Burpees are one of the most versatile exercises you can do in the gym. They’re a full-body workout and easy to scale up or down, depending on your fitness level. Plus, they require very little equipment—you need a floor.
Even better: burpees work a wide range of muscle groups and burn tons of calories, making them an ideal choice to lose weight or get stronger!
The History of the Burpee
Most people who practice burpees today don’t know the true history of this exercise, so let’s take a moment to discuss it.
The Royal H. Burpee was born in Massachusetts in 1892 and died in 1987 at 105 years old. He had a long career as a physical educator, teaching children about healthy living through exercise and dieting. He created several activities that are still popular today, including jumping jacks and push-ups.
In 1939, Burpees invented squat thrusts as part of an obstacle course he created for boys at a summer camp called Camp Burrumpa’nitsa (which means “Burrumpa’nitsa”). The purpose was not only to encourage physical activity among youth but also to discourage laziness by making them work hard for their food—or risk being forced into doing 100 burpees!
How to Do Burpees Safely
You’re probably doing burpees wrong, so let’s discuss how to do them correctly. The first thing is that you must always keep your back straight. If you do this correctly, it will help with strength and mobility later on in life. Additionally, if you have bad posture, you should focus on improving it—your body will thank you for it!
Secondly: don’t let your knees touch the ground! This might seem obvious, but I’m still surprised by how many people forget this simple rule (myself included).
Thirdly: don’t let your head touch the ground! Duh again? Win out over good form here! But seriously—it takes practice not to let yourself fall forward during this exercise because when doing burpees fast enough (or trying hard), our bodies tend toward decreasing forward instead of backward due to inertia—so try not letting gravity.
How to make it more challenging
You can make burpees more challenging using a medicine ball instead of a dumbbell. And instead of using your body weight for resistance, you can also use a barbell or kettlebell.
Medicine balls are available in different weights and sizes. You can purchase one for between 5 and 30 pounds in the $10 to $40 range at most sporting goods stores or online fitness retailers like Amazon (and you’ll probably see them on sale there too). If you’re starting, get something on the lighter end; as your strength improves, move up to heavier weights until you find one that fits your workout style.
WHY SHOULD YOU DO BURPEES EVERY DAY?
Burpees are a great way to start your day. Not only are they good for your heart, but they also help with burning fat and sculpting muscle. They can be done anywhere, so there’s no excuse not to do them.
You will work for multiple muscle groups.
The move is a full-body exercise that works for multiple muscle groups simultaneously. Burpees will also perform on the arms, shoulders, core, and legs. You can do them anywhere, and they take only 30 seconds to complete—you’re working your entire body in a short time.
They work every part of your body.
Burpees are a full-body exercise. You’ll work every part of your body, from your arms to your core to your legs. That’s because they’re not only an excellent cardio workout but also a strength training exercise—the best of both worlds!
They burn mega calories, too. A 150-pound person can burn over 675 calories in just 30 minutes doing burpees.
Burpees are easily scalable for any fitness level; if you’re not quite ready for burpees yet, try jumping jacks instead! If you want to make them even harder, do them with weights (either dumbbells or Olympic plates) held at shoulder height or above. If you’re more advanced and looking for a challenge, try adding plyometric jumps into the mix—they’ll help build explosive power and speed that translates directly into better athletic performance!
Plus: All of this is customizable specifically for you. If you want to do fewer reps with heavier weights or more reps with lighter weights (or even no weights), go right ahead—that makes these exercises so effective!
Burpees burn mega calories.
A 150-pound person burns about one calorie per minute for a typical workout, ten calories per 10 minutes.
A person who does 500 burpees in one hour would burn about 5,000 calories in that time. That’s the equivalent of running a 7-minute mile pace for almost three hours straight!
To put this into perspective: If you weigh 150 pounds and have been doing low-intensity cardio workouts like walking on the treadmill or bike riding at an intensity level of 3 (as determined by your heart rate), then you burn around 100 calories per 30 minutes.
So to lose one pound of fat over seven days (if you do not change your diet), you have to burn 3500 total calories more than what you eat every week—or 7500 additional calories each week—just by increasing your exercise intensity from level 3 to level 8 during your workouts.
They’re easily scalable.
Burpees are easily scalable. You can adjust them to your fitness level, making them more or less difficult. You can perform burpees in a group or by yourself, at home or in the gym. And they’re a great way to warm up or cool down before or after a workout.
They boost heart rate quickly.
As you might have guessed, burpees are a full-body exercise. So if you want a quick way to get into shape (or stay in shape), try adding burpees into your routine! You’ll also be pushing your heart rate up quickly and keeping it there for some time. Not just the jumps that make this happen—your muscles will also work hard as they strain against gravity. This raises your heart rate and increases your oxygen consumption, which boosts metabolism and blood flow throughout the body (and yes, these things are all related).
They can be customized specifically for you.
Burpees are a great exercise to add to your routine because they can customize specifically for you. For example, if you’re worried about overloading the weight, decrease it or use a box so that the height of your jumps is lessened. You can also make burpees easier by not jumping or doing them on one leg instead of two.
If you want an extra challenge and some help with form, try adding weights as part of the movement—like holding dumbbells in each hand while doing burpees—or wearing ankle weights around your legs during each repetition of this exercise. This will keep those muscles working even when tired!
Convenient and versatile
Burpees are great for you because they’re a simple exercise that can be done anywhere. You don’t need any special equipment or even access to a gym—they can be performed at home, in your backyard, or anywhere else where there is enough room for your feet to land on the ground. And if you don’t like working out alone, burpees can be done with a friend!
This versatility makes them a wonderful choice as part of your warm-up routine before more intense workouts. They also make an excellent choice as part of cool-down exercises after more rigorous training sessions. Finally, athletes often use burpees who want something short but effective after their main workout.
The Last Word on Burpees
So, are you ready to try the burpee? It’s a great way to speed up your heart rate and burn calories. Plus, it’s easy to do anywhere—no fancy equipment required!
It might take some time before you can perform perfect burpees every time, but don’t give up on them. Keep practicing until they feel natural and comfortable before moving on to more advanced exercises like squats or lunges. Remember that this move has many variations; try different ones until one works best for you.