why everyone should be able to do burpees

There comes a point in most cardio classes where physiotherapists send you a load of burpees. Sometimes they come to the end of the warm-up, sometimes they will be part of a circuit. Often times they feature in the finisher – at that point you are in pure survival mode after battling for a 40 minute workout.

Burpees are tough. In fact, they are probably the most difficult bodyweight exercise. Push-ups are tough, sure, but burpees combine that pushing motion with explosive movement, both to take off and to jump at the end.

But there’s no reason you can’t build up your cardiovascular strength and endurance to nail burpees once and for all. If you’re struggling to do more than a couple in a row without needing to take a breather, now is a great time to work out and get to a place where you can do five, 10, or 20 reps.

We often wait until January to make resolutions or embark on new fitness challenges. That’s fine, but with the new year comes new waves of pressure. You need to cut out alcohol, increase the intake of vegetables, start a new fitness regimen, engage in new social plans. Everything becomes too much. That’s why at Strong Women, we make December the month to take on new fitness challenges. It’s about getting your house in order before the new year.

By working out things that you find difficult now, you’ll be in a better place to reach your goals in 2022, and because December tends to be a slow fitness month, there’s no pressure to go unnecessarily hard. .

Benefits of burpees – why bother nailing burpees?

The exercise was first developed by Royal Burpee, an exercise physiologist who used it to assess the fitness of college students in the 1930s. Here’s why it’s as useful today as it is. was at the time.

It’s a full body workout

If you’re short on time or want to build your overall strength quickly, compound moves like burpees are brilliant. By recruiting many different muscles, you can quickly improve your strength and endurance. Burpees work your quads, hamstrings, glutes, abs, biceps, pecs, and shoulders. You use almost all of your muscles to lay flat on the ground and get up before you leap into the air.

It’s so full, in fact, that a 2019 study published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport found that compared to sprinting, participants rated burpee exercises as more difficult. They also found that they produced more upper body fatigue (which is pretty obvious, given that sprinting involves lower body and core strength rather than actual upper body work).

Burpees improve cardiovascular fitness

Anyone who’s tried doing a few burpees in a row as part of a tour or finisher will know how breathtaking they can take your breath away. If you’re not comfortable with burpees, you’ll spend a few minutes trying to catch your breath at the end. This is because exercise forces your heart and lungs to work hard in order to provide energy to the muscles. If you can do 10 in a row without too much trouble, there’s a good chance you’ve got a pretty good cardiovascular cut.

In fact, they are such a good indicator of cardio fitness that they have become an international standard for measuring endurance. A 2019 study analyzed thousands of people and found that the average woman can do between 37 and 60 burpees in three minutes.

While no one in their right mind does three minutes of continuous burpees, it’s interesting on a lesser level; you want to aim for a minimum of 12 burpees in a minute.

While you can do them during any workout, burpees tend to be a part of HIIT workouts. “They’re usually programmed into HIIT sessions because you don’t have to do them for a long time to reap the rewards,” Coach F45 Amber Gamble said previously Stylist.

“A few 30-second laps can be enough for a person’s average heart rate to reach its highest zone, which will help optimize performance as you train your heart to maintain or improve its maximum threshold.”

We know that HIIT, in moderation, can be good for us: a study Posted in PloS A found that people who did just 30 minutes of HIIT each week improved their fitness and muscle function just as much as those who did 150 minutes of regular, moderate-intensity exercise. Get good at burpees and you might be able to save a lot of time.

they are practical

One of the biggest bonuses of the burpee is the fact that, like push-ups, they require no equipment and very little space. All you need is a mat and a decent sports bra. You could do a barefoot burpe, but given the explosive nature of the movement, proper support will keep you from developing back pain and chest pain.

How to do a burpee

We’re running a five-week Burpee Challenge on the Strong Women Training Club that will focus on improving your fitness level enough to pull off 20 consecutive burpees. Watch the program all the way and you’ll get closer to the top end of that middle window.

Coach Dottie Fildes will share her tips for doing the perfect burpee (keep your eyes peeled on our Instagram page), but in the meantime, here’s how to do a burpee correctly:

  1. Place your hands on the ground and jump or back up to a high plank position.
  2. With control, lower your body to the floor.
  3. Use upper body and core strength to push up to a high plank.
  4. Jump your feet towards your hands.
  5. Raise your body to stand while jumping or walking.

Still find your feet with burpees? Slow down the movement, remove the jump, and if you’re not yet ready for chest-to-floor action, keep your chest off the floor. A half burpee involves getting into that high plank position and standing up.

Join us for the five-week burpee challenge, led by PT expert Dottie Fildes, on the Strong Women Training Club. A new course will be put online every Wednesday from December 1st.

Images: Getty



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Richard V. Johnson