A burpee for your thoughts - early wobble

Two weeks in, fifty to go.

It seems easy when you say it like that!

To some degree, it is. Just knocking them down one day, one week at a time. True, the amount of work is not going to get any less, quite the opposite in fact. But we are not at home to Mr Cock-up. We cannot let ourselves get distracted by the volume., nor dissuaded by some sort of pre-emotive boredom. The goal is chunky. It like fish one whale carcass, we can only take it one nibble at a time.

In this first couple of weeks, the fitter see the reps as low and inconsequential. With no habit built in yet, the danger lies in missing a day or two semi-intentionally and then just overlooking a catch-up. And, as easily as that, you've slipped off the ladder.

The odd catch-up day at this point can be a good thing though. At this stage a "two-for" day is just enough reps to get the heart going and act as a signpost to what lies ahead if we have to play catch-up further down the road. A warning but one that is not damaging to us. Yet.

Those less steeped in burpees run the risk of becoming a little overawed. The burpee number same high enough to set the pulse racing - like the first rush of love. The panting and sweating that ensues don't fit with that romantic metaphor but let's gloss over that! It can be slightly terrifying to see the impact of such a small number of reps and so we can become dismayed at the prospect of having to do more - double or triple even. Good grief. If 14 has this impact, what will 28 or 42 or...84 do to me? I'll never make it!

That's nonsense of course. Or at least, it's partial nonsense. I say "partial" because if you allow these thoughts airtime, you can start to give them credence and before long you are giving up a winnable fight. And besides, it is nonsense. I can speak from experience of both getting to the ton-up and also of spending multiple days doing more than the 100, more than 200.

It is fair to say that an extended run of burpees takes one through the gamut of human emotions - with pain, anger, despair and hope featuring heavily with the occasional outbreak of guilt! But almost without exception, the early reps (below 20) are the worst. Only where I have been trying to work through an injury has this proved to be otherwise. It is not that you become comfortable with them, they simply aren't that sort of exercise, but you can, and will, find your groove, your rhythm.

A good friend, and fellow burpee year voyager, has said that he anticipates the deeper waters as being like meditation. It does worry me that I think I know exactly what he means! Well, there is something a bit zen about an extended run of burpees. It's certainly a good time and way to start paying attention to where our thoughts are going (dropping out of your bottom with your lungs in all likelihood).

On which horrible note, I don't have much else to say.

Steady as she goes!


  1. I'm unfit and usually lazt but 17 days in and finding it hard. I'm wandering if I'm doing it right? I start standing, crouch down, kick in to a press up position, do a press up, kick back then return to standing position with a jump.

    Is that right as I cant see my self getting in to the high numbers!

    1. Welcome aboard! Good to have you with us.

      There are a couple of different answers to your question, the first being my standard, if slightly irritating, coachy question:

      Hard in what way?

      If you mean hard "holy heck I might have dengue fever! I'm sweating like a fat schoolboy in a pie shop with a porn mag; my heart feels like it is going to burst out of my chest and my lungs are definitely fighting a guerrilla war against my mind at the moment" then you're probably not going too badly!

      Obviously, standard advice to get yourself checked out by your doctor (I wouldn't recommend talking to the history PhD, it'll be an interesting chat but they're not going to have a useful opinion on your body's ability to sustain the exercise. Go with a medical doctor). And if you meant hard in the "I've got sharp pains in my chest/wrists/arms/legs/knees" sense, definitely get yourself checked out.

      So assuming that you're otherwise healthy (obviously a little bonkers or you wouldn't be doing this but otherwise ok), you have options.

      That sounds about right for a burpee as I know it, but it can be scaled. Royal H Burpee, for example, didn't have the press-up or jump.

      Chances are, you will have to break the reps into multiple sets in the not too distant future, if you're not already. There's no shame in that. Equally, while I haven't given a lot if thought to how the heck I'll do 300+ burpees, one option might be to a couple of sessions over the course of the day rather than just nominating an hour in which to do them all and calling that "burpee o'clock".

      Loads of ways to slice and dice it. I used lots of different reps schemes when I did the last ladder, as much as anything, just for variety.

      Back yourself for now. Provided you're not getting any pain, just stick with the version you are doing now and see how you get on. You might surprise yourself!

      I'll also be doing some pieces on mobility and stretching as the volume increases. So I don't take it for granted and also to see if we can't help keep you and others on the road.

      Keep in touch though, love to hear how you get on.

    2. Thanks for the reply. Up to day 38 and still managing the press up but splitting in to sets in one session. I'll keep on with it and maybe spread it accross the day later on.

  2. The press up isn't compulsory as part of the basic burpee, neither is a star jump at the end but they all add to the sense of achievement. The aim is to meet your original target, if that means dropping the press up to get there so be it.

    1. Thanks Millard - I have kept the press up for now and do a jump at the end but not quite energetic enough to make it a star jump yet.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts

Competition without competing

Burpees Anybody?

Review and Apology

100 day burpee ladder...the conclusion

The 100 day burpee ladder...the beginning