Working out with just your body weight can feel like there is always something more that you need to add, an extra layer or load, some extra weight, something more to pump your muscles. It’s like you need something more challenging to be done to get the pump from your workout. There’s always a way to make exercises more challenging, and the burpee is one of them.
The modern burpee, originally called the “squat thrust,” was used as early as World War II to test the fitness levels of enlisted troops. Burpees are a very physically demanding exercise that can be very difficult to do, and believe me; you’ll be glad you’re doing them without using weights.
Fortunately, you don’t need weights, for the benefits can be just as potent. This article covers all the basics of the burpee exercise.
What is a Burpee?
A burpee is an exercise that starts with jumping your feet back, kissing your chest to the floor, pushing up off the ground while snapping your feet toward your hands, and then jumping and clapping.
So why do people hate burpees?
Well, number one is that they are hard. That’s no lie. No movement will tire your muscles and lungs out faster than this one. Some may have negative memories because they have been used as punishment by gym teachers, football coaches, and drill sergeants.
How to Do Burpees
The burpee is a calisthenic movement that is simpler than other technical movements. Performing a pushup and jump squat simultaneously can work many muscles throughout the body. We can understand the technique better by looking at it one step at a time.
Step 1. Crouch Into Plank
Choose a flat, stable surface to do your burpees, and avoid uneven surfaces or compressed tin. Despite popular belief, working out on unstable surfaces or with equipment that challenges your balance may not improve your muscular control or stability.
From a standing position, descend into a crouch/squat. Bend your knees and place your hands on the ground as you lower yourself. Get into a pushup position, then kick your legs out behind you, so you end up in a straight-arm plank.
Be careful when doing bodyweight exercises, as they can be dangerous if you do them too quickly without warming up first. Before you begin your workout, do a quick warm-up to raise your core temperature and increase blood circulation.
Step 2. Push Up
Lower your torso to the floor from the straight-arm plank position like you would for a standard pushup.
If you’re doing multiple burpees in a row, it’s easy to let your lower back sag as you get to the bottom of the pushup. Make sure your spine is straight the entire time.
Step 3. Recover and Drive
Jump your legs back under your body as you press off the floor, then release your grip to return to the crouching position. In one smooth movement, push up with your legs and jump.
You can make minor adjustments to your jump height. It would be best if you made minor adjustments to your jump height instead of jumping as high as possible. Believe me; you’ll have no problem getting gassed regardless of your jumping height. The burpee is not a good measure of sheer power, and recovering from multiple rapid high jumps can be bad for your joints.
Muscles Worked by the Burpee
The burpee is an effective exercise that works almost every muscle in the body without being clumsy or time-consuming. Calisthenics is not the best way to grow new power, but doing a few sets of burpees can be beneficial.
Most bodyweight exercises are practical at working the abs, and the burpee is no different. Although it may not be as challenging as other exercises, it can still stimulate the core muscles. You can access your lower abs and hip flexors by forcefully tucking your legs back under your torso, roughly mimicking a hollow body position. Doing this also engages your obliques and rectus abdominis (aka your six-pack muscles) to work overtime to keep your spine stable while you press yourself up.
Chest & Shoulders
Half a burpee is a great way to exercise your chest, shoulders, and triceps, just like a pushup. While pushups are better for hypertrophy and strength, burpees are a decent stimulus in their own right.
Quads & Glutes
When people want to grow their legs, they often head straight for the squat rack. Sleeping on the burpee as a lower-body finisher is a mistake. The power to launch your body into the air from a squat position with your buttocks close to the ground is enough to cause significant loading to your quadriceps, hamstrings, and gluteal muscles.
The burpee positively offers a cardio component. Cardio is essential and should not be neglected. Studies have found that a combination of resistance training and aerobics is the most effective way to reduce long-term health risks.
The Benefits of Doing Burpees
No matter what your goals are, doing burpees can have a positive effect on your fitness, not just physically but mentally.
The constant repetition of the movement builds character and perseverance. It shows you how to keep going during even the most difficult times.
No other movement fatigues your muscles and lungs as quickly as burpees, making them an excellent way to improve your gymnastics strength and conditioning.
You don’t need equipment or space to perform them – you can do them anywhere. If you can’t go to the gym, whether you’re traveling, if the hotel you’re staying at doesn’t have a gym, or if you’re stuck outside, you can always do burpees.
All you need to do this exercise is your body. It’s an easy movement to perform. They give you no excuse not to work out.
Anyone can do a burpee, including beginners, people who want to lose weight, and kids.
There are many reasons why people should be able to get up and down off the floor. It can be as profound or straightforward as the quality of life, while for others, it may be for safety by providing a hedge against frailty as we age. These drills are perfect for athletes who need to get back on their feet quickly, such as volleyball players, football players, and wrestlers.
There are not many ways you can vary the burpee exercise. You can make some quick adjustments to make the activity more difficult or accessible.
The Burpee Pull-Up is a burpee that has been combined with a pull-up. The movement stays the same, but instead of jumping off the floor, you also do a pull-up. The pull-up is an excellent addition to this workout routine. However, it does slow down the movement.
The athlete is usually required to set up under a pull-up bar a certain distance (often 6 inches) above the tip of their fingers with arms extended.
Before you start your workout, do a few practices jumps to figure out where to place your hands. You will conserve energy and eliminate extra distance traveled if you do this.
It would be best to mark your hand placement on the floor with chalk or tape so you have a target each time you come off the bar. This will help you remain consistent throughout the workout.
Box Jump Burpee
To make the burpee more challenging, you can jump onto a box instead of just jumping into the air. If you add a minimum height requirement to the squat jump, you will make it more difficult. Adding plyometric exercises to your regular workout routine can help improve your speed, coordination, and strength.
If you’re looking for a real challenge, wearing a weight vest during burpees will make them much harder. The extra resistance will make it difficult to move through different planes of motion, causing your muscles to work harder and tire quickly.
Burpee to Stand
There is no shame in making the burpees less complicated if you are new to personal or HIIT training. If you want a more accessible version of the burpee, you can omit the vertical jump at the top and stand up from the squat. The following will help reduce stress on the knees and hips while still allowing the leg muscles to get some work.
You can save your upper body by doing a squat to a straight arm plank instead of a pushup.
There is always something up for debate within any movement. The squat thrust is a move that does not require a perfect pushup, but the chest must touch the floor for each rep.
You are likely to be required to perform a strict pushup with each burpee rep, as in the 6-count version in both gym class and the military.
Both exercise versions have benefits – the CrossFit-style burpee will help you move quickly and get your heart rate higher, while the 6-count version will help you focus on strength, form, and moving in unison with your class or platoon.
If you are worried about doing burpees or you don’t like them because you have seen them in too many workouts, you can do other exercises that have a similar effect.
Some athletes avoid cardio because it works both the lower and upper body. Thrusters may be a good option if you want a strenuous workout that will work your whole body without tiring you out. The barbell thruster targets many of the same muscle groups as other exercises while also lifting a lot of weight, making it great for gaining muscle mass.
Upon first inspection, it might appear that the sled push doesn’t adequately replace the burpee. It’s not very convenient, but sled pushing is a good workout for your whole body. The legs and shoulders push together to create resistance, and you can time sled runs or go for maximum endurance.
FAQs About Burpees
Can it be included as part of a main workout routine?
Although burpees do not stand alone for every aspect of fitness adequately, they still check many boxes for overall fitness and will efficiently fit into just about any routine. If you want your routine to be balanced, include other exercises or mix in some weight or resistance training as well. However, if you’re looking for one exercise that targets most major muscle groups and gets you sweating, you can’t go wrong with the burpee.
Are burpees safe for beginners?
Yes. The burpee can be a bit menacing for beginners if it is done too much or without the correct technique, but it is safe if done correctly. If this is all brand new for you, slow it down and practice the move and with some variations over time. If you stick with it and take your time, you’ll improve incrementally as you continue to practice the movement. The burpee is a good exercise choice for people just starting at the gym because it doesn’t require lifting heavy weights and is not too physically demanding if you proceed methodically in the beginning.
Can I do burpees every day?
You can perform burpees daily if you consider how much volume you are doing. Suppose you want to ensure your weekly activity level is above average. In that case, you should do more aerobic exercise, but be aware that it may make your resistance training or other cardio sessions more challenging.
Hopefully, this article will help convince you to consider adding burpees to your routine if you have hesitated about them or never considered them as an option before. It is essential to get the most out of your gym training to make the most of your time. The burpee is an excellent exercise because it is both convenient and practical.