The Benefits Of Doing Burpees
Written By Bryce Smith
This may be the first article ever written that is NOT hating on the burpee. Just kidding!
Tons of health experts are recognizing the benefits of doing burpees and the simplicity of the movement makes it easy to implement into just about anyone’s strength and conditioning program. Let’s cut the nonsense and dig deep into the burpee for a bit.
Are you ever going to fail a burpee? The answer is no. They may get ugly or a bit sloppy at times, but falling down and getting up takes very little skill. I prefer to think of burpees as “fall down get ups.” They are the perfect analogy for life – you get knocked down by a challenge and you find a way to get back up and continue moving forward. Because of this, burpees are the perfect character building movement.
With a burpee, you may start by jumping your feet back, kissing your chest to the floor, pushing up off the ground while snapping your feet forward toward your hands and then jumping and clapping. But you can always simplify it by stepping back, touching the chest to the deck, stepping forward, and reaching overhead. This movement is incredibly beneficial for those that struggle with push-ups and core stability.
Burpees are a full body workout and they help you gain strength in the entire body. With each repetition, you will work your arms, chest, quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, and core. With some volume accumulation, burpees will have your arms and legs shaking and feeling like wet noodles. Burpees significantly differ from isolation exercises like bicep curls and tricep extensions as they train the whole body as one kinetic chain. You get more bang for your buck and burn more calories in less time while doing burpees at high intensity.
Burpees require no equipment and you can literally do them anywhere. If you cannot make it into the gym, you are traveling, the hotel does not have a gym, or you are stuck outdoors, you can always do burpees. They are an easy movement to perform where nothing more than your body is required. They give you no excuse to not workout.
Burpees will also help improve your conditioning and respiratory endurance quickly for those with either body composition or basic performance goals. For those training for specific sports, they’ll find burpees beneficial as well. I have used burpees to train basketball players simulating having to pop back to your feet after diving for a loose ball and with soccer athletes having to get up quickly after a collision or after a shot on goal. I have also used burpees to train volleyball athletes popping up after a dig and with baseball athletes to quickly get to their feet after fielding a grounder, and with surfers practicing a quick transition from the paddle phase to the standing phase.
Burpees are dynamic and fast paced and can be a great addition to any training session. The rapid flexion and extension of the hips makes it awesome for learning force production from core to extremity. If you are pressed for time, burpees are a great movement to leave you feeling gassed and winded in a short amount of time. Tossing them into a tabata interval or attacking the hundred burpee challenge are both great ways to add intensity to your workouts.
No matter what your goals are, burpees can have a positive effect on your fitness not just physically but mentally. The constant repetition and frustration of the movement builds character and perseverance. It teaches you to keep going during even the toughest of times.