in touch… for example… The efficient burpee – this is hard to break down into steps because the really good athletes can burpee with only 2 or 3 steps… here is an example Bend over, placing your hands down while kicking feet out and landing on the floor with everything ready to spring up Jumping up from the floor into a 1/2 squat and springing into the jump – sometimes this is 2 different steps The really efficient burpee athletes will barely land and will transition into step 1 as they are coming down from the jump The inefficient burpee Bend over One leg out The other leg out Get to the floor Snake back up One leg in Other leg in Stand up Jump Sometimes we all end up like this but we need to realize that this is when critical drop off has occured and stop when they’re like this. ZERO UGLY REPS. The more efficient burpee for the strugglers Here is what I end up doing once the perfect technique goes out the window. I can still get 80+ burpees done this way in 7mins… Bend over and step out with R leg out at the same time Get to the floor as the L leg stretches out Jump into a wide sumo-style squat or Push up and bring L leg into a lunge in the one movement Jump into the air from there
3. Transition and technique
In watching much better athletes, I noticed the difference between the top athletes and the rest of us comes down to transitioning from one position to the next. If you can cut down the amount of time you spend in any one position during the rep, you will improve your burpees/min rate. If you are like me and jump in with a wide stance, then gradually work on bringing the stance in. Practice landing and going straight down into the next rep. If you waste 1sec per rep, over 90reps, there are 90 secs you could save over the course of the workout.
4. Baby steps. (segment sets up into manageable parts)
Some people believe you should go out as hard as you can and don’t look back or stop. That strategy has never worked for anyone. Be thoughtful and come up with a game plan that is based around your known capabilities (lungs aka aerobic threshold, muscle endurance, and mobility) works better. Aim for a target number and plan your rests. For example, for 7mins burpees, you can try to get to 60 burpees in 5mins. You know you can do more at the start but if I go out too hard and fast, you’ll need to rest more. So possibly try to break it down to sets of 12 and try to keep it the breaks as little as possible…e.g. 12 reps in 50secs and 10secs rest will get you 60 burpees in 5 mins. Then you can go for it in the last 2 mins and try to get more than 84. 13 reps/min for 7 mins is 91, 14 reps/min is 98, 15 reps per minute = 105. If it is 40 burpees, you would expect to be done somewhere between 3 and 4mins with sets of no less than 4 sets of 10reps. There is no point burning through 40reps but have to take 20-30secs before you can grab a barbell to do snatches. The idea of breaking up your burpees is to control your heart rate. If you heart remains under control, your breathing and fatigue will be under control and you will be more efficient in your movement and get more done in the long run.
5. Over time, increase the intensity
We have covered getting the mechanics right, and consistently getting your technique consistent and efficient. It is time to do intense interval training to improve your fitness! Remember – be safe, warm up well and keep the form/technique sound. I for one will try to do 5 sets of 10 burpees at a 1:1 ratio aiming for 30secs per set of 10 reps. I will try to do this 3 times per week. Have fun out there and remember what you’re TRAINING for. You’re not testing day in and day out for anything. You’re training to look good naked or training for the CrossFit Games. Both are full of practice and training. Neither are full of testing.