The burpee is a phenomenal exercise. In fact, it’s perhaps the very best bodyweight exercise there is, working a multitude of muscles as well as getting the heart pumping. If you could only ever do one bodyweight exercise for the rest of your life, the burpee might well be your best pick. All of this might seem an overstatement, but it’s vital to comprehend just how good for you the burpee is before you try them – because once you do one, it can be hard to convince yourself to ever do another.
However, you simply must keep burpee-ing, because the benefits of doing so are significant and numerous. Muscles all over the body get a workout – your arms, back, chest, core, glutes and legs all take a pounding. The burpee is also good for your cardiovascular fitness, raising your heart rate sky-high, which is why it is a staple of HIIT circuits.
All it takes to gain these benefits is to master one, relatively simple, manoeuvre. Complete this 30-day burpee challenge and you can undoubtedly claim to be a burpee master, but before you take a look at day one, make sure you have your technique nailed down by reviewing how to do a burpee properly.
- From a standing position, drop into a squat with your hands resting on the ground just in front of your feet.
- Kick your feet back behind you, leaving your hands where they are so you end up in an elevated plank position. (At this point, the truly adventurous (foolish) throw in a press-up, because what situation isn’t improved by throwing in a press-up?)
- Jump your feet forward so they end up next to your hands.
- Explode into the air and raise your arms straight above your head. Repeat.
Tough, right? It will get easier with practice, probably. Here’s the 30-day burpee challenge.
The 30-Day Burpee Challenge
Designed by CrossFit coach and burpee aficionado Andy McTaggart, the challenge is simple. Complete the amount of burpees listed below for each day. At times, this will be unpleasant, but after 30 days, you’ll be a new person. You'll be leaner, stronger and really, really good at burpees.
The beauty of this burpee challenge is that it’s scaleable – it’s based on your current fitness level, established by the test on day one. Push as hard as you can on
|Day 1||Max number in 2min (test)|
|Day 2||25% of test every 2min, complete 4 times|
|Day 3||25% of test every 2min, complete 5 times|
|Day 4||50 burpees for time (as quickly as possible)|
|Day 5||1 burpee every 10sec for 5min|
|Day 6||Rest day (or complete any days missed)|
|Day 7||50% of test then rest 2min, complete 3 times|
|Day 8||10 burpees for time, rest 2min, complete 3 times|
|Day 9||25% of test every 90sec, complete 4 times|
|Day 10||60 burpees for time|
|Day 11||Rest day (or complete any days missed)|
|Day 12||15 burpees for time, rest 3min, complete 3 times|
|Day 13||25% of test every 2min, complete 5 times|
|Day 14||20 burpees for time|
|Day 15||Ascending burpees (1st minute, 1 burpee; 2nd min, 2 burpees; etc.) to failure|
|Day 16||Rest day (or complete any days missed)|
|Day 17||Max burpees in 60sec|
|Day 18||15 burpees, rest 60sec, complete 5 times|
|Day 19||25% of test every 2min, complete 4 times|
|Day 20||60 burpees for time|
|Day 21||Rest day (or complete any days missed)|
|Day 22||15 burpees for time, rest 3min, complete 3 times|
|Day 23||Tabata burpees: 20sec all out, 10sec rest, complete 8 times|
|Day 24||Rest day (or complete any days missed)|
|Day 25||50 burpees for time (go quicker than day 4)|
|Day 26||5 burpees every minute for 10min|
|Day 27||25% (of test) every 2min, complete 4 times|
|Day 28||Rest day (or complete any days missed)|
|Day 29||20 burpees, 1 every 10sec|
|Day 30||Retest max number of burpees in 2min|
Once you've knocked out 30 days of burpees, no fitness obstacle should hold any fear for you, so why not head straight on to our toughest fitness challenge, the 30-day press-up challenge – building up to 100 press-ups in one go. On second thoughts, maybe take a couple of days off in between.
More Burpee Workouts
Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.
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