burpee (bur-pee): noun
a. conditioning hell
b. a combination of throwing your face on the floor and a movement that makes your arms feel like such a wimp that your legs have to help
c. the ability to taste breakfast at lunch . . . again
There a lot of shit talking going around about the burpee. Quite frankly I feel bad for the guy.
First there’s people out there who hate them. Cuss at them and wear shirts that say “Buck Furpees” on it. We’re not dumb. We know what that means.
Then there’s people who think burpees are only things people that take CrossFit do.
Then there’s people who say burpees are over-used and not good training tactics.
Honestly it doesn’t matter who says what. Burpees are a huge part of any fitness program, and I’m going to tell you why. . .
1.) The Form Of A Burpee
Yes, contrary to popular belief, burpees take form.
Step One: Stand in squat position. Bend down and place your hands inside of your feet.
Step Two: Softly jump your feet backwards and place your chest in between your thumbs as if you were in push-up form.
Step Three: Pick your toes off the ground to make sure you are laying completely on the ground. Burpees are not push-ups.
Step Four: With your gut and your arms, explode up into a soft landing to where your feet go around your hands like ‘Step One’.
Step Five: Use your legs to stand up.
Step Six: Back flip.
2.) The breakdown of the burpee is quite impressive. Most often in a class setting, I call it the “most powerful crunch in the world”. Think about it. . .
When you lay down and you’re attempting to power your feet all the way into your hands, your torso preforms an abdominal motion that puts any floor exercise to shame.
So when I get a newbie that asks, ‘What does this work?’, I always throw in the abdominal card. Because it’s true.
3.) It’s the shrimp of exercises.
If Forrest Gump can think of 100 ways to use shrimp, I can think of 100 ways to use burpees.
Burpee Pull-Ups. Burpee Box Jumps. Burpee Broad Jumps. Burpee Dead Lifts. Burpee Ball Slams. Burpee Clean and Press. Slalom Burpees. Burpee Races. Burpee Knee Tucks. . .
4.) Burpee Myths
A.) They’re destructive.
I can see how an exercise that causes impact and hip flexion over and over can be destructive, but not if done right. As aforementioned, if you jump in all the way to your hands, you leave yourself in a position to land in squat stance.
When describing the plyometrics of a burpee, pretend like your in a dark room. You can’t see yourself. You don’t want to hear yourself either. Land soft.
B.) People overuse them.
How can you overuse a conditioning exercise that involves practically every muscle in the body, elevates your heart rate, and practices great mobility.
I’ve heard other trainers call other trainers lazy for using these too much. Quite frankly, I think it’s lazy if you don’t use them and want to teach your clients the proper form and benefits of a superb exercise.
C.) The make you lose muscle.
If I trained bodybuilders, I’d put them through burpee intervals in a heartbeat over slow walks on the treadmill. In fact, putting yourself under metabolic stress, then training a heavy squat set will build more muscle and strength than not. What better way to do that than a burpee.
D.) They make your balls shrink.
People will say anything these days to make you not do burpees.
5.) It’s one hell of a warm-up.
Burpees can help warm up your hips, knees, ankles, shoulders, core, mind, legs, and chest. Practice good range of motion in your hips and shoulders.
All in all, you have to think of a burpee as the Optimus Prime of exercises.
- It helps in mobility and range of motions.
- It’s one of the ultimate conditioning tools and utilizes most every muscle in the human body.
- They never seem to get easier no matter how many you do.
- Burpees are the ultimate mental tool. Nothing teaches you how to push through a set than burpees.
Don’t be fooled by the funny name. They’re a game changer.
This is where your body changes,