There’s a reason soldiers and athletes use burpees to train. Developed in the 1930s, the purpose of Mr. Burpee’s (that truly was his name) squat-thrusting super-move was as a fitness test for his doctoral physiology thesis. It was later used by the military to quickly assess agility, strength and coordination. If you could do 41 burpees in a minute, you were in. Those coming in at 27 per minute, however, indicated a poor fitness level.
It’s crucial that you do this exercise with proper form. The basic burpee starts off in a squat position, hands on the ground. You then kick your feet back, bringing your body into a plank position while keeping your arms extended. Next, jump your feet back to the squat position and jump up from that squat position. Once you’ve mastered it you can get creative – add dumbbells or kettlebells or throw in a Swiss ball for instability. Skater burpees, crawling burpees, rotating mountain climber burpees… the variations are endless and are a great way to sprinkle some extra benefits into your routine.
Anyone who has performed a series of burpees will know fatigue sets in extremely quickly, especially if you incorporate other movements such as push-ups into the moves. It’s for this reason that we fear them so much – but there are many reasons to do burpees. They’re the go-to move for anyone serious about getting into shape and here are just a few reasons why.
With push-ups and squats incorporated into this explosive exercise, burpees hit almost every muscle group in just a few steps. They work wonders for building muscular bulk and pure strength in the legs, glutes, core, shoulders and arms. Since the whole body is working in this aerobic-resistance training, you’ll improve your skeletal muscle endurance and cardiovascular fitness as a result.
The heart-rate revving move also revs up something else – your metabolism. Due to the intensity of the exercises, the high respiratory rate and number of muscles activated, burpees result in serious metabolic and cardiovascular spikes, helping you torch calories and fat and speeding up weight loss.
Functional movement is at the heart of EVO’s training philosophy – and one of the brilliant benefits of no-equipment exercises is the ability to perform them anywhere. Whether you’re in a hotel room, at the beach, or in the gym, burpees can be adapted to your environment without taking up much room. Even short bouts of this exercise can sustain your general fitness level, so being stuck at home is no excuse to not get fit.
This power-move can massively improve the health of your heart and lungs. You can do up to 15 burpees in a 30-second period – this short time span means the cardio benefits of burpees are on par with cycling. While they can be difficult to perform at first, you’ll find you’re able to perform more of them over time because your body will be able to use oxygen more efficiently (i.e. improving anaerobic capacity). Every workout you do will get easier when you regularly perform burpees.