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The Burpee

The burpee is the perfect character building exercise. Whether you love them, hate them or love to hate them, they remain one of the most effective whole-body, functional exercises that you can do. There is no doubt that burpees are a tough exercise. The burpee calls on just about every major muscle group, so every part of you is working hard to do just one rep. Burpees are dynamic and fast paced and can be a great addition to any training session. Including them into your workouts regularly will get you fitter and stronger in no time.

There are 6 movements involved in performing the movement:

  1. From the standing position, bend over or squat down and place your hands on the floor in front of you, just outside of your feet.   
  2. Jump both feet back so that you are now in the plank position.
  3. Drop into the down phase of a push-up. You can also do this on your knees to make it easier here.
  4. Push up to return to the plank position.
  5. Jump feet back in towards your hands.
  6. Explosively jump into the air, reaching your arms straight overhead. 

Six reasons to add burpees to your next workout:

  1. They work your entire body – You’ll work your arms, chest, quads, core, hamstrings and glutes all at the same time – and burn more calories in less time while doing them. Intensifying the workout by performing them quickly will burn even more calories and give you a cardiovascular workout that gets you fitter and stronger.
  2. You can do them anywhere – A little space is all you need. Your bodyweight will be enough to give you a tough, effective workout! Travelling, no access to a gym and being stuck indoors are no excuse not to workout.
  3. They will get you stronger – Burpees will help to improve the overall strength of your body. They are the ultimate of functional exercises. They not only help meet your weight loss and fitness goals; they also help you perform better during everyday activities like carrying groceries, lifting a suitcase over your head in an airplane or playing with your children at the playground.
  4. They increase your endurance – Burpees are remarkably effective for increasing your cardio endurance and your muscular endurance. Burpees are a combination of resistance and cardio work, meaning they trigger both aerobic and anaerobic responses from the body, which is why they are so effective for increasing your workout capacity.
  5. They are a great addition to any workout – Dynamic and fast-paced, and with dozens of variations to try out, burpees can never be boring. Mix up your burpees to keep your workouts challenging.
  6. They burn mega calories – These babies will make your body a fat burning machine. Due to their stop-start nature, burpees fall into the HIIT (high-intensity interval training) category. Doing burpees will burn a significant amount of energy, and will continue to do so even after your workout has finished.

If you have never done a burpee before, the first burpee you ever do will be agony. They are exhausting. However, they are the best test of basic fitness around. Get the basic burpee technique down pat and then play with the countless variations of the burpee to mix things up.

Here are just a few variations of burpees you could try:

  • Basic Burpee: Start with these. These are a burpee without the pushup.
  • Burpee pull ups: Do a burpee in front of a pull up bar, then do a pull up, jumping or strict.
  • Burpee knee ups: Do a burpee in front of your dip station or a set of chairs, then do a knee up.
  • Burpee box jumps: Do a burpee in front of a box or a high surface you can jump on, then do a box jump.
  • Half Burpee: No push-up, no jump up. Stay in plank position, jumping the feet in and out only.
  • Box Jump Burpee: Use a bench, table or box and set to a height you feel comfortable with. Instead of finishing the burpee with a squat jump, end the burpee with a box jump.
  • Box Jump Over Burpee: Same as box jump burpee except instead of jumping up onto the box, jump over the box, landing on the other side of the box.
  • Candlestick Burpee: To do a candlestick by rolling back and pushing toes to the sky. Use core to then roll forward and place hands in front of you. Complete the burpee like normal.
  • Twister Burpee: Complete a burpee, at the jump stage at the end, complete a 180 degree turn and go straight into the next rep.
  • Donkey Kick Burpee: Instead of a push-up, complete a solid donkey kick jump. Land softly and jump to the sky as high as possible before repeating.
  • Barbell Lateral Jump Burpee: Stand beside a barbell with weights on it for height. At the end of a normal burpee, jump laterally over the barbell and quickly go straight into the next rep.
  • Lunge Jump Burpee: The burpee stays the same, all the way through. After finishing with the squat jump, complete a lunge jump on each leg.
  • 1 Leg Burpee: Complete the entire burpee on one leg.
  • Tuck Jump Burpee: At the end of the burpee, jump up while pulling your knees up as high as possible into the tuck position.
  • Travelling Burpee: At the end of a burpee, jump up and out as far as possible.
  • Star Jump Burpee: At the end of a burpee, complete an explosive star jump.
  • Plyo Push-Up Burpee: When you get the push-up part of a burpee push-up by adding a clap.
  • Mountain Climber Burpee: Go through the standard burpee first steps. When you get to the top position of the push-up, perform a mountain climber, alternating the legs twice each side. Return to the start position of the push up before completing the burpee.
  • Medicine Ball Burpee: Using a medicine ball, perform a regular burpee holding the ball. Perform the push-up of the exercise with your hands on the ball. During the jump, jump as you would with the regular burpee, bringing the ball overhead.

So when your searching for an exercise to do when you have very little time, when you are on holidays and don’t want to carry equipment with you or you cannot get out to do your normal exercise routine but you want to keep your fitness up so you don’t lose all the hard work you have done, just think about the humble burpee. It will keep you in shape like no other exercise can.

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