By Hildee Weiss
(Editor's Note: Hildee is from Beachwood, Ohio and she wanted to share her story on her experience in a burpee challenge she started in early July. We're starting a new burpee/pull-up challenge on September 23)
My personal trainer Jeff Yannarell emailed me a story with the title ‘2035 Burpees in 16 Days.’ I read the article and emailed him back, saying it was an interesting read and wished him luck with the challenge included in the story as he often emails me articles that he finds interesting and wants to share.
He, as predicted, emailed me back.
"You’re doing it," he said.
Yeah, right, I thought.
I seriously doubted that I would be doing it as I am not and have never been good at burpees.
I am turning 50 in a few weeks and I lack the stability and coordination to get down on the floor, extend myself and jump into a plank and jump back and jump up. Jeff knows that and I assume that’s why burpees weren’t even a semi-regular part of my training sessions. I was wrong in my assumption as he challenged (read: strongly encouraged) me to modify the move with an ‘up/down move where I didn’t jump in the movement and instead, walked my legs out and back in and stand up without jumping.
I decided to go ahead with his challenge of doing 80 up/downs a day for 30 days and did a total of 2400 up/downs. I did them in a variety of sets — 10 at a time on most days with a 15-to-30-second break in between sets or when I felt quicker on my feet, I did 20 at a time.
I did them on the floor in my bedroom, in my basement, on the floor of a hotel room when I traveled out of town.
I found that on the days I did the challenge before my workouts with Jeff or on days that I ran or did cross training, I felt a decrease in my energy level in the latter workout.
When I did the challenge following a training session or following a run, I had the endurance to complete the daily 80. Within a week, I noticed an improvement in my mobility and stabilization, not just for the challenge but in my overall core.
It got easier to get through the 80 and it certainly got faster as I became more adept at the movement while making sure my form was correct. On day 8 of the challenge Jeff added in a second move called ‘get-ups’ (laying down with one leg bent at the knee and you use your alternate arm to raise upwards). It requires upper body strength while stabilizing the core and together with the up/downs, I felt a difference in my core strength and overall body stabilization by the end of the 30 day challenge.
In the past few weeks, Jeff has incorporated burpees into my training circuits. I say ‘burpees’ and not ‘up/downs’ as thanks to this 30 day challenge, I am now able to do a full-fledged burpee, jumping out and up with a confidence and endurance I didn’t have before.
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