The Burpee is quite possibly the single best exercise in existence. If you have done Burpees then you know why. But here are five top reasons you should do Burpees every day.

The Burpee trains almost every major muscle group in the body.

Read this blog for a detailed analysis. If the Burpee is done correctly it will train the pushing muscles of the upper body, all of the muscles of lower body, and the core muscles. Do you want to make it a complete exercise? Modify the Burpee to include a pull-up after the jump so that the pulling muscles will be involved.

The Burpee can train all of the energy systems.

Are you looking to develop power and train your phosphagen energy system? Perform 5 Burpees as fast as possible and jump for maximal height. Recover for two minutes between sets for complete regeneration of the phosphagen energy system and the nervous system so maximal power output can be attained on subsequent sets. To train the glycolytic energy system, perform your repetitions at a high rate but sustain the effort for 30-90s. Training this causes an accumulation of lactic acid and muscle acidity which will help your body adapt in a way that it can handle acid overload better and elevate your lactate threshold. Finally, to train the aerobic system, slow the pace down, just a little, so that you can maintain a constant pace for 3-5 minutes to maximize the utilization of oxygen for energy production.  For best results mix it up, and do Burpees at all three intensities and train all of the energy systems.

The Burpee develops total fitness: strength, power, muscle endurance, stamina, agility, mobility and improves body composition.

Burpees are a form of resistance training; you are lifting your body weight. Sustained effort builds stamina and muscle endurance. To develop power and speed, perform repetitions quickly for short periods of time. Moving into the deep squat position will increase mobility in the hips and jumping with arms fully extended overhead will increase mobility in the shoulders.  In order to perform the Burpee correctly with maximum efficiency requires the coordination of many muscles working together as a synchronous unit while accelerating and decelerating body mass. This develops agility. Finally, depending on the rate at which the Burpees are being performed and the number of repetitions performed, a significant number of calories can be expended and an energy deficit created, thus burning body fat (but keep in mind you can’t out exercise a poor diet).

Burpees are good for your immune system.

The Burpee increases circulation and can help move fluid through the lymphatic system. During the Burpee, the muscles of the extremities contract and relax in a cyclical fashion, massaging the lymph vessels and facilitating the movement of lymph fluid.  The movement of lymphatic fluid has been suggested to enhance immunity and prevent pneumonias.

The Burpee can be done anywhere and doesn’t require any specialized equipment.

All you need is you and your body weight. You can do Burpees in the office, the woods, the gym, the beach, or in the snow. You can take a break from work and do a quick set between meetings. Take a trail run and do 15 Burpees every half mile. Structure your workout at the gym so that you finish each workout with metabolic conditioning using Burpees. Of course, nothing is sexier than doing Burpees on the beach. Are you doing the Winter Death Race? You better get accustomed to doing Burpees in the snow. It doesn’t matter where you do them, JUST DO BURPEES!

What kind of Spartan Race starts with a mile run up a mountain face in the snow?

Answer: The Vancouver Sprint! Held June 1st on Mount Seymour, in North Vancouver, this unique and extremely challenging course saw approximately 4,000 athletes grinding their way to the snow-capped peak (where they were treated with spectacular views of the city and the Pacific Ocean) before careening down the steep ski slopes towards the mud of the lower altitude.

Racers from as far away as Quebec, USA, Europe and even Australia commented that it was one of the toughest Sprints they had ever encountered – with at least one calling it a “shorter Beast”. A few traditional obstacles were made unusually difficult; monkey bars placed on a downhill slope wreaked havoc as grips slipped, the 20 foot high cargo net climb scared many as it was essentially straight up and straight down over two stacked shipping containers, and the mercilessly low barbed wire crawl forced everyone off their hands and knees and crotch-down into the mucky mess. Finally, the thin, dynamic ropes used on the final climb had even many veteran elite racers cranking out 30 burpees just meters from the finish line. Still, with all of that, the fastest time was a blistering 33:26 with second place less than 30 seconds behind.

Even with a light rain, the festival area was rocking all day with a popular fitness challenge, awesome food vendors (with a few giving away free samples) and free sport wraps being applied by a trained kinesioligist. Families abounded too, with the kids’ course truly being a mini-version of the adult track – hundreds of Jr. Spartans started with a steep, snowy climb, weaved through several challenging obstacles, and ended up slithering on their bellies under their own “barbed wire” crawl before running straight through a deep puddle to the finish line.

Are you ready to take on a Spartan Race?  Find one HERE.

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by Lindsey Williams

[Editor’s Note: Lindsey Williams raced in the September 4, 2011 Yorkshire Sprint in the U.K.  This is her individual “Ninja” race report.]

spartaSunday the 4th of September seemed miles away when I first booked the Yorkshire Sprint.  However, time flew by and before I knew it my alarm was going off at 7am on the morning of the sprint. In the time leading up to this i didn’t know what to expect as details of the course were kept very VERY quiet. I had seen and heard about a few obstacles but these were American based and we all know how crazy the Americans are compared to the the UK ( in a nice way of course ),so I didn’t know what exactly to train towards. Luckily I work with horses so I have a good general fitness to start with and along side my Body Combat classes I have a good cardio base and muscle tone to get me through the distance, or so I thought!!! I had decided to do this course in a ninja suit just to add to the fun of the event plus it was for charity, so why not? My lift arrived and we set off at 8am on route up to Ripon, both as excited as little kids on Christmas eve waiting for Christmas day to come around.

We arrived at the Barracks and OMG the atmosphere was great everyone getting ready for there sprint, warming up and doing the last final stretches. I put on my ninja suit and as the sun shone down I was getting rather hot quickly. I found a hay bale to get some of my last minute training in on route to the registration hanger. The music started playing to get us in the mood and before I knew it, it was announced the first wave was setting off. My wave wasn’t until the next one, but I was even more overwhelmed with excitement.

I made my way over to the starting line and just before the wave set off the very firstsparta 3 Spartan made it across the finishing line. We were all very pleased for him and he had a huge reception to greet him. The starting line had music blasting, the smoke cans went off, and we were then free to go! The first few obstacles were quite easy and we over come them quickly but then my Spartan buddy decided to take off and leave me behind. So I was left to face the test alone but, hey, I’m a Spartan chick we don’t need men.

I got to the carry the bag of rocks and was thrown a heavy bag by the marshals as apparently I looked tough (don’t know if that was a compliment or not). That obstacle was quite intense and wore me out quite a bit but I soldiered on. My biggest worry that I had seen on past videos of the Spartan races was the ‘rope climb’ and after I had tackled a few more obstacles I came round the corner to find the dreaded ‘rope climb’ looming. I attempted this and failed so did my push up punishments.

The music was getting louder so I knew I was drawing closer to the finish line but there was still a fight with two gladiators and a dreaded rope climb against a slippery wall. I used some special ninja moves and managed to get past them without being taken down.  Then came the wall, I ran at it and grabbed the rope and managed to get to the top but just as i reached there I lost my grip and slid back down. I then gathered up my energy and give it on last try, I managed to climb to the top and nearly went sliding backwards but persisted to pull myself up and over the top.

I ran towards the finish line to get my well deserved medal and drink of water.

I loved every minute of this race and even managed to learn something new – how to do a burpee correctly.  (well they say everyday is a school day). I have highly recommended it to anyone that’s into pushing them self past 100% and I shall be returning to beat my time in 2012, leaving the ninja outfit at home next time but coming up with something new and better!

Aroo!

By Keith Grogg

I’ve always thought these guys were crazy extreme. A mix of gymnastics, acrobatics, and just plain skill, Parkour was started in France and brought the idea of urban fitness to the next level. You’ve gotta be in great shape to pull this stuff off. Traceurs, practitioners of Parkour, look to negotiate their environment as efficiently and as swiftly as possible. Every obstacle is a challenge. The key is to utilize one’s momentum and negotiate obstacles that stand in one’s way. Falls and jumps are followed up with rolls to distribute the force of impact. For Traceurs the city is their playground.

by Anthony Adragna

You might be crazy–but are you as crazy as these Russian teenagers?