Why Burpees Are Good For You

I still remember the shudder that went through the functional fitness community when the first workout for the 2012 CrossFit Games Open was released.

For those who actually did the seven-minute burpee AMRAP knows what I mean when I say the workout was a killer. Doing, 10, 20, even 30 burpees in the middle of the a WOD is hard enough, let alone having to do as many as you can in 7 minutes!

The top score in the Open ended up going to Danila Shokhin from Russia, who pulled out 161 reps. Although, anything over 100 should be classed as a pretty good effort.

For those who aren’t sure what a burpee is, here’s a breakdown of how to do a perfect rep:

1. Start in the standing position with your hands by your side

2. Bending down into a squat position, plant both your hands on the ground just outside your feet.

3. Keeping your hands on the ground, kick both your feet up so your are in the push up position.

4. For a burpee to count, both your hips and chest need to touch the ground (Sorry, I forgot to include this part when i first posted the article!)

5. From here, thrust both feet forward so you are back in the squat position.

6. From the squat position, jump up and raise your hands over your head.

Repeat!

When performing burpees, the key is to perform them as quickly as possible to get the best results, and to get the the conditioning benefits the exercise is famous for.

While burpees can be a CrossFitters most hated exercise, it is actually one of the best movements for health and fitness.

Not only does a burpee utilize a number of muscles in the human body, it is also low impact, great for flexibility and effective in building strength and endurance.

Here is a breakdown of some of the benefits you get from burpees:

Burpees!

Burpees!

Strength - The burpee is a full body, strength training exercise and is great for building and strengthening muscles. Each rep uses a number of muscles in the human body including trapezoids, lower back, pectorals, deltoids, triceps, hamstrings, glutes, calves, quadriceps, and abdominals.

Flexibility - The exercise is an effective way of increasing flexibility in the back, hips, legs, and core.

Muscle tone - Because the exercise targets a number of muscles in the body, and because it is a high intensity exercise, muscle tone will improve in most parts of the body, resulting in a better looking appearance. Body conditioning will also improve.

Weight loss - The burpee is a short burst, anaerobic exercise. When burpees are performed at high intensity, your heart rate can rise significantly. Studies suggest burpee workouts burn up to 50% more fat than conventional exercises, and can also increase your metabolism.

Save money - You don’t need any equipment to do burpees. Just like push ups and sit ups, the exercise can be done anywhere and at anytime. All you need is a body, a floor and a lot of determination.

When it comes to improving all round fitness, burpees are one of the best possible exercises.

The movement works a number of major muscle groups, increases strength and endurance, and improves flexibility and muscle tone.

John Michael Bric
John is a newsreader, freelance writer and Level 1 CrossFit Trainer. A contributing writer for the CrossFit Games and CrossFit Community websites, he is the current Australia Regional Media Director for CrossFit Inc. When he's not CrossFitting, he can often be heard reading the morning news on the radio or trying to convince people that chicken burgers, french fries and beer are all Paleo.
John Michael Bric