"It is a sublime thing to suffer and be stronger."
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
OK, you've got a busy schedule - yard work, schlepping kids to soccer games, a second job, shopping at Costco, a relationship - but, crap, you really need to work out. You've got only five free minutes in your schedule, maybe 10. No problem. I've been there, my brothers and sisters. Meet my friend, the burpee.
The burpee is a bodyweight exercise that cranks your heart rate to a new highs and stresses nearly every muscle in your body. The two prerequisites are being able to do a push-up and a bodyweight squat because a burpee is the flesh-melting lovechild of those two. Its cutesy name belies its dominatrix demeanor, whip and shock collar included.
Here's how you do it:
- Stand straight. Hands at your sides. Feet shoulder width apart.
- Squat down. Place your hands in front of your feet. Whether you place them to the inside or outside of your feet may take some experimentation. Just keep them around shoulder-width.
- Hop your feet back so that you are in the top push-up position. Arms, back and legs straight.
- Perform a pushup. Nothing half-assed. Chest to the ground.
- Hop your feet back to your hands. You will be in the same position as step 2.
- Jump as high as you can. This is an explosive movement. Keep your back straight unless you want to tweak it badly.
- Clap your hands above your head at the top of the jump. Nothing half-assed here, either.
- Land safely in the starting position.
A few tips:
- Upon landing, allow yourself to drop immediately to a squat.
- Explode the positive of the push-up. Time this with the second hop (step 5 above). This way you can almost float into the squat.
Once you can string a few together, keep adding to them. Do more. Do them faster.
Here are some workouts featuring burpees. (Note: These are to be performed as fast as possible with no rest between rounds.)
- Three rounds for time: 20 squats + 20 burpees + 20 push-ups
- For time 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 burpees plus 10 situps after each set. Work your way up to 20.
- Five rounds for time: 10 deadlifts + 10 burpees.
Doing 100 in a row is a good goal at which to aim. Disregard the heart crashing against ribs and the throat scrubbed bloody by the volume and rush of air into lungs much to small for the effort being put forth.
The stopwatch is the tip of the dominatrix' whip, both the pleasure and the pain. If you're good, 10 minutes is all you'll need, but you'll probably need 30 to recover.