Fitness buffs have their list of exercises they depend on, which include lifts that create muscle mass and definition. These include the bench press, squats, and deadlift. On their own, these few lifts can actually get you into really great shape, as long as they’re paired with a proper diet and sound sleeping schedule. But often times, they’re not enough. Auxiliary lifts and exercises are needed to truly get a well-rounded, full-body workout. There are tons of them out there, but one exercise that is often overlooked is one that you probably haven’t done since high school football practice: the burpee.
If your memory’s a little rusty, burpees are a sort of melding of three different exercises into one. You start off on the ground, move to the push-up position, then to your feet, and finish off with a jump in the air. It’s a push-up, up-down, and jump all rolled into one.
Those are your burpee basics. And though we’ve all likely done a burpee at some point in our lives, it’s one of those exercises you forget about. But it shouldn’t so quickly be cast aside as an afterthought — burpees are actually one of the most versatile exercises you can do. They provide numerous benefits, and if you’re looking for something that can add an extra dimension or degree of difficulty to your regimen, they may be perfect.
First things first, you’ll want to make sure you’re doing burpees correctly. There are several resources and video tutorials out there that can help you, so make use of them. But once you have it down, see when and where you can squeeze a few rounds of burpees into your workout. They may provide the additional kick you’ve needed. And if you’re still not convinced, here are five benefits burpees provide to help sway your mind.
Like jumping rope, burpees can be surprisingly tiring. It’s one of those exercises that you think will be more about the actual act of lifting yourself off the ground and toning muscle. But burpees will get your blood pumping, and toward the end of a set, you’ll be gasping for air and wondering just how high you really have to jump. If you hate running, and don’t want to sign up for a spin class, try burpees for a cardio workout. If you really want to crush some calories, go for speed — you’ll be panting on the floor before you know it.
2. Balance training
Many men don’t think much about balance training, but it’s an important and integral part of any workout regimen. When you lift, you’re actually doing a bit of balance training — by teaching your body to utilize all of your muscles symmetrically. Burpees are fantastic for balance training, as you obviously need to have some level of coordination to do them, or you’ll fall flat on your face. If you’re a bit clumsy, burpees may be a great exercise to work on your balance and coordination.
3. Full-body workout
We mentioned that burpees will deliver a killer cardio session, but they’ll also put nearly every muscle in your body to work. We’re talking a true, full-body workout; much in the same vein as swimming. Your lower body and legs will be put through the ringer during the jumping segment of a burpee, while your upper body and arms will need to get you off the ground. Again, you’re doing push-ups, up-downs, and jumps all in one.
4. No equipment required
One of the best aspects of burpees is that you don’t need any equipment to do them. No need for barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, or squat racks. At most, all you’ll need is a floor mat — and that really is up to you. You can do burpees on grass, or even in your living room. You might need a little space, but in terms of equipment and machinery? None needed.
Burpees can be done in a number of ways, and it’s the versatility that makes them such a great exercise. Want to focus on your lower body? Try incorporating two jumps in each rep. Upper body? Add in a couple of push-ups. Burpees are customizable, and depending on your goals, can be implemented in a number of different ways.