Burpees are the new black, and if you happen to know somebody doing CrossFit (who doesn’t?) you also know how tough they are and how much crossfitters love to hate them.
However, there are many reasons why you should include them in your workout. Let me present to you eight benefits of burpees and also give you 2 workouts where they are included.
First, please have a look at how to do them properly.
In this video, I do them slowly. And if you look in the top right corner you will see a scaled version.
There are other ways to scale them, like “Squat Thrusters” & “Half Burpees“, but to be honest you don’t get half of the benefits out of them as you do with the real burpees. Therefore, do them correctly, and if needed, slow them down like I showed in the video.
Key points to be aware of:
Stand straight, then lower into a squat position with your hands on the floor in front of you. Try to keep the whole foot on the ground.
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 a couple of inches from the floor.
Faster version – don’t do this unless you are strong and in good condition.
Stand straight, and then lower into a squat position. But before reaching the bottom position, kick your feet back to reach a push-up position. The rest is the same.
Now that we have understood how to do them correctly and also felt how tough they are, let’s look at the benefits of burpees.
1: They are functional movements
The definition of a functional movement is that they are natural. It’s not an isolated movement that we only do when working out.
A bicep curl is an isolated movement and a squat is a functional movement. We naturally squat all the time and it’s useful for our daily life activities. For burpees, we can split it into three natural movements. 1) Getting up from the floor with the push-up movement. 2) Rising with the squat movement. 3) Jumping.
2: They utilize most muscles in your body
Another hallmark of functional movements is that they use many muscles and joints. The benefit is obvious. We get a much more complex workout than just working a few muscles at the time. This is probably one of the biggest benefits of burpees.
3: They can boost your condition without having to do long workouts
Burpees will get your pulse up fast, thanks to the many muscles involved in the exercise. This also means that they are excellent for High-intensity Interval Training (HIIT), which is the most efficient way to improve your condition. For details, please read my article “High-intensity workouts or waste of time”.
4: They will help you burn calories long after your workout is done
As we normally do burpees in a HIIT way, we will get all the benefits from this form of training. One of them is the afterburn. Basically, what it means is that your metabolism will stay high many hours after the workout – this is due to EPOC
5: Burpees are mostly anaerobic training
In the 70s, we all learned to do aerobics in pink tights 🙂 Aerobic training was what everybody was doing. Burpees are mostly done in an anaerobic way, especially if we do them in an HIIT style. So what’s the different?
Well, aerobic sessions are longer and the main energy is oxygen. Therefore, it is aerobic training. Anaerobic training is shorter sessions with explosive/sprint movements, and it uses the energy stored in your muscles. Anaerobic training and HIIT is related. Therefore, we also get the same benefits. As already mentioned, we boost our metabolism for hours. We boost our condition but we also develop muscles better with anaerobic training than with aerobic training. More muscles also mean higher metabolism.
6: Burpees helps to burn fat and especially belly fat
In relation to HIIT and anaerobic training, lately, studies have shown that this type of training helps to burn belly fat more efficiently than traditional long aerobic sessions.
7: Burpees can be done anywhere
You don’t need any special location or equipment to do burpees. Furthermore, you can get an efficient workout done in as little as 5 minutes.
8: Endless variations
There are no limitations on how to combine them with other exercises.