Today's Move It Monday is a full body cardio and strength movement that often intimidates a lot of us (myself included), the burpee!! Even I tend to do an eye roll when I'm told to do burpees but at the same time, in some weird sort of way, I love them too!
An all-around excellent form of cardio, burpees strengthen and condition your body plus boost your metabolism all in one swift move. They are a full-body functional fitness exercise working everything from your fingers to your toes. No, really, each time you hit the deck for a burpee you are engaging muscles in your arms, shoulders, core, back, chest and legs. Not every move can say this and that is just one of the reasons they are amazing. It's why I love to hate to love burpees. If after a few burpees your legs feel super heavy and you find it difficult to keep going, you are doing them right!
Burpees are an excellent way to measure your fitness level and aerobic threshold. Set the timer for one minute, begin your burpees and record the number you completed at the end of the minute. Incorporate this fitness test every so often as a way to track your cardio endurance.
One of the best things about burpees is they require absolutely nothing, except maybe a willing attitude, to do them. You can do burpees while your kids play at the park. Don't worry. Burpees at the park are not strange. At. All. You can do burpees at the gym. In your backyard. In the driveway. In your living room. In your vacation hotel room. You get the idea. If you have enough space to lay your full body on the ground, you can get off that ground and do a burpee.
Burpees are an easy way to add a cardio surge to a traditional strength training workout. If you're working through a strength circuit, add in a set of 5 burpees in between exercises or when you've finished your strength session, add a one minute challenge of burpees AMRAP (as many reps as possible) style. You're sure to shoot up that calorie burn by tossing a few burpees into the mix.
If you're looking to improve your mental toughness, burpees are a great way to flex that mental muscle. Burpees are hard, no doubt about that, so challenge yourself by incorporating a move that pushes you. This is an excellent way to build your tenacity for doing hard things. Whenever you think you are can't do anymore burpees, add one or two more. Your brain will try and tell you that you're done when your body usually has more to give. Burpees will challenge you to work past your limits while proving to yourself that you can do more than you believe you're capable of.
How do you do a burpee?
It's really pretty simple...
- Stand with feet hip width apart and lower to a squat position with hands on the floor.
- Hop your feet back behind you so you land in a high arm plank/push up position then immediately lower your chest completely to the ground.
- As quickly as you lower to the ground, pop yourself back up, hop your feet back into the same squat position you started.
- To fully complete the burpee, jump straight up in the air from the squat position with arms raised overhead.
- Repeat, repeat, repeat.
You can increase the difficulty or intensity of the burpee by adding a tuck jump at the end instead of just an straight jump in the air. If you'd like to add a balance challenge, you could do the burpee with one leg elevated when you shoot back to plank/push-up position. Alternatively, to modify the burpee, you can bring one leg back to plank/push-up position at a time rather than hopping both feet back at the same time.
The key is to move as quickly as possible through the burpees but at a reasonable enough pace that you can get through the assigned amount for the alotted time.
If you weren't already thinking it, here is this week's Move It Monday challenge. One minute on the clock and work through as many burpees as you can. If you are feeling ambitious, set the clock for two minutes. Pace yourself and each time you try the challenge, try to beat your previous record. Check in on social media and let me know how you did!
Until next Monday, get after those burpees friends!!