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With 2020 coming to an end it is time to think about how we can make 2021 better. There is no better way to get this started than with a January challenge. Our January challenge is at least 100 burpees per day through all 31 days of January. ***Progress updates will be at the bottom of this post*** Also, if you want to explore some burpee variations check out our new article here!
It should come as no surprise to our readers that we love a good challenge. This year we brought you one of our favorites – 10,000 Kettlebell Swing Challenge and More. Throughout 2021 we will continue to add to our Basement Series and we will continue to bring you new challenges. Don’t feel left out – we will be doing the challenges right alongside you and bringing you our daily totals.
So, a few more general comments on this challenge, and all others that we do. The key to success in these challenges is consistency. Getting the numbers in each day is key. Try to resist the temptation to skip a day (unless your body really needs it). Whether it is a daily challenge or a cumulative monthly challenge, consistency is key. However, ensure you are consistent while still healthy – so please, listen to your body.
This is a workout that you can break up throughout the day. You certainly could tackle all 100 burpees in one block of time, but, much like pushups, you can drop down and do burpees whenever you have time. With that in mind, just bite off manageable chunks of burpees throughout the day and get your numbers.
Burpees – How to Do Them?
One of the great things about this challenge is that it is centered around a pretty simple movement. Getting your body from a standing position to the ground and then back up again.
- Standing to Squatting – this will be the first movement that you make. You will start feet shoulder-width apart. From there you will transition into a half-squat. As you move into this half-squat you will begin moving your arms forward towards the ground
- Squatting to High-Plank – now, you will allow your hands to settle on the ground under your shoulders. With your hands on the ground, you will kick your feet backward until you are in a high-plank position – very similar to the top of a pushup. You have a few options with your feet in this position. You can keep your feet together, similar to a pushup position. Or, you could keep your feet wider – somewhere between together and shoulder-width apart. Find what is most comfortable for you;
- High-Plank to the Ground – now we have to get fully to the ground. This is where the disagreements about burpees start. Purists say that this has to be a pushup movement to the ground. Others will argue that you can let your body descend to the ground starting with your legs, moving through your hips, and ending with your chest. I think at the volume of 100 per day, either movement will accomplish the goals of building fitness, so you chose
- Reverse – Now, you reverse the steps above (from Ground to high-plank, from high-plank to squatting, and finally from squatting to standing). Add a jump at the top of the movement once you return to standing and you have completed 1 of a few thousand burpees you will do in January.
This is a good question. First, just like we try to preach throughout the Basement Series, we like to keep things simple. What is more simple than a functional movement like getting to and from the ground? This is a no-equipment workout. Everyone has room to do it since it only takes up as much space as your own body.
So, the movement hits one of our key requirements – simplicity.
Next, it hits one of our other major requirements – it is a full-body workout. No time wasted focusing on discrete muscles one at a time. Not with burpees. This is a full-body cardio and strength movement. Maximum results in minimum time.
Finally, because it is a movement we really hate. Whenever we put burpees in the workout we just cringe. We know that we need to do them but we just hate them (because they hurt at high volumes). So, how do you address a movement you hate? You do more of them. A lot more of them. Until you get to the point where you own that workout and you don’t hate it anymore.
Modifications and More
Please be honest with yourself and your capabilities with this movement. While it is a natural movement it still could be difficult for some, especially at volume. So, if you are brand new to this movement and/or to an exercise routine when you reach the high-plank drop your knees to the ground. This will help take some of the strain of the movement off of your shoulders and core. As you get stronger you can start adding in a few more of the full burpees. But, this isn’t a competition with anyone other than yourself. Anything is better than nothing, so listen to your body and march your way through January.
Also, if 100 is simply too many for you, then switch out some of the burpees with air squats. Maybe you do 50 burpees and 50 air squats per day through January. Get creative and find a routine that works for you.
Further, if you want to add more, then go as high as you want in terms of daily reps. Just try to find a number that you can replicate every day.
You can also add in other movements to make this a complete workout. If you wanted to add in chin-ups or some form of shoulder press, by all means, give it a shot.
Enjoy this challenge. January is a great time to hit a hard reset and attempt something new and difficult. Remember, this is a daily challenge rather than a cumulative monthly challenge (for example, the 10,000 kettlebell swing challenge was a total monthly number we were trying to hit). So, try to stay consistent and stick with the daily challenge. Maybe later in 2021, we will bring a monthly cumulative burpees challenge.
January 1, 2021 – 100 done. Tackled this first 100 in blocks of 15 with a final block of 10. Total took about 10 minutes with rests between the sets. Man, we forgot how much we hated burpees. After the workout, we tackled our Battle rope Workout from the Basement Series. Day 1 done.
January 2, 2021 – 100 done. Today was our Testing Day so we worked our burpees around this program. We started with a 10 burpee warmup to our warmup. Then, we moved into the warmup….we use our 10,000 Kettlebell Swing Challenge as our warmup. We do this for two (2) rounds. However, rather than pushups today we put in 10 burpees. So, by the time we were done with warmups we had completed 50 burpees. Then, we have 5 rounds of testing…guess what we put between the testing rounds? You got it…10 burpees. At the end of testing, we had finished up our 100 for the day.
January 3, 2021 – 100 done. Today would normally be a rest day (2 days on – 1 day off), but we are going 31 days straight in January. It was tough to get the motivation for this one because we were sore from yesterday’s test day. But, we got it done. Today we did burpees over the bar. For this, you just set up an obstacle for you to jump over after each burpee. We used a sandbag today. You do your burpees facing the obstacle. When you come back to your feet you jump over the obstacle (be sure to pick up your feet so you don’t trip yourself). Land on two feet, turn around, and do your next burpee.
January 4, 2021 – 100 done. Today we added some variety into the 100. We started with 10 reps of standard burpees, just to get warmed up. Then we did superman burpees, burpees over bar (like yesterday), burpee push-ups, spiderman burpees, burpee broad jumps, burpee mountain climbers, and star burpees. We enjoyed mixing it up with different varieties. It was certainly harder than 100 standard burpees, but it was nice to mix it up. We will keep trying out new varieties to get us through the month.
January 5, 2021 – 100 done. Today we included our burpees in our standard workout. This was structured like our 10,000 Kettlebell Swing Challenge workout – with 30 rounds (every other minute) of battle club lunges (here is a video), 15 rounds of burpees (first 5 sets at 8 reps and the last 10 sets at 6 for a total of 100), 8 rounds of flutter kicks, and 7 rounds of chin-ups. It was an intense workout and we are glad to have it finished.
January 6, 2021 – 100 done. Today was a hard day because we weren’t able to squeeze in our regular workout session. So, throughout the day, during a phone call and between emails we squeezed in the 100 burpees. Sometimes 5 at a time and sometimes we could get in 20 reps. Whatever it took we got through the 100.
January 7, 2021 – 100 done. More of the same…just like yesterday. Squeezing in burpees between calls and emails.
January 8, 2021 – 100 done. Today we blended our burpees into our workout routine for the day. You can find details on today’s workout here. It was a tough workout, especially with 100 burpees scattered through the program.
January 9, 2021 – 100 done. Today we used our Deck of Cards Workout to get our 100 burpees knocked out. Check it out here to learn more and give it a shot.
January 10, 2021 – 100 done – 1,000 total done. Today we did a variation from our Deck of Cards workout from yesterday. For this, we pulled from the deck all 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 cards from all suits. We assigned a type of burpees to each suit. They were – diamonds – standard burpee; hearts – burpee lateral over the bar; clubs – burpee pushups; and spades – burpee broad jump. So, if you drew from the top of the deck a 5 of club you performed 5 burpee pushups. Once you have cycled through all of the cards you completed 100 burpees. We enjoyed this variation.
January 11, 2021 – 100 done. Today we used our 10,000 Kettlebell Swing Challenge workout to get in our 100 burpees. For the 30 round movement, we used burpees. This means every other minute for 60 minutes. To land right on 100 reps we did 5 reps for the first 5 rounds (getting us 25) and then we were able to drop to 3 reps for the next 25 rounds (75). This made the burpees feel “easy” breaking them up into such small blocks.
January 12, 2021 – 100 done. We were looking for variety today…so, we used the song “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC to guide us through this workout. One trip through Thunderstruck will get you 33 burpees in pretty quick order. It is really quite simple. Every time you hear the word “thunder” in the song you do one burpee. What we like about this song is that there are periods where you will knock out 6-10 burpees at a time and then you will have a good long rest. We did Thunderstruck 3 times (adding one rep to the 2nd round) to get us 100 reps.
January 13, 2021 – 100 done. We have to say, the burpees are getting easier and easier with each day. It is still hard work to get through the 100, but progress is happening. Today we followed the same routine we used on January 11th. Nothing real creative today but it was effective.
January 14, 2021 – 100 done. More of the same. Today we followed the same routine as January 11th and knocked out the 100 during our 1-hour workout session.
January 15, 2021 – 100 done. Today was back to squeezing in 10-20 at a time between phone calls and virtual meetings. Not the most stimulating way to squeeze in 100 but nearly at the half-way mark, which is nice.
January 16, 2021 – 100 done – 1,600 total done. Well, we are past the halfway point. Today, it was 100 burpee broad jumps up and down the driveway. This was brutal, primarily because of the broad jumps. They wear out your legs pretty quickly. All in all the workout took about 8 minutes, so it was quick and painful.
January 17, 2021 – 100 done. We busted out the deck of playing cards again today. This workout was an even split between running and burpees. We got 50 cards in total (25 red and 25 black). Every time we pulled a red card it was a run (red=run) and every time we pulled a black card it was 4 burpees (black=burpee). For the red cards, if it was a face card (or ace) the run was 100 yards. If it was a number card it was a 50-yard run. This was a fun and effective way to get in the burpees and some running as well.
January 18, 2021 – 100 done. This morning we broke out our 100 Deadlifts, Burpees, and running Basement Series workout. You can find it here.
January 19, 2021 – 100 done. Today it was back in the driveway knocking out burpee broad jumps. Today was tough as a result of the cumulative fatigue over the past days.
January 20, 2021 – 100 done – 2,000 done. Between zoom meetings and phone calls, we got them in. Only 11 days left!
January 21, 2021 – 100 done. Today we did our every-other-minute burpee routine for one-hour from our 10,000 Kettlebell Swing Challenge routine. Then we mixed in stretching, pull-ups, and medicine ball shoulder press.
January 22, 2021 – 108 done. Today we took our Crosswalk Carry Workout and modified it to get our burpees knocked out as well. We cut the total rounds down to 3 from 5. As we got to the turn-around point we set the weights down and did 3 burpees. When we finished each full distance rep we did 3 more burpees before we moved onto the next carry. This led to 36 burpees per round for a total of 108.
January 23, 2021 – 100 done. Today, I strapped on a 20-pound weight vest and turned the clock to the EMOM setting. Even minutes were 4 reps with 2 of them being burpee pull-ups. Odd minutes were 5 burpees. Ran this cycle through until I hit 100. I was surprised with my performance, even with the weight vest on. Progress.
January 24, 2021 – 100 done. Today, we again mixed things up. Attached a strap to the back of my Ford F150 and did alternating truck pulls and truck pushes. Between each push/pull cycle we would drop down and do 5 burpees. This was a great workout to tax your back, shoulders, and, of course, lower body. Be careful when messing with a vehicle in neutral. We always had someone in the driver’s seat controlling the brake to ensure the vehicle was under control.
January 25, 2021 – 100 done. This morning we followed our 10,000 Kettlebell Swing Challenge format but with battle rope burpees. This was a fun change of pace as we blended our burpees and battle rope workouts together. Took a bit of trial and error to get the flow down but it is very doable.
January 26, 2021 – 100 done. Put the weight vest back on. Added some weight to the vest and knocked out alternating rounds of burpee pull-ups and burpee push-ups in 5 rep sets. A good workout that takes 20 minutes exactly.
January 27, 2021 – 100 done. Today, we tackled the Navy SEAL burpees. This made the overall workout much harder because you are adding in multiple push-ups and core work. But, it was a great exercise, and glad to have added it into the mix.
January 28, 2021 – 100 done. Today was all about pacing. A burpee every 6 seconds for 10 minutes straight. This would give you about 2 seconds of rest between burpees all the way through to 100.
January 29, 2021 – 100 done. Nothing fancy today. Just grinding through the 100 on the every other minute routine we have used several times. Today, we added in 15 sets of stretching for 30 minutes, 8 sets of kettlebell halos, and 7 sets of bodyweight dips. Getting so very close to the finish line.
January 30, 2021 – 100 done. Man, we are getting so close. Today, we were back in the driveway doing burpee broad jumps. For a change, we added a weight vest and maintained a 15-second pace throughout. A good workout that really taxed the legs, thanks to the weight vest. One day to go.
January 31, 2021 – 100 done. Today, we wrapped up the month and the 100 burpees per day with our truck pull exercise from a week before. 3,100 burpees done in 31 days. It was nice to have this challenge wrapped.
Now that we are on the other side of the challenge we are able to appreciate burpees a bit more (well maybe a lot). I think that we will continue to shoot to average 100 burpees per day for the foreseeable future. Our fitness for this movement is increasing and that allows us to consider this moving forward.
We will keep you informed of our burpee progress throughout the year.