Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The burpee, bastardo and complexes

The exercise may have been originated by a man named Lieutenant Thomas Burpee (1757-1839). He was an officer in the New Hampshire Militia during the Revolutionary War and was described as "having the innate Burpee fondness for martial exercises" in A History of the Town of New London, Merrimack County, New Hampshire. Lt. Burpee may have used the combination of pushups and squat thrusts as a means of drilling, conditioning, and disciplining the troops under his command. In addition, the exercise may have also been used by the troops as a way to stay warm during the winters in wartime New England.

The burpee, the bastardo, the 8 count are all variations of the standard burpee and the stalwart of the British Military and martial artists.
Why is this exercise such a favourite, simple it is an all over body exercise that targets the aerobic system, endurance and strength and conditioning exercise.

It is performed in four steps: The standard burpee is as below

  • Begin in a squat position with your hands on the floor in front of you.
  • Kick your feet back,
  • Immediately return your feet to the squat position,
  • Stand up from the squat position. (position of attention)

· Bastardo- athlete completes a press up in between
· Long-jump burpee: the athlete jumps forward, not upward.
· Tuck jump burpee: the athlete pulls his knees to his chest while jumping.
· Jump-over burpee: the athlete jumps over an obstacle between burpees.
· One-armed bastardo: the athlete uses only one arm for the whole exercise including the pushup.
· Kettlebell burpee: the athlete holds a pair of kettlebells while performing the exercise.
· Parkour burpee: following one burpee on the ground, the athlete jumps upon a table and performs the second burpee on the table, then jumps back to the initial position
· Hindu push up burpee: instead of a regular push up, do a hindu push up
· Bouncing Burpee- with the legs extended the athlete bounces both legs to the right, centre,left centre then back to the start position.

Other variants
Wall burpees / incline burpees / air burpees: the athlete kicks his feet up against a wall / up on a table / up in the air, instead of back.
The 8 count body builder is another variant of the burpee. Counts 1-8 are as follows: (1) put your hands down, (2) push out your feet, (3) and (4) do a jumping jack on the ground, (5) and (6) perform a pushup, (7) bring your feet back forward, (8) jump in the air.

We need to look at the exercise individually (the burpee) and progress this move rather than regress it.
Complexes come in various forms but progress the exercise to another level. These complex moves can be placed in any type of training, exercise or use any equipment, complexes should come in the forms of two moves as a minimum requisite and cover different types of exercise demands

Variations include

Strength to speed
Plyometric to strength
Endurance to plyometric
Plyometric to speed
Dynamic to strength

Examples of exercises that compliment progression rather than regression are
Turkish get up to Tuck jump Burpee
Squat to concertina press up (half burpee)
Squat thrust to incline press up
To and fro burpee
Doris burpee to pull up

Give the complexes ago and see how quickly you progress in all over body functionality, strength, speed and endurance.

Leave a comment and give me your favourite burpee, complex or both!

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