Just hearing the word ‘Burpee’ can make people feel tired, me included. The Burpee is just one of a long list of exercises that many of us love to hate; We love them because of their effectiveness in improving fitness but we hate how hard they are and how they make us feel whilst doing them!
The Burpee has been around for nearly 90 years, created by a (evil) man called Royal H.Burpee as part of his studies into applied physiology. Often associated with military ‘beastings’, it now has many variations, but the original burpee goes as follows;
- Start in the standing position, feet shoulder width apart (pic 1, below)
- Drop down through the squat position until your hands touch the floor (pic 2)
- At this point lean your body weight on your hands and simultaneously kick your legs back straight behind you (pic 3)
- You should now form the start of a press up position with your arms fully extended and torso in a straight line from head to toe
- In one fluid movement bring your knees back up towards your chest (pic 4); this in isolation is what’s known as a squat thrust
- Take your hands off the floor and push up into the air explosively from your feet (pic 5)
- Land and repeat the move from ‘1’ again
- Don’t stop until you have reached the required number of reps/ time
- Drop dead ha!
A burpee is a full body workout that requires no equipment. The maximum uptake of oxygen is needed throughout just to carry on, such is the demand on the whole body. It is a cracking addition to a cardio or resistance workout.
You could argue that the main muscle used is the heart as it is pretty much bursting out of your chest! The other primary muscles used are your quads, your glutes and you core but the list of secondary muscles being called upon is endless. Working these multiple muscles groups burns serious calories and therefore is a first class fat burner.
If you can do 20 standard burpees straight off (and you like pain) then try a more advanced variation;
- Perform a press up at the bottom of the move
- Perform a pull up at the top of the move
- Wear a weighted vest throughout
Set the timer for 5 minutes and see how many burpees you can do. The only rule is don’t sit down until you’ve finished and make each burpee proper! Try and beat your score each week.