Whether you love the gym or detest the hot box that is a room full of heavy-grunters who throw weights just as soon as they pick them up, one thing that unites humanity as a whole seems to be our loathing of burpees.
The two-part exercise is simple enough: a push-up followed by a leap in the air. Easy enough, right? Incorrect. Within seconds the heart-rate is elevated, the arms are quivering, and that leap into the air soon feels like being stuck in a bog where you’d be lucky just to get a millisecond of air time. While some people still manage to round out a few burpees by means of a strong flex in the gym, it pales in comparison to the feats of a Mr Nick Anapolsky.
On Saturday March 6, 2021, Anapolsky crushed the Guinness World Record for the most burpees done in one hour by a male athlete as he performed a jaw-dropping 879 chest-to-ground burpees in one hour. No matter which way you look at it, the record is a baffling one. But when you begin breaking it down, it comes to an average of 14.65 burpees per minute for 60 straight minutes. Safe to say, we’d likely be tapping out after those first 14.
32-year-old Anapolsky set the record at the CrossFit affiliate he owns, Polsky’s Strength & Conditioning (PSC). The conditions for each burpee required his chest to touch the ground and his arms to fully extend on the floor on each rep – no shortcuts here, that’s for sure. Each rep involved a small hop from the standing position, but his arms were allowed to remain by his sides. As well as that, his feet had to travel a distance equivalent to half his height on each rep, which was measured and marked with tape on the floor where his world record attempt was made.
According to Anapolsky, his game plan was to attempt 15 burpees per minute with 10 to 12 seconds of rest each minute, equating to about 900 total reps and, by extension, 30 more than the record heading into the event. It was an ambitious goal, and one Anapolsky did get quite close to. He didn’t quite get there, but still his “sprint-stop more than a straight-through hour” was more effective and saw him secure the record.
As Barbend reports, Anapolsky will hold the record to his name, but also credits his support team for seeing him achieve such a thing. The publication writes, “Bronwyn Steens, one of the CrossFit athletes helping Anapolsky keep the pace throughout the hour, said to CTV News, who first covered the story, that they had endured weeks’ worth of practice leading up to the record attempt. She, along with several others, took shifts performing burpees alongside Anapolsky at the pace he was aiming to maintain.
The mental benefit of not doing the attempt alone can’t be underestimated. As Stevens mentioned to CTV News, “I think, just mentally, having someone else doing it along with you is super helpful.”
If you’re wondering whether Anapolsky is just a super-human machine or did in fact experience some fatigue, it turns out he is human after all - though only just. He revealed that the “wall of fatigue” kicked in at the final three minutes, which he found the most difficult. In an interview following the successful record attempt, he said “it’s pretty cool” that he has “done the most in the entire world."
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