February Fitness Challenge
Congratulations to our member Chris Palamos for winning January’s fast 3mile stationary bile challenge with a time of 4:04! Also congratulations to strength coach Jonathan James for having the fastest overall time of 4minutes flat!
Our second fitness challenge of the year will be to see who can do the most burpees in a single minute. Push your lactate threshold and allow yourself to go anaerobic during this explosive exercise, it’s only for 1 minute! Burpees are fast-paced, dynamic, and never boring.
In order to standardize this challenge we must all complete the burpees using the same movement pattern. Here are the six steps for completing a single repetition:
- Squat down and place both your hands on the floor in front of you just a little wider than your feet
- Jump both your feet back at the same time so that you’re in a push up position on your hands and toes
- Lower yourself to the ground with your arms until your chest touches the floor
- Push yourself back up to the push up position on your hands and toes
- Jump your feet forward so they’re just behind your hands
- Stand up and then explosively jump into the air, reaching arms straight overhead. Your feet must leave the ground
The Burpee was invented by a man named Royal Burpee. He created this movement in 1939 as a way to test fitness. Originally the burpee was only intended to be repeated 4 times in a row. Measuring the participants’ heart rates before and after the test and then plugging those readings into an equation could assess the heart’s efficiency when pumping blood. His original intention for the exercise was to make it only a four step process, rather then the six step process we know today. This was the original process:
1. Squat down and place both hands on floor in front of you
2. Jump both feet back into a push up position
3. Jump both feet forward to their original position
4. Return to standing
Burpee was an executive director of a YMCA in New Your City and a Ph.D candidate in applied physiology at Columbia University Teachers College. During that time he created this movement as a way to determine a person’s physical fitness. It was not long before the military adopted the exercise in 1942 as a way to test the fitness of the recruits for the armed forces during WWII. By 1946 the military required its men to do burpees for an entire minute. If they got fewer then 27 repetitions, their fitness was considered poor. But if they got more than 41 repetitions, their fitness was considered excellent.
Burpee never liked how his movement started being used in high volumes. He thought that it was too strenuous and may be bad for the participants’ knees and backs, especially in those lacking core strength. But despite his objections the burpee is now synonymous with high volume training such as in the case of HIIT classes and CrossFit.
The burpee is a fantastic movement as it requires many muscle groups: chest, triceps, quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, abs, erector spinae, upper back, deltoids, hip flexors. This movement requires you to do 6 steps of bodyweight movements back to back including 3 different jumps taking you between being vertical and horizontal. The burpee causes participants to go anaerobic, speeds up your metabolism and burns tones of calories. It is a great example of functional fitness and some even consider it to be one of the best exercises a human can do! It is great for conditioning and endurance and requires no equipment (unless variations are added in like a pull up at the end).
Check out Strength Coach Norma Sheane’s Video on a Burpee:
Check out Strength Coach Norma Sheane Biography:
Having played soccer from a very young age, I quickly fell in love with a lifestyle revolving around health and fitness. Growing up I followed that passion and continued playing soccer at the university level. The leadership skills I developed along the way landed me the role of Team Captain in my final seasons. This allowed me to continue practicing my leadership skills, as well as giving me the opportunity to lead by example while still being a part of a team. Now having finished my university career I still play soccer however, I am now expanding my horizons in the realm of fitness and always looking to try new ways of being active. With my personal training clients I continue to let my leadership skills shine through but I also like to think of my clients and I as a team that works together to help them reach, and surpass, their fitness goals. We are in this together, so let’s get moving!