General: I did a few quick calculations when 14.5 was announced to work out the theoretical fastest time. I allowed 2 seconds per thruster (84 x 2 = 168 seconds) and 3 seconds per burpee (84 x 3 = 252 seconds) – this equates to 420 seconds or 7 minutes. This of course doesn’t take into account transition times or breaks in sets but it works well to estimate a fast theoretical time and furthermore proves how outstanding these top athletes are.
Why does this matter for you? 2 seconds per Thruster and 3 seconds per burpee is not unachievable, but where I think a lot of people will go wrong in this workout is that they will try to get a fast time by speeding up the movements rather than resting less. I’m sure you’ve all seen videos of a fast Fran – the athletes never look to be moving fast – they just don’t rest or break sets. If you try to speed up these movements even by a small margin they will bight you and you will lose any advantage of fast reps many times over in forced rest breaks. Pull back on the effort in the movements by 10-20% to rest less. It’s a tried and proven plan.
Thrusters: The goal with the thrusters is steady and unbroken. You don’t need to slow your thrusters down too much to make a really big difference with energy expenditure. This will make a big difference over this volume of work and could save a few unnecessary dumps and allow you to chip through the burpees more consistently. Remember this is not Fran and you have a lot more work to do after the first set of 21, so don’t get caught up in the excitement and try to set the fastest time for 21 thrusters only to find yourself in a hole that you can’t climb out of.
Personally, whenever I am doing thrusters in a workout I like to warm up to a weight that is a good chunk heavier than what is prescribed, even for just a few reps. I also like to spend a few seconds in the critical positions (bottom of the squat and overhead) with the extra weight on board. This helps to achieve efficient positions and loosen up any areas that might hamper your performance during the workout.
Shoes are a personal choice here – I would suggest weightlifting shoes for people who find this load heavy (for this many reps) as well as athletes who have a lot of forward inclination in the squat. Doing bar facing burpees in weightlifting shoes sucks but they will still represent a bigger advantage in the thrusters for people with strength/mobility issues, than they are a disadvantage in the burpee.
Finally, take a leaf out of Froning’s book and pause momentarily at the top of the thrusters. The correct overhead position allows you to support the weight on the skeletal structure and takes some of the work off the muscular and cardiovascular systems. Granted this deload is only for a moment but multiplied over each rep of the workout it certainly adds up.
Check out our Thruster tutorial video at the end of the post.
Burpees: I would avoid going out hard in the burpees – try to save a bit of gas for the second half of the workout. If you go out too hard it’s either going to result in forced breaks in the thrusters and/or rest breaks during the burpees. Once again you don’t have to slow your pace too much to make a considerable difference to the sustainability of this movement which should allow you to keep moving.
To be more specific I suggest that you drop from the standing position and rebound quickly from the ground in the burpee but then break the step to and jump over the bar into a bit more of a mechanical action to allow a few good breaths of air during each rep. Save the big, turning the air style jumps for the last few rounds if and when you have the energy to do them. Check out our Burpee tutorial video below.