Why Burpees Rule.

Okay so now that we’ve talked about some different kinds of workout genres like interval training, circuit training, and the importance of weight training, let’s get into some details about how EXACTLY to move your body.

A burpee is an awesome, complete body workout in one simple (series of) move(s). If you don’t know it, here is the deal:

  1. stand.
  2. squat down and place your hands on the floor
  3. jump your legs out so you are in a plank / pushup position
  4. do a push-up
  5. jump your feet back in to meet your hands
  6. jump up, reaching your hands up
  7. REPEAT

Here’s a video of some nice girl demoing one for you. Notice that her legs go to the ground entirely during her push-up, which is something some people do because it then requires more strength to re-form your plank on the way up, but I also find that if you’re just starting out, you can lose the form of your plank entirely, so for now, just keep it as a straight up push-up for that part.

One thing that is GOOD to notice about this random girl’s form is that when she jumps her legs out into a plank, she goes right into the push-up, essentially blending those two moves and catching herself at the bottom of a push-up. TRY TO DO THIS!  Even if you start doing every other (or every third) burpee like this, it’s a GREAT way to really work your ENITRE body, because you’re essentially using all of the muscles in the front of your body to catch yourself (biceps, chest, abs, quads).

Throughout the burpee, there are so many muscle groups being worked here, and doing this in a series of fluid movements will help your body’s agility and flexibility more than doing individual squats or pushups. Don’t get me wrong, these are VERY HARD, but it’s an awesome way to get your heart rate up while working your entire body.

Let’s break this down.

  1. squats: works your quads, glutes, hamstrings
  2. plank: works your trapezius, rhomboids, and abs
  3. push-ups: work your pecs, triceps, deltoids
  4. jump: core (abs / erector muscles), glutes, calves

And those are just the major muscles. You’re still working all sorts of secondary muscles, like just below your armpits (serratus anterior), your hip flexors, biceps, and rotator cuff, and many more that I am definitely not equipped to fully discuss. So. Many. Muscles.

So, to do a burpee workout, there are a bunch of options. You can add them as a part of any circuit, either doing them for 1 minute or doing 10 of them (depending on if your circuit is timed or counted), OR, you can do a workout which is ENTIRELY burpees. Good luck.

Here is one that my badass trainer friend gave me to do while I was home for the holidays, and I wanted to kill her:

  • Warmup: 3 minutes of jumping jacks
  • 1 burpee
  • 15 second break
  • 2 burpees
  • 15s break
  • …..
  • continue the ladder to 10 burpees
  • 15s break
  • then 9 burpees
  • 15s break
  • 8 burpees
  • 15s
  • ….
  • back down to 1 burpee again

I emailed her immediately after doing this to let her know that she is the worst, because if you’ll notice, the above workout is basically just doing 100 burpees.  That shit is mean. BUT, it was an amazing, total body, hard as hell workout and it only took about 20 minutes.

If you’re new to burpees, I would try doing as many at once as you can (probably between 5 and 10) and then going down the ladder, with 30 second breaks in between. Then work your way up to this workout by turning it into a full ladder first (so if you did 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, then next time try 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1) and then slowly adding one more rung each week.

See? This is something you can easily do at home, so it’s great for when you travel, or for when you think you don’t have time to workout. You do! If you have 20 minutes, you have a complete workout that is more beneficial than an hour on the elliptical. Get strong, y’all. Do burpees.

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