Ah, the dreaded burpee. Both admired and reviled by all, ever since... 1939, apparently, when a man named Royal H. Burpee invented the infamous exercise to determine a person's physical fitness. (It's fitting, really, since most people find them to be a royal pain in the you-know-what.)
Fast forward to 2017 and it's still one of the most widely used and effective go-to exercises. To measure their effectiveness, Runner's World's Danielle Zickl decided to do 30 burpees every day for 15 days and track her results.
"I completed three sets of 10 burpees for 15 days straight," Zickl wrote. "I started out with a one-minute rest in between my sets and decreased that time by 15 seconds every three days until I was doing all 30 burpees at once with no rest for the last three days."
While we're exhausted just thinking about it, Zickl says her results were more rewarding than she could have imagined.
Her running improved
Not only did her 9-minute mile pace improve, but she found she was able to run longer distances than her typical three-mile run. By one of the last days, she ran five-and-half miles! "My stride felt stronger, and my breathing was more even and composed," she said.
Wondering why burpees had this effect on her, she asked Dr. Jordan D. Metzl, a New York-based sports medicine physician at the Hospital for Special Surgery, who told her it was because burpees work all your muscles and your heart.
“Burpees target every muscle in your body and train your cardiopulmonary fitness by repeatedly bring your heart rate up and down,” he said.
She had more energy
Not only did starting her days with burpees put her in a good mood (thanks, endorphins!), but she also was able to power through her days without having to rely on caffeine.
They got easier, but there were still off days
Zickl says the burpees definitely got easier, but there were still days when she felt she was starting from zero. Dr. Metzl attributed it factors like not getting enough sleep the night before, and Zickl says it just proves how challenging burpees are — your body won't ever get used to them.
She felt empowered
Zickl says there's a reason military members and athletes use burpees to train. "Knowing what I was doing for my body gave me a sense of strength that was more than physical. I felt mentally strong and ready to tackle my day," she said.
Will you take Zickl's 30-burpees-a-day challenge? Comment your thoughts below!