Is the Spartan Burpee Challenge Right For You?

Is the Spartan Burpee Challenge Right For You?
Presented by Spartan Training®

We are just starting up a 30-day Spartan Burpee Challenge. It's as simple as setting a personal goal for how many burpees you'd like to do in 30-days, and then go about the task of doing them. We have a community group to post to and cheer each other on. We started today, Monday, July 9 2018. If you'd like to join us, drop me an email

Why might you want to commit to the enterprise? A few reasons:

1. You Want To Get In Shape. Fast. The Spartan Burpee Challenge is for all levels. There are some that are already pretty fit and advanced and doing all sorts of training. And on top of it, they’re doing hundreds of burpees a day. But we also have people just starting out who will be getting a solid win if they average five burpees a day. I'm a big fan of anyone who has the courage to make this sort of effort and they are who a challenge like this is designed to help most. They will be the ones who are ratcheting up their fitness level fastest as burpees will provide an extremely safe way to do some potent all-around conditioning. Burpees have the virtues of being an accessible exercise that work muscle groups throughout the body and don’t—like running—beat you up with pounding. They also are uncanny with how they can get you fit fast.

2. Random Events Beyond Your Control Are Cramping Your Training. This happened this morning: My wife and I looked like we were ahead of schedule in getting out of the house and on to work, along with an 16-month-old and a 4.5-year old fed, dressed, read to, ready for transport. This never happens, I thought. Then a container of maple syrup got knocked over and syrup was all over the floor. And then both kids started wailing for some reason. With that, the schedule took it's first direct hit.  So things happen in the course of the day and if you have a job or family responsibilities that tend toward the unpredictable, a trip to the gym is always under threat. Burpees are a weapon of choice when it comes to this. If I have to today, I’ll do them while I wait for subway train.

3. Your Mind Is Stuck On Something and It’s Driving You Nuts. Burpees have the surprising effect of not allowing you to think about much more than the next burpee. Sure, your mind might wander at the beginning. But the present exertion of burpees tends to take over control. Not a marginal benefit! If you have some annoying problem circling in your head police-helicopter style, a long set of burpees just washes everything away so that all you can think about are…burpees.

Spartan Burpee Challenger Jeremy Fyke makes a dent with his first session of 150.

4. You Want to Fire Up Your Stretching Routine. This comes from Mark Divine’s book, Kokoro Yoga. Divine had been deployed to the Iraq in the early years of the war and developed Kokoro Yoga as a way to mix high-intensity exercise with the mind-centering benefits of yoga while he worked out next to one of Saddam Hussein’s pools. In essence, it was mixing in HIIT exercise between poses. You can do the same! Spend some time doing a stretch or pose than knock out a set of burpees. Repeat. It’s a different approach to hot yoga than turning on the heater.

5. You Want a Summertime Break From the Gym. This entry is is about as self-explanatory as it gets. You have to get over any shyness you might have about doing burpees in public. If this is a worry, see #3.

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6. Prepare for CrossFit. Anyone who has been in CrossFit for a while has seen someone new to it all walk in for an on-ramp class. They have terror in their eyes. I assume this is usually because they are 1) out of shape and 2) have heard that CrossFit is going to let them know what it’s like to be a lobster thrown into a pot of boiling water. The good CrossFit gyms will bring along this kind of person gradually. But others might not.  Regardless, a burpee challenge is (in my opinion) a great prep before the day you walk into a CrossFit gym. Burpees are big part of CrossFit and they’ll get you mentally and physically prepped so your first met-con won’t be such a wild shock.

7. You Want Self-Discipline. Discipline and self-discipline are different things. Join the military and head off to Basic Training/Boot Camp sure, you’ll get a crash-course in living a disciplined life. The structure and motivation and crazed drill sergeant will be waiting for you. You won’t have to worry about any bad habits in hitting the snooze button or skipping morning PT. Not a problem! Self-discipline is when no one is watching or no one is there to to make you do it. Doing a burpee challenge is a potent way to build the self-discipline muscle. They are hard and annoying enough to inspire all sorts of reasons not to do them. But you do them anyway, every day, and you figure out the mechanics of self-discipline that you can apply to other objectives. The Spartan Burpee Challenge offers community support, but it’s still up to you to make it happen.

8. You Are in Jail. I certainly don’t hope this a problem you need a solution for, but if you’re locked up in the slammer you probably have ample space for burpees. You have a floor. You have gravity. And you have time. You don’t need running shoes or a power meter. The takeaway is that if you find yourself in one of those super-small hotel rooms in NYC or something similar, you’re good.

Callie Bailey knocked out her first set of Challenge burpees under a Montana Big Sky.

9. You Want to Raise Money for Burpees for Vets. This was what got me into committing to do burpees for the remainder of 2018—Burpees for Vets. Twenty-plus American servicemen commit suicide every day due to post-traumatic stress and Mark Divine/SEALFit is raising money to help vets work through the hell that PTS can be. It’s a good group, there’s a shared spreadsheet where you record your burpees, the same sheet that Mark Divine records his daily dose of 300 burpees (he’s going for 100k in 2018)

10. You Want to Surf Through Spartan Burpee Penalties. If you know you’re going to have some trouble with certain Spartan Race obstacles, why not know going in that you’ll feel good and look untroubled when you’re going burpees in the penalty zone?

11. Training for a Race. Can a burpee challenge help you prep for a Spartan Race? Definitely: Stamina, endurance, mobility, strength, power, coordination, are all packed into burpees. It would be smart to mix in some other movements, like pull-ups to work on grip strength and such, but if all you did was a lot of burpees you wouldn’t be in bad shape. Using a burpee challenge to get your training started is another use. Or adding a layer of training to your training plan.

12. You Want To Meet Others Willing To Commit to a Burpee Challenge. It’s fair to say that those drawn to a burpee challenge and even get excited about it are an elite group all of their own. Some might say odd. I say elite.