Don’t misinterpret the headline, this article isn’t about an exercise that’s going to reduce unemployment rates, pay your mortgage and put your kids through college.
However, it is about how you can build strength, improve your conditioning and get an awesome workout with very little time or equipment.
The topic of discussion today is………THE BURPEE.
Now before you get all worked up, hear me out.
I fully agree that burpees ABSOLUTELY SUCK! But, I also can give respect where respect is due.
Any exercise that has such a bad reputation has got to have some benefits.
BENEFITS OF BURPEES
1. They burn a ton of calories – the burpee is the only exercise the takes the entire body from completely horizontal to completely vertical. This is a large range of motion that burns a boatload of calories.
2. Full body exercise – you use almost every muscle in your body when you do burpees making it a “one stop shop” for your fitness needs.
3. They mix well with everything – anytime you want to sprinkle a little conditioning into your workouts, you can always mix your strength exercises with burpees.
For example, if your doing 4 sets of 8 deadlifts, you can do 10 burpees after each set before taking your rest. This adds intensity to your training without making your workouts exponentially longer.
4. They can be done anywhere – the burpee really is a no excuse exercise. It doesn’t matter if you’re at home, at the gym, or in a Motel 6, you can always crank out a couple sets of burpees. It requires no equipment making it easy to do pretty much anywhere you want.
5. They can build strength – that’s right, burpees can be a great strength exercise if you know how to use it. Like any other exercise, once you add a little resistance you can start to build strength.
Simply by wearing a weight vest or using a pair of dumbbells, you can turn burpees into an awesome strength exercise.
6. They can improve your conditioning – we all know how gassed we get after doing a big set of burpees. This is what makes them such an effective conditioning exercise. Because this exercise is so intense, you don’t need a lot of time to get a great conditioning workout.
As you can see, there are many reasons to keep this dreadful exercise in your repertoire.
Now, in order to fully reap the benefits of this exercise, you need to make sure you’re technique is smooth and efficient.
1. Bend down and place your hands on the floor and quickly kick your legs back so you are in a plank position.
2. Lower yourself so your chest and hips are in contact with the floor. Think “stop, drop, and roll” rather than doing an eccentric pushup.
3. Lift your chest off the floor and then lift your hips and explosively bring your knees in towards your hands.
4. Explode off the ground and reach your arms above your head to fully extend your body.
Check out the video below to see what a proper burpee looks like in slow motion.
1. Standard burpee – you can never go wrong with the classic burpee. Like I said earlier, it’s a no excuse exercise that mixes well with almost anything.
Here’s a quick and effective workout:
Every minute on the minute for 10 minutes:
Give this a try and if it isn’t that challenging, you can increase your reps to 12 or 14.
2. Burpee/Box Jumps – this will put a little more emphasis on explosive power rather than pure conditioning. Try to be as fluid as possible when transitioning from the burpee to the box jump.
Keep the reps a little lower and focus on being explosive.
Try 5 sets of 8 with 20-24″ box with 60-90sec rest between sets.
3. Weighted Vest Burpees – this will challenge both your upper and lower body. The added resistance will make this a great workout for building both strength and power.
They key thing to remember is you want to jump as high as possible to get the most out of each rep.
Try 5 sets of 8 reps with 60-90sec rest between sets.
4. Dumbbell Burpees – there are two ways you can use dumbbells to intensify your burpees.
The first way is to use lighter dumbbells that you can explosively jump with while holding them in your hands.
The second is to use heavier dumbells and perform a deadlift at the top of the movement.
The first method will be more metabolic and focus on power and the second method will be slower but have a greater strength focus.
With lighter dumbbells (15-30lbs), try 5 sets of 8-10 reps with 60-90 sec rest between.
With heavier dumbbells (50-75lb), try 5 sets of 6-8 reps with 90 sec -2 min rest between.
Whether you’re looking to build strength, burn some fat, or intensify your workouts, you can’t lose with burpees. There’s no need to make your training more complicated than it needs to be. Stick to the basics and use what’s always worked.
Like it or not, burpees are here to stay!
P.S. If you want more great training and nutrition tips, don’t forget to get a copy of the Strength and Conditioning Guide below.
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