who loves burpees?
Everyone does them, EVERYONE hates them, but why?
Burpees are an explosive Full Body Movement, which means they use all the muscles of the body, raise your heart rate quickly and use your cardiovascular system to its max. This is in turn why they burn so many calories and why they are so common in so many fitness classes, online videos and workout plans. They burn calories, they make you sweat and they get results.
But then why do we hate them? Probably because they are hard, very hard. Generally if something is difficult we won't like doing it; studying, difficult tasks at work, telling someone their new haircut looks awful, and burpees are no different. But lets be more specific here. To do a burpee you have to fall quickly to the ground, do a push up, get back up and then jump as high you can before landing back down safely. That's a mouthful and a half just to explain it, never mind do it, and that's only 1 Rep!! So it's not only difficult, it's also complicated. Added to this when people start exercising or start fitness classes you might be trying to lose weight so you are now also carrying 1-2 stone extra body weight which makes a "Simple Body Weight" exercise now not so simple. But the most important reason why people don't like this tailspin of an exercise can often be due to the fact that they have a few injuries and are doing it with incorrect form. Lower back pain, sore knees, and weak wrists can all make this twice as hard as it should be.
So what can we do to fix it? Normally when teaching classes I instruct people to use the modified version of the Burpee (Plank to stand only) as this reduces impact and stress on the joints, while still working the cardiovascular system to a high level.
Check out this cheesy American video below on how to do both the modified and advanced versions:
What do I think of Burpees? Well, me and Burpees go way back, but had an acrimonious split in 2018. As part of a fundraiser for the local walking track I thought it would be a good idea to post on my Facebook page that for every €1 donated I would do a burpee at the end of the week. One by one people that wanted to see me suffer crawled out of the woodwork with online donations in the nature of €20 - €50 accompanied by the taglines "Enjoy" or "Eat that Scully"!!. We set a target of 1,000 Burpees in one session, which obviously I had to train for in order to build up the training volume and required fitness levels, but by God was it excruciating.
On the day, I had loads of support and encouragement from friends and family to get me through it, but almost 2 hours of burpees was horrible. I felt like getting sick, I couldn't drink water, my back & legs seized up and then eventually my arms seized up too. I was a mess. All in all I was in a serious world of pain (albeit self inflicted). I suffered through and at a steady pace with rest breaks I completed them and raised €1,000 to a good cause. Glad to have them done, I was glad to see the back of burpees for a long time to come.
So my advice, Burpees are great for HIIT workouts and for losing weight, but if you're not used to them try the modified version and don't do anymore than 6-10 Reps. And if you are seriously stuck for cash for any fundraiser this is a guaranteed way to raise funds fast, just don't dare call me to do them haha!!
Pic Below from the final week of training for the 1000 Burpee Challenge: