The mere idea of a burpee just might push your heart rate into the stratosphere, because the movement which involves dropping to the ground, doing a pushup, then, essentially, standing back up and exploding into a jump is designed to leave you in a total-body sweat.
Leave it to Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S. , to level the move up some more, creating the 60-Point Burpee Challenge, a blend of an escalating number of pushups into a devastating series that’ll push your cardio to its limits and leave you with a vicious chest pump, too. “This one is all about constant movement, explosive movement, and finding a way,” says Samuel. “It’s not the kind of sequence you want to work through every day, but it’s a great way to test your conditioning limits.”
It’s also a zero-equipment burner that you can do almost anywhere. The series is inspired by the late Kobe Bryant, says Samuel. “You’re doing 60 burpees,” says Samuel, “because that’s the amount of points Bryant scored in his final NBA game. And you actually need a focused, mamba mentality to make it through these burpees too, because of the wrinkle we’re throwing in.”
That wrinkle is pushups, and that’s going to force you to move fast, says Samuel. “This series seems easy early on, but as you wear deeper into the burpees, you understand the challenge,” he says. “In essence, every burpee has you working through the pushup motion to drive up off the ground. In this series, you’re doing so many burpees and pushups that your chest and tris will fatigue unless you work to move quickly.”
That doesn’t mean sacrificing form, though, says Samuel. “You have to chase good form on this series, in more ways than one,” he says. “A lot of people belly-flop onto the ground and off of it during standard burpees. As time wears on in this series, your burpees must actually get cleaner so you can execute the pushups correctly.”
- Set a timer. You’ll do 60 total burpees as fast as you can.
- Every minute, on the minute, add a pushup to your burpees. So after the first 60 seconds, every time you drop to the ground, you’re doing an extra pushup rep with each burpee. After 2 minutes, you’ll be doing 2 extra pushup reps with each burpee.
- Work to finish as quickly as you can.
The series isn’t one that you should do daily, says Samuel, but it’s perfect as a once-a-week test. It’s best after a leg workout or back workout, says Samuel. “That insures you’ve done some pulling exercises before you do this series,” he says, “so your shoulders are ready for the anterior action that comes with the pushups.”
Chase form on every rep, says Samuel. “Fly through these burpees,” he says, “but by using flawless technique, not by being sloppy.”