Whenever someone mentions the dreaded burpees people cringe – but what are the benefits of doing burpees and why do we hate them so much?
If someone asked you to choose one single exercise that you absolutely hate doing I bet you that nine times out of ten, the answer would be burpees. In fact I’m pretty sure that there is no-one in the history of fitness who has ever said ‘Oh, please Sir, let me have more burpees!’
The dreaded burpees are a brutal body-weight exercise that are often incorporated into high intensity fitness workouts. They are even used as a punishment for skipping obstacles in obstacle races or not completing a circuit in the slotted amount of time.
What is a Burpee?
The burpee was originally named after an American physiologist called Royal Huddleston Burpee who created the ‘burpee test’ back in the 1930s. It was used as a quick and easy way to assess an individuals’ fitness levels. The test was then first adopted by the military services within the United States to assess the fitness levels of new recruits back in World War 2. The burpee exercise then went on to be used by all armed forces, police, fire and correctional services as part of their fitness assessments too.
Today though the burpee is now more widely used as an actual conditioning exercise, rather than a test of fitness and has become a fundamental part of circuit-training sessions, Hit training bootcamps and CrossFit training workouts.
The online definition of a burpee is a basic full body exercise that is used in both strength and cardiovascular training and is performed in four basic steps and is known as a “four-count burpee“.
- Start in a standing position
- Move into a squat position putting your hands on the ground. (count 1)
- Kick your feet back into a plank position, whilst keeping your arms extended. (count 2)
- Immediately return your feet into squat position. (count 3)
- Stand up from the squat position (count 4)
So Why Do We Hate Burpees?
I personally hate burpees with a passion and will avoid doing them these days at all costs, though that is probably largely due to having been made to them so often by physical trainers in my younger days.
However, I have always thought that the act of repeatedly throwing myself to the ground to immediately get up again is a totally crazy idea. And I really cannot understand why would anyone in their right mind would want to do it or enjoy doing it!
Whenever they are part of an exercise routine you are normally expected to do a large number of burpees quickly and in a short time frame. Why is it that burpees never come in repetitions of threes or fives, but rather always in multiple of tens.
Burpees often play a large part in CrossFit workouts, where they even come in repetitions of 50 or more and are often scheduled to be performed at the end of one of their long grueling workout. These are just some of the reasons Crossfitters hate burpees too.
Watch the video below to learn how to get your Burpee on!
The Benefits of Doing Burpees
So what are the benefits of doing burpees and why are they a fundamental part of so many high intensity training routines?
Burpees are a full body exercise which means that every repetition that you carry out will work the muscles in your quads, glutes, hamstrings, chest, arms and abs. As the burpee incorporates so many of the major muscles within the body, it not only burns a large amount of calories, but also quickly gets your heart rate up too.
This intense full body exercise is therefore a great way for building endurance and strength. Along with burning off excess fat along with testing your co-ordination and balance. Burpees are also a functional exercise so if you do this exercise on a regular basis, you will soon notice improvements in your mobility and strength when carrying out tasks in your everyday life, as well as when you are in the gym.
Are you one of the small minority that loves burpees or do you literally dread the thought of doing them and will avoid them whenever you can? Why not leave a comment in the box below and tell us your reasons why you love or hate burpees!