What’s an equipment-free, total-body exercise that targets every muscle and gives you a cardio boost, too?
If you guessed burpees, you’d be right. Love them or hate them — or love to hate them — burpees are one of the most popular exercises around, appearing in CrossFit regimens and HIIT workouts around the world.
What makes burpees so tough (and so effective) is they’re a dynamic move that combines several exercises into one, targeting all your major muscle groups. If you want to burn fat and get in shape fast, there’s no other movement that will get you there as effectively as burpees can.
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Here are just a few reasons why burpees are the ultimate exercise, and why you should consider incorporating them into your fitness regime.
1. No Equipment Needed
No need for clunky equipment or a fancy gym membership for this move. All you need is a bit of room to perform a burpee, which means you can take this workout anywhere — to the park, on vacation and even on your lunch break. The act of squatting, jumping the legs out to a plank (push-up position), then back to a squat and up, only requires an area as tall as your body. To intensify any fitness routine, just add burpees.
Tip: Add burpees to your regular workout routine to increase intensity or as a warm-up.
2. Builds Strength
All that jumping, squatting and pushing requires strong muscles. Perform enough burpees, and you’ll start to feel the burn all over — from your legs, arms and shoulders right into your core. The best part? You can add burpee variations to target different muscles more effectively, and really sculpt your body from head to toe.
Tip: To improve strength while performing burpees, add a push-up each time you reach the plank position.
3. Gives An Endurance Boost
All that jumping up and down sure tuckers you out. The cardiovascular benefit of burpees is undeniable; you’ll be huffing and puffing by your fifth or sixth rep. If you’re training for a marathon, burpees can be your best friend, not only helping increase your aerobic performance, but building strength in key muscles for agility. There’s more to winning the race than just speed — so improve your endurance with burpees.
Tip: Add a set of sprints between a set of burpees for an intense endurance training exercise.
4. A Full-Body Workout (And Great For A Warm Up)
Many embrace burpees for the simple fact that they provide a full-body workout without having to think too much. Burpees engage the core, legs, arms, and chest while also building strength in each. It’s a workout that activates all areas of the body, for an easy way to quickly exercise every muscle, each and every day. Not to mention, burpees are a great place to start a workout routine, warming up all your muscles in one movement.
Tip: Add burpees to your regular workout routine to easily engage all muscle groups.
5. Endless Variations
What makes each set of burpees so great is you can easily modify them to suit your needs. Each set of reps can be intensified or changed up to add an interesting switch to the mix. To intensify the focus on the arms, just add a push-up at the plank. To get the heart rate up, try adding jumping jacks at the end. You are the master of your burpee destiny.
Tip: Change things up by adding motions to your burpees that correspond to your strength training — if you’re on arms, work the arms at the plank.
6. Blasts Fat
The more intense your exercise, the more fat you burn, and there’s no denying that burpees are seriously intense. With burpees you’ll blast through calories at a much higher rate, burning up to 50% more calories, on average, than moderate, steady-state exercise. Forget the elliptical — burpees are where it’s at.
Not only that, but because they build muscle, you can expect to see a boost in your metabolism that also makes weight loss much easier.
Tip: Get started in the early morning with a quick set of burpees for more energy throughout the day.
Why not blast calories, improve endurance, and build strength in the core all at the same time? Add some burpees to your regular workout routine for added intensity and the simplest full-body exercise.
Not convinced? Don’t worry. Here are five other full-body exercises to try instead.