It’s the exercise everyone loves to hate. Buck Furpees, as the not-so-elegant saying goes. Burpees are a simple, straightforward movement. Drop down to the ground in a pushup position, chest and thighs to the floor. Get back up to a standing position in the most efficient, fastest way possible. Jump a few inches in the air with your arms over your head. Repeat. Nothing flashy, nothing complicated. So why all the hate? In my opinion, burpees have been given an unjust reputation. The benefits far outweigh the discomforts. So, to get out in front of the infamous exercise, here are 5 reasons we should learn to love the burpee.
1. The burpee is simple.
I already alluded to this above, but it’s worth some extra reinforcement. No bars, no weights (unless you wanted to wear a weighted vest…yikes), you can carry the burpee with you wherever you go. The burpee is built on straightforward movement standards that a massive range of people can do, and its simple to scale for those who don’t have it yet. Exercise in its purest form, people.
2. Burpees ARE functional fitness.
Can you think of a major muscle group that isn’t utilized in the execution of a burpee? Your arms, chest, quads, glutes, hamstrings, and abs will all be called into action with every rep, and after a few of the suckers you’re body is going to start feeling like lead. Given that you are required to use your entire body weight to hit a burpee, the movement can be defined as a high-load, high-rep (if programmed as such) exercise. Which is great news, because findings from the Journal of Strength and Conditioning has shown that high-rep and high-load exercises are effective at increasing muscular endurance.
3. Burpees will boost your anaerobic capacity.
Anaerobic is a word coming from the Greek word “αναερόβιος” which literally means living without air. Sound familiar? Anaerobic exercises are high intensity, short duration (1-2 minutes)-think of a 100m sprint. Now, if you are attacking your burpees with high intensity (easier said than done, I know), you will not only reap the benefits through muscular endurance (as mentioned above), but your lung capacity, heart health and ability to work faster/harder in a shorter amount of time will be significantly increased.
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4. Burpees are great for weight loss.
As has been mentioned numerous times, burpees are a full-body exercise, intense exercise that shoots your heart rate up, resulting in large caloric expenditure. In fact, burpees burn up to 50% more fat than conventional strength training, and better yet, they will increase your metabolism for the rest of the day, long after you’ve finished throwing up from them.
5. Burpees are versatile, and they make you think.
Burpee muscle-ups, burpee box jumps, burpee pull-ups, burpee toes-to-bar, burpee…the list goes on. And, you can combine them in with any workout that needs another piece of equipment. Any.
Lastly, the burpee really does make you think. In the midst of the lung-burning, acid-building, vomit-inducing burpee workout, your mind tends to wander and ask yourself just why exactly you are putting yourself through such misery. When you finally finish and get that post-WOD elation 30 minutes later, you have your answer. Over time, when you see the results in your performance and in your appearance, you’ll know for sure.
And, like me, you may just come to love the burpee.