Runners love a good challenge. Whether it’s completing your first 5k or marathon, training to break a specific mile time, or working on an impressive running streak, fitness challenges are motivating and help us reach new levels of performance and grit.
We tend to gravitate towards running-related challenges—mileage, pace, or other running-specific goals. However, it’s equally important to work on different aspects of our fitness, such as strength training and metabolic conditioning, and what could be more apropos for these goals than burpees? Or even better, a 30 Day Burpee Challenge?
Though they have a somewhat funny name, burpees are a staple of metabolic conditioning and bodyweight workouts that deserve a spot in your workout routine, especially if you’re looking for efficient moves that will help you get stronger and faster as a runner.
Of course, to deliver on these results, burpees are anything but easy and earn their tag line as being one of the most challenging exercises ever. Be prepared for your heart rate to spike, your lungs to challenge the bounds of your rib cage, and your muscles to burn.
But hang in there—the benefits of burpees are worth the pain, and you can conquer our 30-day burpee challenge, get faster, stronger, and mentally and physically more challenging, one burpee at a time.
In this guide, we will cover:
- What Are Burpees?
- The Benefits of Burpees
- How to Do a Burpee
- Marathon Handbook 30 Day Burpee Challenge
- Tips for Conquering the 30 Day Burpee Challenge
Let’s get started!
What Are Burpees?
Burpees are a bodyweight exercise, which means you don’t need any external equipment to perform them, and can do them anywhere where you have a few feet of room to move around.
Burpees are essentially a three-part exercise involving a squat, push-up, and vertical jump, which bestows them with the total-body conditioning benefits they provide.
The Benefits of Burpees
When you’re buying something, many people adhere to the adage, “you get what you pay for.” If exercises had the same warning labels and guidelines, burpees would be the expensive, high-quality item, not the chintzy budget model.
Essentially, burpees cost a lot in terms of physical effort, but their benefits, including the following, offset that cost:
#1: Burpees Provide a Cardio Workout
Of course, as runners, we are used to conditioning our heart and lungs, and the need for cardio isn’t as dire as for athletes of certain other sports. Still, burpees are a great exercise to add to high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts to spike your heart rate into zones 4 and 5.To elevate your heart rate, perform your burpees rapidly and as powerfully as possible. Jump as high as you can on the jump portion, take a full, deep squat, and bring your chest down to the floor in the push-up. This will boost your aerobic and anaerobic fitness.
#2: Burpees Strengthen Your Entire Body
From your shoulders to your ankles and calves, burpees strengthen nearly every major muscle in the body, including the deltoids (shoulders), triceps, pecs (chest), lats, and traps (back), abs, back extensions, glutes, hips, quads, and calves.
#3: Burpees Stoke Your Metabolism
Burpees are metabolically demanding and burn a lot of calories. If you’re completing the average 16-20 burpees per minute, a 185-pound runner will torch about 15 calories per minute.
As you work through our 30 day burpee challenge and get to more extended sets, this can total a couple of hundred calories.
#4: Burpees Can Be Performed Anywhere
Burpees are bodyweight exercises, so you don’t need dumbbells, medicine balls, or resistance bands. Because they don’t require equipment, burpees can be performed just about anywhere—from your bedroom to a hotel room, the gym, or a park.
As long as you have a little bit of space, you can do your burpees, which is convenient for our 30 day challenge. No matter where life takes you over the next month, you can stick to the challenge.
How to Do a Burpee
If this 30 day burpee challenge is your burpee debut, the number of steps to perform a burpee can feel overwhelming, particularly compared to most other bodyweight exercises.
Thinking of them like a squat, push-up, and vertical jump, or a squat jump and a push-up, will help simplify the process and get you on the fast track to mastering the move.
Burpees can be thought of as a full push-up followed by a jump squat cycled continuously together. Here are the instructions for how to perform a burpee:
- Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart, arms at your sides, chest up, shoulders back, and core engaged.
- Lower your body into a squat by bending your knees and sitting your hips all the way back, as if reaching your butt back to sit in a chair. Engage your core, maintain a straight back, and keep your chest up and proud.
- Place your palms on the floor in front of your body about shoulder-width apart.
- Shift your weight to your hands and jump your feet back behind you so that you’re in a push-up position with your weight pressing through your palms and toes. Your body should be in a straight line from the top of your head to your heels.
- Perform one complete push-up by bending your elbows and lowering your chest to the ground and then pushing through your palms to lift your body back up until your elbows are extended but not locked out. Be sure to engage your core and glutes and keep your hips in line with your body.
- Load your weight into your palms and jump your feet forward towards your hands, back to their starting tuck position.
- Push through your hands and feet to stand up, raising your arms so that they are straight overhead, fingers pointing towards the ceiling.
- Jump up vertically as high into the air as you can, reaching up towards the ceiling.
- As soon as you land, bend your knees to cushion the landing, transitioning immediately into a full squat to begin the cycle again.
Marathon Handbook 30 Day Burpee Challenge
Our 30-day burpee challenge is not for the faint of heart. It’s a grueling workout with an aggressive progression that will get you in shape and ready to complete 100 burpees in 30 days. The goal is to do all the burpees per day in one bout, though you can rest between reps as need be.
Every Sunday, you’ll do a speed round where you need to complete as many burpees as you can in a specified amount of time. Note your burpee rate as you progress through the 30-day challenge.
As you get fitter and stronger, see if you can complete more burpees per minute on the timed challenges, even as you go for a minute longer.
You will also have one day per week where you will perform fewer burpees but also have a set of push-ups.
As the number of burpees increases throughout the 30-day challenge, most runners find the limiting factor to be the push-up component, particularly because runners already have strong legs. Therefore, the push-up day is designed to help counteract this deficit to make reaching 100 burpees feasible.
Even without the timed challenges on Sundays, you’ll have completed over 1400 burpees in 30 days—talk about impressive!
Of course, if you feel any pain at any point, it’s imperative that you stop, even if it means skipping some days in the challenge and returning when you are healthy.
Marathon Handbook 30 day burpee Challenge
(right click the image to save and print this Challenge, or scroll to the end of the article for a text version)
Tips for Conquering the 30 Day Burpee Challenge
#1: Take It Slow
Burpees are a complex, dynamic movement because they involve a fluid blend of a jump squat and a push-up, so be patient with yourself as you learn the steps.
As you get better at performing burpees, increase your pace, going as fast as possible while maintaining proper form and using the correct technique. Like jumping jacks, you’ll want to keep going as fast and hard as you can to reap the metabolic conditioning benefits.
#2: Break It Down
You can certainly do sets of burpees with a rest in between. Take ten at a time and focus on those. Allow yourself to take a break at the end of each ten reps to rest and recover.
#3: Take Days Off
If you’re tired, rest. You can always extend the challenge.
#4: Wear Weightlifting Gloves
Gloves will give you better traction on the floor, especially when your hands get sweaty.
#5: One Burpee At a Time
Just as how you take one mile at a time when running a marathon, focus on one burpee at a time when you’re trying to bang out 20, 50, or 100. You’ll get there.
Are you ready to take on one of the toughest challenges yet? Try out 30 Day Burpee Challenge and finish a stronger and fitter athlete.
Or, for a bigger challenge, check out the 75 Hard Challenge.
If you would like to add other bodyweight exercises to your training program, check out our Bodyweight Workout For Runners!
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