An exercise called the burpee

The exercise called the burpee is a calorie torching, strength building and also a full body exercise. In 1939 Royal H. Burpee invented and developed this exercise. Back then it was an easy and quick way to administer fitness tests.

You will find it interesting to know that this exercise and its movement was included in Burpee’s thesis for a doctorate in applied physiology from the Columbia University. Since then, this exercise has gone on to be beneficial and included in the regular routines of people all over the world.

Some of the many benefits of this exercise is that; it helps to burn calories, and that burpees burn a lot of calories in a relatively short timeframe.

Burpees make you stronger, they are good for conditioning, they are incredibly portable and require no equipment. You can add them to almost all workout routines. While this exercise offers excellent benefits, it is essential to know that these benefits will maximize if you use the correct technique.

The right technique

Burpees are generally accessible, and as mentioned above, you do not need to have any equipment like most of the regular exercise routines. To ensure that you use the right technique, you have to follow these easy steps;

  • To begin, ensure that you stand straight, then squat while placing your hands on the floor. Position your hands well on the floor.
  • Once you’ve placed your hands in front of you, kick your feet slowly into a push-up position. After that instantly drop your chest to the floor.
  • Raise your chest up a bit, then immediately return your feet to the original position (i.e., the squat) as quickly as possible.
  • Then instantly jump up as high as possible. While doing this, place your hands behind your head to make sure your body is fully straight.

Continue until you are exhausted or finished your required repetitions. While doing the burpee, you have to remember that like every other exercise; you feel the impact and benefit when you get to the point when it starts to hurt.

The exercise called the burpee is basically about speed, but that does not mean that you have to go very fast. You could burn yourself out only after doing a few, so to enable you to do more and benefit, you have to go at a moderate speed.

Extra tips

To enable you to use the correct technique, we will list specific tips that you must remember while doing this exercise;

  • Ensure that you choose a pace and speed that you will be able to maintain for the number of reps you want to do. Also, ensure that you do not stop during the reps.
  • Ensure you move your legs back before your hands get to the ground.
  • During this exercise, make sure that you are not thinking about how many you have to do. Turn on your robot mode and ensure that you only focus on one movement after the other. Doing so will enable you to last longer.
  • Ensure that your breathing is as steady as possible. Breath in when your body is moving to the floor. Breath out once you are forcing yourself back up and into the jump.
  • Ensure that your back is not arched. Most importantly, ensure that you use the full range of motion with every repetition you do.

Muscles used during the burpee

Lower body muscles

During the squatting motion, when you place your hands firmly on the ground and in the process undertake or perform a powerful hip extension which drives your leg back to the push-up position, you make use of the gluteus maximus and hamstring.

When your toes hit the floor, the hip flexors and quadriceps contract to ensure that your hips and legs do not collapse, furthermore, the abdominus (abs) muscle contracts as well to stabilize the spines.

Jumping into the air during the burpee makes use of the same muscles that you use for the squatting motion at the beginning of this exercise. The hamstrings, the gluteus maximus and the help from your quadriceps enable the muscles to drive you into the air powerfully. The action performed by these muscles is called the; concentric contraction.

Quadriceps; when your legs are bent, and you lower your hands, a lengthening or eccentric contraction of the leg muscles occur. Your quadriceps which located at the front of your thigh, the gluteus maximus which is also the butt muscle, the hamstrings that are located at the rear of the thighs all work together to control your rate of descent fully. Also, for stability, while doing the squat, the erector spinae muscle enables you to lower your back to ensure that you are stable and do not come crashing down.

Upper body muscles

Upper back muscles also contract as you try to bend forward and bring your hands to the floor. Muscles located in your shoulder, arms and chest contracts as well as to enable you to hold your upper body slightly above the ground.

Deltoid Muscles; during the exercise, you have to swing your arms forward each time you leap into the air, this action is made possible by the deltoid or the shoulder muscle.

Cardiac muscle; we all know that the burpees are an anaerobic exercise. This means that the muscles that are used work without the primary need for oxygen. Blood is pumped during this exercise, and this is because the heartbeat can become elevated due to the presence of many skeletal muscles. The cardiac muscle ensures that the body pumps during this exercise.

Concluding the exercise called the burpee

Since this exercise is in existence it is one of the best exercises that will help you burn calories. As mentioned above, studies have revealed that the burpees burn a lot of calories and continue to do so after you are done. What is your relationship with the burpee? Do you hate or love them? Personally, I do both.


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