Burpees are an excellent exercise with many benefits. Unlike many of the latest trends that require expensive DVDs and equipment, burpees use only your body weight and do not cost you a penny. You do not need much space to do a burpee, either, making it versatile. Burpees help you build strength and leave you gasping for breath. As always, you should consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise.
The basic burpee begins in a standing position. Bend down into a squat and place your hands shoulder-width apart on the ground by your feet. You next kick both of your feet out behind you and land in a pushup position with your arms straight and your body in a straight line as well. Then jump your feet forward back to your hands and jump straight up into the air.
There are a few good variations to the burpee that add intensity to an already difficult exercise. One variation adds a push up from the push up position. Another requires you to start in the squatting position instead of standing. In another, when you jump up at the end of the burpee, you throw your arms straight above your head.
Burpees benefit your body by increasing speed and endurance. Speed is the key to performing burpees effectively, and you should aim for as many as 30 reps a minute. This kind of high-intensity exercise will force your body to produce energy without the help of oxygen, which can improve your body's anaerobic ability. Using your body weight, burpees are considered a high-load exercise and are very effective in increasing your muscular strength and endurance.
There are many different ways to use burpees as a workout. Try a five-minute set as a warmup before beginning your regular workout, or use them to keep your heart rate up between weightlifting sessions. They can also be used in circuit-training classes, incorporated with other exercises like push ups and squats between short periods of running.
- PT Revolution: How to Do Burpees Properly
- "Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research"; Effects of Variations of the Bench Press Exercise on the EMG Activity of Five Shoulder Muscles; Chris Barnett, et al.; 1995
- The Washington Post: The Burpee (or Squat Thrust): What This Exercise As And How To Do It
- Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.