Week 5: The Pudge Be Gone! Fitness Challenge

| 05/05/2011 | Comments (0)

One of the best all-around whole body exercises which builds strength, burns fat, and provides great cardiovascular benefits to speed weight loss are burpees!

Were you a child in the 1960s/1970s? If so, you probably participated in what used to be called The President’s Fitness Test. Every year we had to do timed exercises – pull ups, run a half mile, do push ups, burpees and situps – measured against a standard established for our age and gender. Too bad the Federal government stopped this program in the late 1970s… budgets got smaller and kids got bigger…

Anyway, pull ups and burpees were the hardest exercises for most of us to perform during those horrid tests. Burpees made you huff and puff like a steam engine, your legs felt like they are on fire, your shoulders and chest were worked half to death, and you would be in a full sweat after the testing was done.

As I got older and became more health and fitness conscious, I realized how good burpees were for the body. I perform a couple of sets every week during at least one workout.  They are an excellent cardio interval exercise to perform between strength training exercises in a cardio circuit routine, as your heart rate remains up while your muscles recover from the weights.

The challenge this week is going to be for you to perform burpees (in addition to your walking or weight training exercises), with the goal of knocking out a minimum of 200 burpees by week’s end!

The burpee exercise is extremely versatile, and can be fashioned to accommodate every fitness level.

More advanced exercisers will perform their burpees with hands on the floor (see photo below). Those of you that have less upper body strength and are unable to do a full pushup will perform burpees using a weight bench, a sturdy coffee table or bench, or even a heavy chair that won’t tip over.  Your pushups will be at an incline 12-18″ from the floor.

Performing The Pudge Be Gone 200 Burpee Challenge

  1. Stand erect with hands at sides. Squat down, placing your hands on the floor just outside your feet.
  2. Keeping hands planted on the ground, jump up a little and thrust feet back and apart about 6-8″, so that you land in the “up” position of a push-up.
  3. Perform one push up, going as low as you can handle and still return to the start position.
  4. Jump feet forward so that you’re back in the squatted position with your hands on the outside of your feet again.
  5. As you stand up, leap up into the air in a jumping jack.
  6. Return to standing position in #1 above.
  7. You have just completed ONE repetition. 

Don’t be too gung-ho and try to do a zillion reps all on one day when you’ve never done anything quite so strenous before! Feel free to break your sets up into small groups and do some each day, or some in the morning and then in the evening. Knock out a few between sets at the gym! Or walk half a mile, do 10 burpees, walk another half mile, do 10 more etc.

Beginners:  Perform 5 sets  of 5 reps with 60-90 seconds rest in between sets to allow your heart rate to decrease.  As I said above, you will be placing your hands on a weight bench or a low table, and not the floor to make things slightly easier.

Intermediates:  Perform 8 sets with a minimum of 6 reps with about 60 seconds rest in between sets.

Advanced:  Perform 10 sets of 10 reps, leaping up into the air.  Perform burpees with just your body weight, or holding a moderately heavy (5-8 lb) dumbbell in each hand for an added challenge.

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Veteran social researcher, relationship advice columnist, author and radio host. Author of hundreds of articles on American and black culture, gender issues, singles, dating and relationships. Author of "Sucka Free Love!" , "The 24 Types of Suckas to Avoid," "The Black Church - Where Women Pray and Men Pray," and "Why Vegan is the New Black" all available on Amazon.Com. Her unique voice and insightful commentary have delighted fans and riled haters for 20 years. Read her stuff on SurvivingDating.Com and AskHeartBeat.Com.

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