Reap the benefits of Burpees today
Jump into it with Burpees!
If you’re looking for the ultimate fitness challenge, add burpees to your training routine! Ever heard of them? Also known as squat thrusts, burpees were named after a physiologist and fitness guru in the 1940s named Royal Huddleston Burpee. Mr. Burpee came up with this challenging exercise to measure a person’s fitness level in a way that didn’t require equipment. The exercise caught on and are still popular today. In fact, the military used burpees as a screening test for new enlistees during World War 2. The enlistees had to be capable of doing a certain number of burpees to join the military. So, burpees have a bit of history behind them and are still making people sweat today!
As popular as they are, burpees are an exercise people love to hate. That’s because they’re tough! But, if you can whip out a few burpees in quick succession, you can congratulate yourself on being in ship shape.
Burpee Exercise Benefits: Why You Should Include This Kick Butt Exercise in Your Routine
Burpees are a multi-benefit exercise. If you do a set of squat thrusts at a rapid tempo, you tap into glycolytic energy pathways that improve your anaerobic fitness as well as your aerobic capacity. It takes balance and agility to do burpees. So, it is a whole-body exercise that conditions your entire body in a way that can boost your performance in a variety of sports that require agility, coordination, and power. Plus, you don’t need equipment to do it.
What Muscles Do Burpees Work?
Burpees not only elevate your heart rate and get the sweat flowing, but they’re also a dynamic exercise that works most of the muscles in your lower body and your core. When you descend into a squat, you target your quadriceps and, to a lesser degree, your hamstrings. Plus, you also brace your core muscles for stability. If you modify a burpee by adding a push-up, your upper body, particularly your triceps get in on the action.
How to Do a Burpee Exercise
•Stand erect with your feet a few inches apart and your arms at your sides.
•Lower your body into a squat.
•Place your hands in front of you on the floor and shift your weight onto your hands.
•At the same time, jump your feet behind you while holding your body straight. Your weight should be on the balls of your feet and your hands, similar to a plank position.
•Quickly, jump your feet forward so they land right outside of your hands.
•As you launch your feet forward, jump into the air as you raise your arms overhead.
•Lower your body into a squat and repeat.
A more intense modification is to add a pushup after you land in the plank position. Since this is a more advanced move, don’t try it until after you can do at least 10 conventional burpees with good form.
How to Modify Burpees
You can tweak a basic burpee to make it easier or harder. If you’re just starting out and don’t have the stamina to do standard burpees, skip the jump until you’ve built up more endurance. You can even do burpees by placing your hands on an elevated bench rather than on the floor. This makes the move easier. The higher the bench, the easier.
What if you want to make burpees harder? Include a jump and a push-up with each repetition. To make it more challenging from a cardiovascular standpoint, increase the tempo. Do burpees faster! Here’s a challenge. See how many burpees you can do in 30 seconds. Then, try to beat your time when you next work out. Be prepared to sweat and suck air!
Another way to make the exercise harder is to modify the type of jump you do at the end. To increase the challenge, do a star jump or jump on to a low box. Be careful! This takes lots of agility and coordination. It’s not a beginner move or one you should attempt until you have lots of standard burpees behind you. To add a balance challenge, do single-leg burpees. Again, wait until you’ve mastered standard burpees.
The Bottom Line
Burpees can be a stand-alone exercise you do for cardiovascular fitness and to burn fat or you can do a few in between strength exercises to keep your heart rate up when strength training. There’s nothing like getting double the benefits – strength and cardiovascular from a single exercise. Take advantage of this challenging but effective exercise.
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, DOI: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000000522.
HuffingtonPost.com. “A Brief History Of The Burpee”