Metabolic Flexibility

Burpees: Love to Hate Them

If you’ve done them, chances are you love to hate them. That’s right, I’m talking about BURPEES. If you’ve taken my NTC Lincoln Park or Shred415 classes you know well by now that I LOVE to love them and I LOVE to do them! Does that make me crazy?! Maybe so…The very mention of them tends to garner eye rolls, groans of dread, evil eyes and straight up customer dissatisfaction. Luckily, I have really thick skin and don’t give a damn! It’s my class and that means that I’m in charge!!! HA!

Here is a quick break down as to why this move is so beneficial, how to do them at any level, and a quick set you can do to work off your boozy or carb-y weekend.

The ultimate full body exercise burpees have been implemented into workout routines for anyone from our troops (God bless ‘em) to elite athletes. This one exercise tests strength, endurance, and aerobic capabilities. With each rep you continually work your chest, arms, shoulders, legs and core. Trust, you’ll feel this burn almost immediately. In fact, due to the high intensity nature of burpees you’ll burn up to 50% more fat than conventional strength training, and because of this your metabolism continues to burn calories for hours post workout. It is so efficient and you really don’t need to have a lot of time on the clock to create this afterburn effect. That’s a lot of bang for your buck.

To do a burpee you don’t need weights, a gym, equipment or even a lot of space. All you need is you.

  • Begin in a squat position with hands on the floor in front of you.
  • Kick your feet back to a pushup position leaning into your shoulders.
  • Immediately return your feet to the squat position.
  • Jump up as high as possible from the squat position. Power up off your feet and let that burn shoot through the quads.

That’s it! The basic burpee. The key is to perform each rep quickly and one right after another in order to get the conditioning benefits this exercise is (in)famous for.

If you’re just starting out and need a modification, take out the leap or the jump and return to standing position. Push your hips as you stand up so that your glutes are fully engaged as you finish the rep and get ready to have at it again.

Totally a pro and looking to take things up a notch or two? Try these challenge moves to make the most out of your burpees!

Burpee with Chest Down: Perform the burpee normally, but after you kick out your feet to a push-up position, lower your chest to the ground and then push yourself back up. Sound like a push-up? It’s not, your hips will follow so the majority of your body will be on the floor right before you stand back up.

Burpee with Push Up: A step above the Chest Down. Do the burpee normally, but after you kick out your feet to a push-up position, add in the full push up.

Burpee with Spiderman Push Up: Again, a step above the push up. Do the burpee normally, but as you kick your feet back do a spiderman push up, bringing your right knee to your right elbow as you lower your chest to the ground. Bring your right leg back to an upright push up position and do the same with the left leg as you bring your chest to the ground. Yowza!

Burpee with Pull Up: Stand underneath a pull-up bar high enough that you have to jump to reach it. Perform a burpee normally, but when you leap up grab the bar and knock out the pull-up. Hold up, do you hear that?! That’s the sound of your fat crying.

Choose one of the variations above and do a DESCENDING workout beginning with 10 reps, taking a 60 second recovery, and then moving down to 9 reps, 8 reps, 7 reps, etc. Don’t give yourself more than 60 seconds of rest especially as you get down to the lower reps, it’s supposed to be hard.

Burpees are a total b*tch but they are so worth it and will not only make you stronger, but improve your abilities in all other facets of fitness. So what are you waiting for?! Drop and give me some.


One Comment

  1. Wow, most people avoid burpees and you have burpee variations! Nice. The burpee pull up is also a good one. Perform a burpee (pick your variation) and jump up to a pull up bar and perform a single rep pull up. The jump helps you perform the pull up so you can rep them out. There’s an added benefit that the less you jump, the more you have to pull so you don’t slack on the jumps!

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