Every gym-goer keeps a mental log of their favorite as well as least favorite exercises and, in certain cases, a particular move will wind up on both lists. Confused? Don’t be, because we’re talking about burpees. As grueling as they are, burpees also build strength, boost cardiovascular fitness, and improve balance while targeting every part of your body. The burning in your legs and lungs is a relatively small price to pay.
Simply knowing the exercise is beneficial doesn’t do much good if you can’t figure out a way to incorporate it into a routine, though. Going with a structured workout takes away the guesswork and also ensures you’ll really challenge yourself when you might otherwise be tempted to back off, which means you’ll score more metabolism-boosting benefits. And because they don’t require any equipment, you can include burpees in a bodyweight routine just as easily as one that involves weights at the gym.
Since everyone’s fitness level, time constraints, and equipment access vary, we’ve rounded up routines to meet just about every need. Try one of these five workouts to kick your metabolism into fat-burning mode.
1. The New Dad Workout
Though Men’s Health designed this workout with new fathers in mind, it’s the perfect routine for anyone who doesn’t have time to make it to the gym. It’s also remarkably simple because the entire 15-minute workout is composed entirely of burpees. Rather than attempting to perform the exercise nonstop for the allotted time, you’ll perform a specific number of repetitions every minute, depending on your fitness level. The remaining time before the next minute starts is your rest.
Since this workout is so bare bones, form is more important than ever. Don’t feel embarrassed if you need to start at the lowest level because you’re much better off performing six perfect burpees than 12 terrible ones. Check out this tutorial from Greatist if you need some pointers.
2. 100 Burpees Workout Challenge
Another all-burpee workout, this routine from Fitness Blender provides a bit more variety for those who can’t stand the thought of doing the same move for 15 straight minutes. While you will perform 100 burpees, you’ll switch to a different variation every 10 repetitions. After each 10-rep set, you’ll rest for 25 seconds before heading right into the next round. Those who are in phenomenal shape will want to shorten this segment, though.
As with all interval workouts, the effectiveness is determined by your effort. That being said, the story also recommended limiting yourself to a maximum of four HIIT sessions per week. Without adequate recovery, you’ll just end up overtrained or injured.
3. The Burpee Blast
For those who are already burpee pros, it’s time to increase the intensity by using push-up burpees instead. The concept is simple. Perform a burpee as usual, but complete a push-up after you hop back into a plank position. Muscle & Fitness has a seriously tough workout that alternates this variation with strength-training moves like squats, kettlebell swings, and tricep dips. You should move through the workout as fast as possible, but not at the expense of correct form.
4. The Bedroom Bodyweight Workout
While most hotel fitness centers have come a long way in the last decade or so, there’s never a guarantee you’ll have access to all your usual equipment. This is why every health-conscious jet setter should have a few bodyweight workouts committed to memory. Consider this nine-move circuit from STACK you newest addition.
The workout itself is divided into three different circuits of three exercises each. You’ll complete the prescribed number of repetitions for each move before going directly into the next. Once you’ve completed all three moves in a circuit, you’ll rest for 30 seconds before repeating the process two more times. Give yourself a full minute of rest before transitioning into the next circuit.
5. Advanced Metabolic Conditioning Circuit
Another one for seasoned gym buffs, this circuit from BuiltLean ups intensity by adding a set of dumbbells to a push-up burpee. This small change will make the move significantly more difficult. You’ll also do mountain climbers and double unders with a standard jump rope. Because this workout is designed to maximize your burn in a tiny amount of time, you don’t get any rest between exercises. After completing one round, take a two-minute breather, then repeat the circuit at least two more times.
Follow Christine on Twitter @christineskopec