Mention the exercise Burpee and for some reason we start sweating even before attempting one! Used as a fitness test in the military (from 1944) and now a standard exercise in a CrossFit WOD, the burpee still seems to make people feel uneasy. Why?
Because they are damn HARD and they HURT! Most likely worthy of their negative reaction because of just how tough they are, but when you break them down, really they are just a string of squats, squat jumps, pushups and a plank, or, sprawl. Ha ok so maybe that’s sounding too simplistic, but really what is all the fuss about?
Where do we start? Research! Two studies published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research showed Burpees were a high-intensity exercise that resulted in ‘serious metabolic and cardiovascular spikes’ when compared to sprints on a stationary bike. The second study indicated that the performance of a burpee elicits ‘higher acute metabolic demands than traditional resistance exercises performed with moderately heavy loading’ whoa! Sounds impressive right! Lets break down why they are actually so good.
Strength & Tone: a full body, strength exercise that will build and strengthen your muscles. Fully body means for this one exercise you are working arms, chest, quads, hamstrings, and core. Targeting these muscles will improve your muscle tone. With increased strength also comes more flexibility – particularly around the hips and back.
Weight Loss: Studies have suggested that burpee workouts can burn up to 50% more fat than ‘conventional exercises’. The burpee is what we call an anaerobic exercise, which refers to your muscles using glucose in your body, rather than oxygen. With the number of muscles used to perform this exercise it can result in a higher ‘caloric expenditure’.
Cardiovascular: Burpees raise your heart rate…fast! Being a short burst anaerobic exercise when performed at high intensity they can help improve your heart and lung capacity (Vo2).
Variations: change it up, if you dare! Burpee box jumps, burpee with a tuck or a pull up? Or, you can do them as part of your circuit or HITT session. I love adding 15 of these beauties to my HIIT sessions!
Last but not least…
Efficient and Convenient: No equipment required, you can do them with limited space and if you travel frequently, 7-10mins of these on your hotel floor will see your daily workout done!
Physically and mentally challenging YES, but we say, worth every bit of the pain!
Try this Burpee TABATA at the end of your next workout:
40 seconds of burpees, 20 sec rest. Repeat x 6 (try to match the number of Burpees every round).