Simple Effective Burpees
Love them or hate them, burpees are one of the most diverse and efficient full-body exercises you can do, and including them in your workouts regularly will help you get stronger, fitter and faster. If you’re not a fan of burpees, don’t feel alone. They are pretty intense!
Burpees combine push-up and squat jumps, with a return to standing in between each rep, into one whole-body movement. Just one simple movement challenges the muscles in your chest, arms, thighs, hamstrings, and abs. And because you’re using your full body when doing burpees, it’s one of the best exercises to burn fat.
Strength – Burpees will help you to improve your overall strength.
Conditioning – Because it targets a number of muscle groups, muscle tone will improve in most parts of our body.
Endurance – Burpees are remarkably effective for increasing your cardiovascular- and musclular endurance as they are a combo of resistance and cardio work. The trigger both aerobic and anaerobic responses, which is why they’re so effective for increasing your workout capacity.
Fat Loss – Due to their stop-start nature, burpees fall into the HIIT category. HIIT is short for high-intensity interval training, and has been proven to be a very effective way to burn fat. Burpees use a significant amount of energy, and will continue to do so after you finish your session.
Flexibility – It is an effective way of increasing flexibility in the back, hips, legs, and core.
Speed – Burpees are so evil because they rely on you doing them at a reasonably fast pace. If you do it slowly, you won’t reap the benefits you would if you were to do them quickly. Push yourself and time your burpee workout, then try to do it a bit faster at your next session!
How to do a burpee
Warm up before starting your burpee routine, as all your muscles will take a beating, and you don’t want to be sidelined by an injury!
Stand straight, then lower into a squat position with your hands on the floor in front of you.
Kick your feet back into a push-up position and immediately drop your chest to the floor.
Bow your chest up as you return your feet back to the squat position as fast as possible.
Jump up into the air as high as you can.
Clap your hands at the top of the jump to add some pizazz!
Modifications for shoulder, knee and back problems
If you have knee, shoulder or back issues, full-on burpees may be too much, but there are ways to modify them, so you can do them and still get the most benefit from the exercise.
For starters, stepping, rather than flinging, your feet back is a great way to to reduce the load on your knees.
Place your hands on a platform (I prefer an upside-down Bosu) to reduce the range of motion, and start your burpee from there. This is especially effective for shoulder and lower back issues.
Also try doing burpees by a wall for knee and shoulder issues. Squat down, stand up, and do a push-up against a wall.
Try the following if a standard burpee does not challenge you anymore.
Drop down to the squat position and place your hands on the floor outside your feet. Jump your feet back so you’re at the top of the push-up position, then back to between your hands. Powerfully jump forwards as far as you can, swinging your arms by your side for momentum. As you land continue into the next rep.
Stand holding a dumbbell in each hand by your side. Drop down, placing the dumbbells on the floor outside of your feet. Keep holding them as you jump your feet back so you’re at the top of a push-up position. Brace your core to keep your hips static and row a dumbbell up towards your armpit on one side and back to the floor, then on the other side. Jump your feet back to between your hands and, holding the dumbbells, drive up through your heels to jump off the floor with the weights by your side.
By Letitia Kleynhans