October 11 2010

WOW: Cave Burpees

By Mark Sisson
59 Comments

For time:

100 Burpees (with Pushups and Jumps)*

How-to:

Warmup: A couple rotations of the Grok Squat.

This is an oldie but a goodie. All you need is a small patch of floor space and your bodyweight to perform this WOW. There is no equipment and little space required, so it’s perfect for a quick, impromptu workout while on the road or when you want to stay indoors, out of the harsh fall and winter elements.

Give it a shot, record your time and list it in today’s comment board to compare with others. Just finishing 100 burpees is an accomplishment in itself, but if you’re a fit individual and would like a goal to shoot for I’d recommend attempting to do it in under 10 minutes. Sub-4 minute times have been recorded.

This is a challenging WOW and may not be for everyone as prescribed. Luckily, there are ways to customize this WOW. See the variations below for ways to adapt this WOW to match your fitness level and goals.

*How to Perform a Burpee (with Pushups/Jumps): Drop down into the squat position. Place your hands on the ground about shoulder width apart while simultaneously jumping your legs back so that you are in the standard pushup position. Perform a pushup. As you come up from the pushup jump your legs forward so that you are back in the squat position. From the squat position jump straight up so that your feet leave the ground and your arms come up over your head. Here is a decent video example.

Variations:

There are numerous ways to make this WOW easier:

  • Decrease the volume. Instead of 100 burpees for time attempt 50 or 30 burpees for time.
  • Instead of regular pushups do knee pushups.
  • Skip the jump and/or pushup, so the movement only includes the squat and plank.

What are WOWs?

  • Workouts of the Week (WOWs) are an optional component of Primal Blueprint Fitness that add a fractal and often fun and playful quality to the basic PBF protocol.
  • In most cases WOWs should only be completed by those that have mastered Level 4 of each Lift Heavy Things Essential Movement. Also, it’s recommended that WOWsreplace one or both Lift Heavy Things workouts or the Sprint workout (depending on the WOW) each week instead of being done in addition to the Lift Heavy Things and Sprint workouts.
  • Learn more about WOWs and Primal Blueprint Fitness by getting the free eBook. And access all Workouts of the Week in the WOW Archive.

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59 thoughts on “WOW: Cave Burpees”

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    1. Haha I think we’re on the same level.. Or i still am at least

  1. This is great. Just yesterday I made the comment that everyone on the forum should do 100 burbees in celebration, and know it will be happening!!! This is why I love this site.

  2. I’m always slightly baffled by the new trend of “high intensity” workouts to be highly repetitive. It’s like the reverential badge of pride endurance athletes uphold to justify their continuation of a grueling, un-fun regiment has been transferred over to a different type of physical training. In the same space and time used for 100 burpees, one can throw in some different movements to work more muscles, engage the mind a bit more, and enjoy a refreshing sense of strength rather than slog through the uphill battle with fatigue.

    1. While I agree with the spirit of your post, there is value in mastering the basics and repetition is an effective tool for doing so. Doing 100 burpees is going to challenge anyone and help their form with that movement. That said, I wouldn’t do something like this all that often for the reasons you specified.

    2. I’d like to know which muscles are not being used in a full burpee?

      1. You’re right, it is full body, no doubt. I misspoke there. In particular, though, your hams, biceps, lower back, upper gluts, and obliques probably won’t be fatigued like your quads, upper back, triceps, delts, lower gluts, and calfs. Also, it could certainly help to transition to another move and preserve posture, as hunched shoulders, rounded spine, and closed hips become pervasive as you fatigue with burpees.

        1. Yes, but your lower back hamstrings and glutes should be the prime movers in powerful hip extension for jumping, not your quads. Also some of us do find pushing ourselves to the limits “fun” it’s all relative.

        2. You have to have a deeper squat to really use hamstrings and there are multiple glut muscles, each activating maximally with different movements. Lower back should really stay neutral and act as a stabilizer. Yes the hip flexors work hard, hence the tendency to hunch and not fully extend in the jump as you tire. Yea I totally understand the desire to hit it till you drop. Cool for testing, but for a workout, not so much.

    3. This kind of workout is about mental endurance as much as physical. There is a benefit to training your mind to focus, and not needing to be distracted by other exercises.

  3. My time was 5:48, but I left out the pushup (chest is slightly sore)…I’ll have to do it again with the full pushup and see how much longer it takes!

    Awesome minimalist workout. My kind of thing!

  4. Grab a pull- up bar during the jump, and insert a pull-up in each burpee for real fun!

  5. Holy S#!7, kicked my A$$. lost 30lbs since January so it is definitely better than in the old days. had to break up into 10 sets of 10. 16:08, but I know i can and will do better. GREAT WORKOUT, full body is feeling it.

      1. Hey man, No kidding. That is by far what too many people fixate on. I can’t so I won’t. I am no stranger to pain. played Rugby for close to 10 years. I don’t think I ever worked this hard in such a short amount of time per week and still I am in better shape now than then? Love it.

  6. 8:16…how anyone has managed a sub-four minute set is beyond my comprehension. great “sprint” like workout.

      1. if i had that soundtrack to motivate i might’ve been able to pull a sub-4 errrr sub-8 minute set.

  7. 14.29 for 100 +/- 5 . 100 is a really high number. I lost count a few times.

    1. Brother, that happens to me all the time! I can’t seem to keep track past about 20 reps on any workout. Maybe I should just do it for time.

  8. First WOW ever – Originally estimated 1 week and 4 days, but knock out 100 burpees (most without pushup) in 16 minutes. This is the first day of a new process for me. Grok on!

  9. 13:45 holy heck that was intense!

    bear in mind that I have a 6’5″ frame to move around…so thats why it took me longer than you smaller people. Its not because I am not as fit as you guys… 😉

  10. Ive been doing 100 burpees once a week for the last 6 or 7 weeks. I have also never cracked 10 minutes, but was in teh low teens working at 10 rep sets.

    In any case, checking the comments here gave me the kick I needed and this afternoon I set a PB of 9:23.

    So cheers for that! 🙂

  11. Have done this for years with a weighted BP. First I put it on my back then flip it to my front. Great workout. Try hiking with weights too! Challenge extended…

  12. 9:05 but that included one phone interruption. I think we a few more attempts I can get to 6:xx range, but sub 4:00 is crazy.

  13. Never done Burpees before, 10:30 for 100 the 1st time. Gonna keeep working on it to get it under 10. Great workout as with all the WOWs.

  14. Daaang.. I’m out of shape primalistically speaking haha I only did 65 in 10:01 Seconds. That sure was fun though I am most def going to try that again!

    I need to get past the big shots who posted. Good job ppl!

  15. Please tell me again why do this for time, doesn’t that encourage poor form? I bet I can do it 20 second faster by not jumping so high; another 20 second gain by not controlling my push-up and making it a bouncing flop …?

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  17. Just did this for the first time today – 100 burpees (highest possible jump I could muster each time). Finished at 9:55.

    Still sweating.

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  19. I just didn’t have the motivation to drag out le weights, so I did this workout today. The sweat coming out of my scalp was intense. XD
    I managed to get 12:36! I’ll try to shave that down to 12:00 next time.

  20. I accepted the challenge from a friend and though for sure I could get under 10….it’s harder than I though. 10:47 for me with a new goal of breaking the 10 min barrier

  21. I’m still pretty deconditioned so did a modification: x5 (10 burpees, 10 bridges), no rest (well, maybe a little rest). Good compromise for those needing to work up to it. Got my blood moving and the last set of burpees was tough. Took me about 8 min.

  22. I do these sometimes but find ways to avoid them more often than not because there’s few things that gas you more (thrusters and 400m laps come to mind….maybe but there’s not much in it!). I’m 40, 200lbs and I do them in around 7 mins sometimes under sometimes over. The trick is to keep going! They are the kind of exercise that you think you will have to stop after about 20 but actually you can keep going. More slowly and it hurts the whole way but you can keep going And not taking a breather dramatically increases your time. Just think to yourself, ‘I only have to do 10 mins and then its all over!’ compared to the usual 30 or whatever. But the results are spectacular!

  23. Wow! This was a challenge. I had to break it up into sets of 25, but I did all 4 sets in 10:38. I did take about 1:30 minute breaks in between sets but I have a new goal! Thanks for this awesome, simple, quick, challenging workout Mark!