All fitness enthusiasts have heard of ‘Burpees’. In the simplest terms, a burpees is a form of exercise that combines the efforts of a push up and a squat with a jump. The result is that the body gets a variety of muscle workout in a single exercise move. Despite their apparently funny name, burpees are extremely helpful in training the body and building strength and endurance. In fact, burpees and running are the new components in the training regimen of many athletes.
Burpees were created as a form of exercise by R. H. Burpee in 1939, and he believed that just four repetitions of this exercise are enough to test the fitness of anyone. Initially, the burpee workout consisted of slow and patient movements, but over the last few years, a lot of variations of these workouts have emerged.
In fact, it is possible to perform variations of this exercise to attain the desired intensity.
Stepwise Guide to Do Burpees Correctly
If you want to give burpees a try, then you must know the correct way to do it. Here is a step wise guide to help you:
The first step in doing burpees is that you stand up straight and keep your feet about shoulder-width apart.
Then you have to squat down in such a way that your hands are placed on the ground, palms down and on either side of your body.
The third step is to kick back your feet and assume the position of a push up.
Bend your chest downward so that it touches the ground, just like you do in a push up.
Then bring both feet back in the squatting position by hopping them in front, towards the hands.
Jump up in the air while bringing your hands straight overhead. Make a loud clap with your palms when jumping. You can even try this with a stool in front of you where you jump up on it.
This six-step guide will enable you to do burpees correctly. You should set your own burpee challenge by deciding the number of repetitions you want to do.
Start with a lower number, and increase your challenge as you gain physical fitness. You are the best judge of how many burpees should be done and how many burpees equal a mile run in your workout.
For more exercises for running, read: Balance Board Exercises for Runners to Strengthen Lower Legs.
Common Errors While Doing Burpees
Burpees are counted among those exercises that give a proper work out to your whole body. Burpees and running will together flex all your muscles, including those of your legs, back, core, arms, and chest. Therefore, an increasing number of athletes are including burpees in their regular workout.
It is important to maintain the right posture during a burpee workout. Of course, you will understand the technique once you start doing burpees regularly, but we have enlisted a few common errors that you might make while doing burpees:
DO NOT Scoop Your Back During Squatting
A very common error made by people doing burpees is that they scoop out their back in a round shape when they squat, and when they kick their feet back to assume the push up position. The benefits of your burpee workout won’t be apparent if you make these small errors. Therefore, you should avoid this bent position when doing burpees and keep your back straight.
DO NOT Bend Your Back During Push Up
Many people arch their back during the push-up step in the burpee, and this makes you sag downwards. This common error can give rise to back ache by putting too much pressure on your spine. Therefore, you should strive to keep your back straight. Since this particular step involves putting pressure on your chest and spine, any error in the posture of your spine in this step will be disastrous for the health of your back.
The back pain that happens because of a bad posture takes a really long time to go. Therefore, you must take special care not to let your back bend in this step. Tightening your abdominal muscles is a good way to prevent sagging and arching of your back. However, if it is difficult for you to hold this position, even for a few seconds, then you should stop immediately, regardless of the number of reps that you have done.
DO NOT Land on the Ground Very Hard
The impact with which you hit the ground in two steps of your burpee workout is critical. These steps are when you take the push up position from your squat, and when you land on the ground after the final jump. Instead of letting your body hit the ground randomly, you should try to control the impact of these two steps.
For the push up position, you should put controlled pressure on your shoulder, arms and wrists, since they are the fixed points of your burpee exercise. Try to land your feet so that your shoulders and arms absorb the impact, instead of putting undue stress on your wrists.
Similarly, when landing on the ground after your final jump, try to make a quiet landing and let the knees, thighs and hips absorb the impact. This is crucial for minimising the stress on these joints.
Choose the Right Intensity of Your Burpee Workout
Burpee workouts are very challenging. Therefore, you should choose the number of reps according to your physical fitness. If you push your body too hard by doing a high number of reps, you will be sore and won’t be able to continue with your workout on a regular basis. Being slow is better than being injured, hence you should choose the appropriate number of burpees that won't harm your body.
With these simple precautions in mind, you will be able to make the most out of your burpee session. Because of the tremendous benefits, burpees and running are being considered as complimentary workouts. Let us now see the various benefits of burpees.
Benefits of Burpees for Your Body
These are the following advantages that burpees give you when you incorporate them into your training and running session.
1. Reliable Way to Lose Weight
Because of different burpee variations available, you may choose the intensity of the workout according to your requirement. Many people compare burpees and running in terms of their ability to burn calories. High intensity burpees are considered to be equivalent to a moderately intense running session for the same period of time. Therefore, burpees are a great way to lose weight.
2. Proven Exercise to Increase Strength
Runners who are aiming for workouts to increase their endurance for long distance running events like marathons should definitely include burpees in their practice workouts. A combination of burpees and running is the best way to increase endurance of an athlete because this combination will flex all major muscles of a runner’s body.
3. Ideal for Conditioning Your Body
If building endurance and conditioning your body is on your list, then you should not skip burpees. They make perfect partners for many forms of exercises, including sports and mountaineering. Burpees are the quickest way to get in proper shape for any outdoor activity.
Because of the fact that burpees require no equipment, you can add them to any workout. Burpees can be made dynamic by varying the intensity, and burpee variations make a great addition to your exercise routine. If you are exercising with equipment, then you may use some of those in your burpee workout. For example, burpee pull ups using a bar and burpee knee ups with a chair.
Also, check out Best Oblique Exercises for a Better Runner in You
Now that you know the various benefits, let us see a few variations of burpees to make your workout more dynamic and interesting.
Four Variations of Burpee Workouts
Here is the list of the most popular variations of burpees that are included by many runners in their exercise routines.
Please make sure that you have mastered the traditional form of burpees before attempting any of these variations. This is important to prevent injury and to reap maximum benefits out of your burpee workout.
Type 1 - Single Leg Variation
This variation of burpees and running are similar because both of them have only one foot on the ground at a given time. Burpees with single leg are great for developing strength and endurance in each leg separately.
For this variation, assume the plank position like a regular burpee, and then lift one leg in the air before doing the push up. Keep this leg in the air and bring the other foot back in the squat. Bring back this foot on the ground after doing the final jump. Start with five reps before increasing the number as you gain experience.
Type 2 - Jump and Lunge Variation
Assume the high plank posture, push up and jump as you would do in a traditional burpee. Then, land in a lunge and make a jump again, with your legs scissored, to reverse the lunge.
After a small jump, assume your regular squat position. Perform five reps in the beginning, increasing the number gradually as you get more practice.
Type 3 - Swinging Through Variation
This burpee variation is excellent for honing your balance and stability. For doing this, you have to perform the burpee push up as you do normally, but kick one foot front to return to the initial position, while the other remains planted at the back. Move your body weight to the planted foot at the back side of your body and then jump, with the opposite leg in front.
Land softly and kick both feet back to assume the original position. Start with five reps. Increase this number when you build endurance.
Type 4 - Pop Up Variation
This variation of burpees and running are ideal for conditioning your glutes. This burpee variation is also great for preventing running injuries in the IT band and knees.
For doing this variation, you perform the push up and bring your knees forward and touch them on the ground, next to your hands. Then lift up your hands and flex your toes straight. Jump up while swinging the arms and driving through your feet. Land in a squat. This variation should be tried after mastering all the other variations.
Ten reps are the ideal starting value for burpee variations like this one.
Burpees are by no means an easy exercise. However runners, in particular, are getting especially fond of combining burpees and running. This is because these two forms of exercise are ideal for working out almost every muscle in the body.
Many of these muscles are directly used in running, while the others are required for maintaining stability and building endurance. The results that athletes see from doing burpees, are better performance and a good riddance of injuries faster.
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