If you have never attempted a Squat-thrust or a Burpee in your life, then you have never experienced a real workout! Few moves can challenge the body to build both strength and stamina like the Burpee does. Perhaps, the Surya-namaskar in Yoga might come at par, but that move may prove insurmountable for those with limited flexibility. The great thing about Burpees is that there are simpler and advanced variations to condition the athletic capabilities of people of all age groups and fitness levels. The simplest version of a Burpee is the classic Squat-thrust, shown in the image above.
While the instructions to perform this one move might sound deceptively simple, it has the reputation to fill dread in the hearts of even the most seasoned athletes. No wonder Burpees are a regular part of the routine for the likes of MMA fighters to members of the elite Special Forces. They condition your emotional and physical resilience.
So quit holding yourself back and incorporate this one ‘simple’ move to introduce your body to what next level ‘high intensity’ really feels like. Do not be surprised if you find yourself swearing as your arms, abs and legs start burning. As much as everybody loves to hate this one exercise, no other move offers a greater sense of accomplishment. We promise, once you have mastered the Burpee, you will never go back because you will love the results!
The above image clearly breaks down the entire flow of this big movement. In case you are feeling intimidated, the following videos are worth your time to remove any confusion or guesswork concerning the execution of this exercise.
Fitness expert & martial artist, Dasha Libin Anderson, delineates the progression of a typical Burpee from start to finish while ensuring absolute safety. 6 minutes into the video, she describes a beginner version for the absolute de-conditioned self-starter to perform a low-impact version while also including a beginner level push-up.
The different ways to implement Burpees in a workout:
- As a warm-up:
The beginner versions of a Burpee like the squat-thrust which is basically a Burpee without a leap and the adaptation demonstrated by BJ Gaddour in the above video might be used as a warm up to open up the hips and lower back, markedly, before a leg or a back workout.
- As a cardio-burst interval in a strength training workout:
Whether you are doing a series of strength training exercises at the gym or just working your abs at home, wringing out ten Burpees out of your body after every set will intensify your workout to maximize fat-burn in minimum time. It will not only escalate your overall endurance, create a deeper fat burn in the body part you aim to tone, but also make you functionally strong enough to find daily manual chores less and less of a challenge.
- As a metabolic finisher:
Those who pump heavy iron for power and muscle size, normally shy away from cardio for fear of burning-off their precious ‘bulk’. A two to five minute metabolic circuit that includes plenty of Burpees, performed at the end of a heavy weight training session will leave the toughest bodybuilder in near barfing condition. On the plus side, it will generate a massive after-burn of fat deposits without depleting muscle mass. Over time, one might find themselves with sharper, clearer and more defined, aesthetic muscles.
- As a part of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) circuit:
High-intensity body weight circuits that include Burpees are the ideal equipment-free choice for fitness on the go and often opted by those who lack the time or accessibility to a gym for a workout. The following sample workout is a time efficient route to a full body burn. Even though you may modify the exercises to a low-impact version to suit your individual fitness level; you will find that attempting even a single round of the given exercises first thing in the morning; will leave you feeling great for the rest of the day.