Thursday, 28 May 2009

1 of the All Time Best Fitness Exercises

I've been doing burpees recently. They are simply a great all body fitness exercise for men and women. Burpees are perfect for those of you who like me, prefer the benefits of short workouts. I think they are ideal for those people short on time who search for fast, effective techniques to maintain or boost their fitness.

Photo: Amber

Below you will find a video showing how to do a burpee as well as a written description with some routines included.

This suggestion is from my own experience and I believe you may enjoy it. If you are of good mobility and health then the burpee may be great for you. I'm a health and fitness enthusiast but I'm not an athlete and not qualified to offer health advice.

The Burpee
The burpee comprises three exercises in one:
A squat thrust, a press up and then a jump or squat upwards.
The burpee is used for conditioning by many people inside and outside of competitive sports. You can perform them at home, in the garden or the yard, and in most confined spaces. It's not new, it's not revolutionary but it will crank up your conditioning in a short time.

This is how you do it.

  • Get into a squat position with both hands flat on the floor in front of you
  • Push your feet back so you are now in a push up position
  • Perform one push up
  • Return your feet to the squat position
  • Now leap into the air with your arms extending above your head
  • or Stand up into a full squat
  • Repeat.
Depending on your current level of fitness begin by performing 2 - 10 full burpees.
Once familiar with it you can adopt some routines to really boost your general fitness. I think you'll agree it's a simple, intense full body workout.

This video shows the Burpee.

If you are new to exercising or burpees in particular: Avoid over exertion at this point. Avoid over exercising or straining to achieve. Avoid training to failure.

Beginners hints and tips
I find tensing my thighs and buttocks during the push off for the leap to help in gaining height.
I land as lightly as possible on the balls of my feet. Absorbing the landing through my legs by keeping in constant motion, moving swiftly through the landing into the squat thrust back into the press up position. Push down swiftly 'through the floor' on the push up section of the burpee.

Get familiar with the feeling of the movements. Practice to get all movements fluid and fast. Learn how you best absorb and transfer the energy moving through your body throughout the technique.

Burpee Routine 1: Pyramids
I used this first sequence when I began burpees. Only do the number of burpees you feel capable of completing in good form.
  • Perform 1 burpee
  • rest briefly for a few seconds or as needed.
  • Perform 2 burpees
  • rest
  • Perform 3 burpees
  • So on until you reach the number you can perform whilst keeping good technique and stamina.
  • Then Perform decreasing numbers to 1 burpee.

Burpee Routine 2: Tabata Intervals
This involves 20 seconds of maximum intensity exercise, followed by 10 seconds of rest. This cycle is repeated 8 times.
  • Perfrom fast burpees for 20 seconds then rest for 10 seconds for eight cycles.
  • I find it easier to perform 10 burpees (or as many as I can manage as the cycles increase) then rest for 10 seconds.
I'm sure you'll find Burpee Tabata intervals intense. I recommend building up to full Tabatas depending on your level of fitness.

Tabata Intervals are heavily referenced online by fitness sites. They come from a study performed by Dr Tabata and colleagues from the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo, Japan. After 6 weeks they recorded a 28% increase in anaerobic capacity (generating energy without oxygen) with a 14% increase in V02Max (maximum oxygen uptake during exercise). These results were from physically fit athletes. They used mechanically braked cycling ergometers not burpees.

I don't now how meaningful these results will be for you. I do suggest practising burpees to find out for yourself. I'm not an athlete and when I began burpees I was healthy but not a 'conditioned' fitness enthusiast. I found them great. I felt great afterwards and the next day too.

Other Burpee Routines:
Burpees in circuit training.
For example 1 circuit:
10 burpees, 20 Star jumps, 10 hindu pushups, 20 bodyweight squats, 10 v-ups for 1 circuit. I then repeat the cycle 4 more times.

Shadow Boxing through non combative boxing has become popular. A routine consisting of Burpees and Boxing may involve:
30 seconds of burpees
30 seconds of shadow boxing
Repeated for up to 3 minutes then rest for 1 minute.

I often include 10 - 40 burpees after or during my short runs.

Check out the link to the Ross Enamait website. I and many others have found him to be a fantastic source of simple, intense workout information. He also has very reasonably priced workout manuals.

Always listen to your body and that sensible voice in your mind that says 'rest' 'eat well and nutritiously' and 'sleep.' Wishing you all the best with this exercise. Let me know what you think.

Thanks for reading.


  1. Hi Jens

    I like the name Burpee! It sounds fun :-) I am glad you have the video, because that really help me to follow.
    I think I am going to give this a try.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Giovanna Garcia
    Imperfect Action is better than No Action


    I was just 'splaining burpees to the husband (whom I could not believe didnt know how to do them) and shall send him your way as well.

  3. Hi Giovanna

    It is fun and demanding! The video was one of the best to show the burpee in all it's glory. Wishing you the best with this exercise.
    Let me know how well you do.


  4. Hi Mizfit

    Thanks for that! I'm glad you like it. Hope your husband will to.


  5. It's a great exercise but I didn't know they were called burpies.Pyrimids are great for all exercises before you know it you've done more thanyou thought you could.Good story

  6. You're right about pyramids being good for all exercises. I've started to use the routine more frequently in my workouts.

    Thanks for commenting