Burpess are a staple part of our training. Anyone who does do them will tell you very quickly how much they hate it. Does it have any merit in training? We certainly think there is.
Its a Full Body Workout. They will work your arms, legs and core. As you come down to the floor, you will need to use your arms to stop you from body slamming. The eccentric load of the descent will build up over the reps and target your lats. As you try to stand back up to the floor, you will require a majority of abs to bend the trunk to elevate the hips. When you have your hips high enough, the legs come into the equation by tilting the body back up to the standing position again.
Versatile, it can be paired up with almost every other movement. This is probably the main reason why it is such a disliked (not so strong word to describe) the burpee, is that it is very frequently paired up with another exercise. Usually the pairing of it is to raise the heart rate and pre-fatigue the exerciser before the other movement is performed. Hence more precision and focus is needed to successfully attempt the lift.
Variable, it can be slightly changed to suit a variety of goals and training objectives. It does not have to be a vanilla version of the jump, floor to jump. You can bound from it vertically, laterally, horizontally, add weights to it and it can be extremely challenging from just the plain-jane version.
They raise your heart rate depending on the speed at which you do them at. The mere descending to the floor and accelerating into the jump will trigger a change in blood pressure in your body. To make sure that you do not pass out, your cardiovascular system detects this change and increases your heart rate to ensure the blood returns back to your brain. (Stop if you feel light-headed)
You can do them just about anywhere, all you need is a floor. It is the single most effective and versatile exercise that can get you fit in weeks. No explanation needed for this.
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*Disclaimer: Make sure that you are medically cleared to exercise before following any new training or exercise program.