Burpees…the exercise everyone loves to hate! But nobody can deny its results.
Frankly, this is one of the best exercises you’ll ever do. If you don’t like doing a ton of exercises, burpees alone can do the magic. In fact, you can have a fully satisfying workout in less than 20 minutes. But I have to warn you – you need a lot of focus and determination to do 20 burpees.
This single exercise works all the muscle groups. It will improve your muscular endurance, increase strength, improve cardiovascular health, and improve coordination.
In case you are not familiar with a burpee, to perform it:
Stand straight with feet shoulder width apart, bend your knees and touch the floor with hands in front of the feet.
Kick the legs back and assume a push up position, then reverse the movement by kicking the legs forward.
Explode off the floor with a jump and clap hands over the head and repeat.
Below, are the benefits you will get from a burpees workout.
Benefit #1 – Burning fat
Burpees are a very intense exercise which trains many muscles. Therefore, you will burn a lot of calories in one workout. In fact this study shows that burpees burn more fat than regular strength training. They will also keep metabolism up hours after the workout.
How much fat you’ll burn depends on the intensity and length of the workout.
Benefit #2 – Build strength and muscle
At the end of a burpee workout you will have worked the arms, chest, shoulders, core and legs.
Incorporate different bodyweight exercises in your workout to build more muscle and strength. Read on to see the exercises you can add to your burpees workout. Obviously, higher reps will guarantee better results.
Benefit #3 – Muscular endurance
Burpees are a great exercise for metabolic conditioning. They will improve the flow of blood to the muscles and the efficiency of the muscles. High intensity burpees will also improve cardiovascular health and condition the heart to aerobic training.
That’s why you will find athletes in different sports doing them.
Benefit #4 – Improves coordination
This exercise involves a lot of movements – it requires arms, core and legs coordination.
You will gain more coordination as you add new exercises. Also training at high intensity will improve coordination.
Benefit #5 – Explosiveness
Burpees are an explosive exercise – it involves kicking feet, pushing off the floor, and jumping.
You can even make the workout more explosive by doing adding exercises like clap push ups, box jumps, step ups and so on.
I have mentioned a number of exercises you can do with burpees. Let’s see how you can combine these exercises for better results.
Burpees with push ups: When in the push up position, do a push up before you kick the legs forward. This will help build the shoulder, triceps and chest muscles. See video
The classic push is not the only option here. You can do different variations like the dive bomber push ups, diamond push ups, or the explosive clap push ups.
Burpees with step ups: This makes the exercise a lot harder. You need a high surface to step on. Do the normal routine then after jumping off the floor, do a step up. Another harder alternative is doing box jumps. See video
Burpees with pull ups: This one is super intense. When you explode off the floor, grab a pull up bar, do a pull up then continue. You’ll be extremely ripped by the time you can do a one minute drill. See video
One leg burpees: To activate the leg muscles more, do burpees on one leg.
Burpees with weight vest: Doing bodyweight exercises with weighted vest makes the more effective and also more challenging. See video
This is a highly versatile exercise, be creative and add different exercises as you advance. You don’t want to get bored doing the same routine over and over.
After you decide the burpees variation to do. Now choose the preferable training method.
The first option is to time the workout. Do the exercise for one minute (depending on your fitness level), rest for 60-90 seconds then do another one-minute drill. Make the drills longer as you get fitter.
The other option is to count the number of reps. For a beginner, start with 30-50 reps with sets of 10 reps, then work your way up to 100 reps. Take breaks only when you can’t do anymore reps and try to keep them as short as possible.
The tabata burpees are also a great alternative. Do 10 burpees, rest for 30 seconds. Do 9, rest for 30 seconds, do 8 and rest for 30 seconds…..do that until zero.
No matter how effective burpees are, they are not the key to transforming your body – consistency is. This is not the only exercise that can change your body. Many people have seen weight loss results through, weight training, calisthenics, running, swimming and other training methods.
All success stories share one thing in common, consistency. Don’t expect much if you keep skipping workouts. If you miss a workout, make up for it.
For someone who doesn’t have time to do different exercises, burpees alone will do. But if your goal is to pack big muscles, add other strength training exercises to your routine.
For some motivation, check out Nikki’s story and see how she got fit doing nothing but burpees.
Burpees can be challenging especially if you are a beginner or not fit. You may want to start with easier exercises then move up to burpees when you build strength.
Have burpees helped you get fitter? Leave a comment below.