Just Go Is Not A Strategy: The Burpee

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Welcome to the first installment of my new column, “Just Go Is Not A Strategy.” This is where I’m going to write about the various aspects of Crossfit competition that interest me.

If you care about your time on the WODs, you might have heard of a workout strategy that is a pandemic in Crossfit culture. It’s called Just Go! Just Go is not a strategy!

It’s also the title for my analyses on how to do your personal best on a given workout with the abilities that you have.

The Just Go mindset of throwing yourself into the WOD full-tilt until you see the White Buffalo in the Sky is a noble ideal, like seppuku, but often ineffective for maximizing your scores, points, or times.

The key to remember here is that better scores, points and times means you’re doing more work — lifting more weight, completing more reps, and moving faster — than otherwise.

Inevitably, there’s always a video of a Crossfit Games competitor declaring that his/her strategy for the upcoming challenge is Just Go!

Or people will support this mindset by citing famed runner Steve Prefontaine, who ran the first 400 meters in the mile flat-out in ~60 seconds. Try that sometime and tell me if that was the best strategy for you.

In this first installment, I want to focus on a quintessential Crossfit competition movement — the burpee. Allegedly created in prison, few other exercises cause more dread and curse-words than the burpee. Buck furpees!

The prototypical competition burpee is a quick ballistic exercise. You dive, your chest touches the ground, push and pop up to your feet, finish with a subtle small hop and hands over head.

Burpees are usually stuck in the middle or end of a workout. They can drag anybody down into a personal dark hole of suck.

There’s good news, however. There is a way to avoid that.

There are generally three ways people approach burpees.

1. Sprint
Someone tearing through their burpees like a salmon spawning upstream will always get crowd support. Of course, we all know what happens to salmon after they spawn.

At sprint speeds, doing 30 in one minute, or one every 2 seconds, is possible for the very fit.

After that minute, though, you won’t be doing much of anything else.

2. Bounce
The ballistic burpee, even if done at a controlled pace, is inefficient. It’s like sprint 5 yards, jog 10 yards, sprint 5 yards, etc.

When you’re fatigued, you can realistically perform about 12-20 ballistic burpees per minute, or one every 3-5 seconds. Even at this pace, you’re probably inching the needle further and further into redline.

Womens, final heat Games 2011. Skip to 6:50, many are doing burpees. Watch their rate.

3. Flow
Break the burpee down into a smooth flowing movement with no interruptions. It starts with a step back. Check out Artie’s smooth rolling burpee.

Her pace is a burpee every 3 seconds, or 20 in a minute. If she slows down by 33%, a burpee every 4 seconds, thats still a smooth 15 in a minute.

Yes, you’ll be the odd ball at the party with this technique. You’ll also probably be less tired, or even able to RECOVER while doing burpees!

Masters women 50-plus. Skip to 4:11-4:16. Watch the first competitor step down from box, then step back to burpee. She gets the same time as others jumping.

The next time you see burpees in a workout (next week’s benchmark test), give the Flowing burpee a try.

Feel free to add your own suggestions or observations about burpees in the comments section below!

Warm Up

1) Squat Seq
2) 5/5 Dynamic Prone Scorpions
10 Pass-thrus
10 slow OHS, 10 sec hold last rep
10 Inchworms
20 Bench Bootstrappers

Mobility

Pass-Thrus: 5 x 10 sec holds @ max stretch
Seal Stretch
Elbow Rotations

WOD

1-10-1 Pushup Ladder for quality reps.
+
10 Rounds:
10 Wallballs
5 L-Pullups

At Dinner Club, we have escalated motivational techniques for double unders to the most primal sense. Clearly, Sarah digs it!

A moment of Zen with Jake McLain…those are not your daily double unders.

5 Comments on “Just Go Is Not A Strategy: The Burpee”

  1. Thanks to Rochelle for working me hard at 6 AM!! That was a difficult workout but I feel my lats for the first time. I am looking forward to the breakfast club!!!!!

  2. those are burpees??? That’s going down and getting back up in a pretty lame-ass way–would not qualify in the army or in any professional sports training

  3. They qualify in any CrossFit competition and have been done in competition. Simply more efficient to get a higher score, as per the standards.

    Now, if you are a CrossFit hater, you don’t need to troll here.

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