Burpees: The most sassy way up to your fitness
OKAY, let me make a guess. About why you chose to read this post.
You’re either that person who has always dreaded or hated doing burpees, or one who’s probably thinking it’s an endearment to the word, ‘burp‘. Or even possibly wondering if it’s an exercise that induces burps (since I posted this in the ‘Fitness’ category). If you’re the latter one, give me a hi-fi! Because, exactly 5 years ago, I actually thought so. 😉
What the heck is a Burpee?
A Burpee is a 4-STEP high-intensity workout which is directed towards strength-building, acceleration of metabolism & overall muscular endurance. Each burpee is a 4-STEP constitution of body movements. So, it’s NOT a 4-REPITITIONS exercise.
The word, ‘burpee’, which is so fancy-sounding, was coined by its physiologist inventor Dr. Royal Burpee. Burpees were first devised by him as a litmus test for the recruitment of new soldiers into the U.S. military forces during the World War II. So, before you can realize why he conceived this as a ‘test’ for potential soldiers, you need to know how it’s done.
How do you do a burpee?
Well, that’s how a simple burpee is performed.
- Stand straight on the floor.
- Bend down with back straight for the squat position.
- Land with your hands on the floor in front of your feet.
- Kick your legs backward for the straight-hand plank.
- Perform 1 push-up.
- Rise from the plank position again.
- Jump to put your feet forward to retract into a squat again.
- Jump back from the floor up high.
You do that on a loop to finish a certain number of such repititions/sets of burpees.
That’s how you deduce a burpee to a (PUSH-UP + VERTICAL JUMP + SQUAT).
Easier said than done, huh?
Like there’s always a first-time, which is apparently difficult, you can always pull it off, no matter what. I personally found my first time very challenging & overwhelming, because I did not consider warming up with a lighter exercise before trying the burpee. And eventually, that workout session ended up in cramps along my calves & thighs. I did them at a pace so fast, something which only the seasoned athletes or trainers would be comfortable with. BIG MISTAKE! I remember, I weighed around 68kgs then.
Burpees are an intense form of a BODY-WEIGHT EXERCISE regimen. That’s because you use no other equipment but you own body weight to lift through out the session.
Now, here’s a tiny check-list to know if you’re fit enough to do burpees:
- You’re an adult.
- You’re NOT suffering from any form of cardiovascular ailments, hypertension (high blood pressure) or epilepsy.
So, what do you get out of burpees?
Increased & Improved metabolism
Doing burpees in a row is quite similar to performing cardio activities such as cycling & running. However, 1 good session of burpees can burn more calories (& upto more than 50% more fat) than the latter activities. In fact, burpees render you the after-burn effect, i.e., your body enters the fat-burning mode & remains so even after a long time has elapsed after finishing your burpee session.
That means you become more flexible & quick in your body movements, which is an essential milestone to fitness & a healthy lifestyle.
Improved Cardiovascular health
As burpees very well simulate the cardiovascular pattern of workout, they certainly push you beyond your physical boundaries & thus improve the capacity of your lungs & heart.
Burpees are an excellent example of strength training that comes with the significant positions in each single round. The plank position helps strengthen the core muscles. Not just that, the squat positions enhance the strength of your calves & thigh muscles. Hence, that’s altogether a booster of your endurance & helps you gain lean muscle too. To be precise, burpees ensure a full body workout without any investment into an equipment.
NO WONDER why burpees are a fitness enthusiast’s muse or a favorite amongst the armed forces.
The DON’TS of a burpee you MUST know
NO warmups with a burpee
Burpees are ideal after your warmup sessions as a lot of your stamina goes into them. You can never hope to finish your workout session properly if you start with burpees. If done during a warmup, burpees are bound to exhaust you big time & may end up in muscle cramps & joint pains.
You always need to remember that your muscles need to be trained to endure the right stress over time & this is a pretty gradual process. Nevertheless, no matter how long you’ve been through with practicing burpees on a daily basis, warming up with them is never a good idea.
Only Straight backs!
ALWAYS keep your back straight while performing the squat or the jump in a burpee. If you arch your back during something as vigorous as a burpee, you add unnecessary stress over your spine, which is likely to develop into a back pain. Moreover, you aren’t giving enough scope to your abdominal muscles to ‘feel’ the right amount of thrust over them. So you end up doing it wrong & tend to blame it on the workout method instead! NOT FAIR, RIGHT?
Pushing yourself beyond your limits
Like I already stressed that burpees are an intense form of cardio workout, it requires a considerable amount of time for your body to adapt to its dynamics.
Pushing yourself to a number of repititions or pace of doing it, which is beyond your capacity would be utterly wrong. This may lead to hyperventilation & crazy cramps! And chances of you swearing NEVER to do them again! However, you’d soon realize that with time, you would eventually increase your capacity. Just like you get used to performing a certain number of Suryanamaskara rounds. This is unarguably true for every kind of exercise.
Personally, I see burpees as the perfect synopsis of life. WHY?
BECAUSE, you’re first steady, then fall & with your grit, rise with a lot of effort. All to stand over your feet again. Isn’t this a beautiful metaphor?
There are a few very popular variants of burpees which worked amazingly for me in terms of fat burning & strength building too. I’d post about them very soon.
If you’ve been someone in love with burpees as an integral part of your daily workout, do share your experience in the comments. I’d also love it if you could compare it with the other forms of strength building techniques. And if you’re really eager to try it out after reading this post, I’d love a dose of excitement from you too!