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As a holistic exercise that can be an effective and efficient whole body workout, burpees are like no other.

Love it or hate it – everyone has an opinion on burpees and what makes this exercise tick is its ability to help you go from fat to fab most effectively. In fact there are many ways to do burpees, some comprise of a plank, while others encompass a full push-up, a tuck jump or even a pull up towards the end.

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Step 3-Kick both your legs back and reach into a firm high plank or a push up position
Step 3-Kick both your legs back and reach into a firm high plank or a push up position

Do it Right

Today burpees is recognized as one of the most effective exercises by both fitness trainers and practitioners due to its simplicity in execution. Burpees give you a total body workout from your legs to the shoulders and is amazing for the core too. It not only increases muscle strength but is great for your stamina. Like with any exercise, the best way to make the most of burpees is to follow the right steps. Start the exercise by standing upright, feet hip distance apart, core engaged. Explosively lower into a squat position with your hands on the ground in front of you. Then kick your feet back into a plank position and instantly drop down your torso to the floor in a push up. Come back into the plank position and then jump into the squat and then jump up into the air as high as possible for you. After you land down, you must instantly lower back into a squat for your following rep.

Step 4-- Do a chest to floor push up a
Step 4– Do a chest to floor push up a

Advantage Burpees

The exercise effectively works your whole body: Unlike isolation workouts like biceps curls and triceps kickbacks, Burpee is a full body exercise. That means that while you perform burpees, you will end up working pretty much each and every body muscle, so you will essentially burn more calories in less interval of time when perform burpees. Shalini Bhargava, Director at JG’S Fitness Centre says, “burpees will make your body sturdier. This workout is the ultimate instance of functional fitness, which means it will not only assist you to meet your weight reduction and fitness goals, but will also facilitate you in performing better during day-to-day activities. With each rep, you will need to work your chest, arms, hamstrings, quads, glutes and core muscles. Burpees are one of the foremost workouts that will play wonders in boosting your conditioning, durability and strength for sports and other physical activities. Even just ten burpees in a row is enough to make your heart beat and your breath to get quicker. Do them steadily and watch your training level shoot up majorly.” Burpees are an exceptional addition to any workout: Burpees are a lively, fast-paced, never-boring workout, and a seamless addition to any fitness training, whether you are performing a HIIT-style workout or require a quick Tabata workout at any time of the day.

Step 5-Get back into a high plank position immediately
Step 5-Get back into a high plank position immediately

Exercise Cues

Burpees is an exceptional full-body workout which is extremely recommended for those very novices who can only perform 5 to 10 prior to getting tired, because it gets almost every muscle in the body involved. But it’s extremely important to do it with right technique and form. However the elderly and the ones injured must avert from practising burpees. Burpees have an immense effect on your upper as well as lower body. They help you to strengthen your core and abs. “There are different types of burpees and you can challenge yourself as you get better control of your body. As for beginners, 4-count burpees are recommended then there are flat out burpees wherein you have reach down to the ground. As you get a better grip on your body, you can start doing different types of burpees like narrow 6 count burpees, ultimate burpees, one-legged 4-count burpees. Each burpee has its own specific way of doing it and effect on your body. However, you need professional assistance in order to do them the right way and in right number,” avers Sucheta Pal, Ambassador and Educator, Zumba® Fitness. If you are a beginner, do 5 burpees, then take a 20 seconds break and repeat for 3 minutes. After two weeks, increase the number of burpees, reduce the break and increase the time duration to 5 minutes. If you are at an advanced level, do 25 burpees, take a 10 seconds break and repeat for 8 to 10 minutes. Since they also spike up your heart rate, they are considered as one of the best fat burning machines. They help in improving strength, general fitness and boost weight loss. Sonia Bakshi, Founder, Dance to Fitness says, “burpees can be done by anyone who is short of time but wants to improve strength and boost weight loss. Ten minutes of burpees, with small breaks in between done 5 days a week is good enough to improve endurance, fitness and boost weight loss.” A word of caution is that burpee is not a warm up and many people mistake burpee to be a warm up exercise and head into it. “If you are cold and do a burpee, some of the movements like where you sit in a deep squat could cause mobility issues or tightness in your muscles and joints and you are creating a scope to carry a micro fibre tear into your workout. So warm up well before you get into burpees for optimal result and injury free training,” says Coach Huzefa Talib, Co-Founder, The Outfit Gym.

Step 6- Jump it up and clap your hands over your head
Step 6- Jump it up and clap your hands over your head

Take Care

Burpees have no time or schedule or sets. This would depend on each individual’s fitness level and tolerance for the pain that usually comes with this particular exercise. Before you start with burpees a warm up routine is a must. Do 3 to 5 minutes of light cardio such as rowing or jogging, followed by this you must do 5 to 10 minutes of dynamic stretching, concentrating on your shoulders, back and hips. Perform a set of ten relaxed burpees first, execute each step gradually and under control, relax for one minute, then get to it. Pravesh Gaur, Founder & Director, Srauta Wellness says, “burpees can be performed by any individual but that person should not have any joint related injuries.  Burpees have many variations but one must stick to basic variation. Proper warm up and dynamic stretches are very important before starting a burpee workout. People who have very poor cardiovascular endurance or heart condition should not perform burpees as heart rate gets elevated in short span of time. People with knee of ankle joints related problem should not perform burpees.” Dr. Ashish Jain, a full time orthopedic surgeon at P.D Hinduja Hospital & MRC, Mahim, Mumbai opines, “just like any other bodyweight exercise, the fitness level in every individual decides the ability to do burpees. I always suggest individuals start slow and gradually ramp up the intensity without compromising on the exercise form. Burpees are not easy exercises. They were designed in the early 1930s to test one’s fitness levels during World War II and they are ‘High Impact’ on bodies. It is a full-body exercise or movement which incorporates strength training and aerobic exercise together. So always start at the beginners, intermediate and advanced levels. Like three sets of burpees; each set of 10 repetitions, keep one minute rest periods between sets and keep progressing. If not performed right they can cause strain on the wrist joints, font of shoulders, low back stress especially if the core is not engaged and also stress on the cardiovascular system due to poor stamina or faulty breathing.” Juily Wagle, Fitness instructor & Nutrition Expert, Metabolix says, “a minute of burpees (between 10 to 20 reps for most people) burns around 10 calories. Burpees can make for an excellent conditioning finisher set after a day’s workout and provide an excellent functional workout, improve balance and coordination along with increase mobility of the whole body. As such it is one of the best exercises to include in your workouts.” Now with that much said, shall we get into action?

This story first appeared in Smartlife Magazine’s Dec 2019 issue here:

All images in this post are courtesy The Outfit Gym

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