Burpees Body Transformation – Introduction
What are the effects of burpees on body transformation?
Burpees are the bodyweight exercise that many people love to hate.
They LOVE how effective they are but HATE them because they’re so darn hard.
There is no such thing as an easy burpee workout routine!
But, besides being incredibly demanding, what good are burpees, and what are they designed to do?
In this article, we reveal the answer and discuss how doing burpees will change your body!
What are Burpees, Anyway?
Burpees are a calisthenic exercise that was invented by and named after American physiologist Royal H. Burpee.
They were designed as a quick way to assess the fitness of WW2 army recruits.
Burpees quickly become popular with physical culturists, athletes, and the general exercising public.
Currently, they are used in HIIT workouts and are especially prevalent in CrossFit WODs.
The burpee is actually a complex, meaning a combination of several bodyweight exercises performed in sequence.
The secret “ingredients” that make up a burpee are:
- Squat thrusts
- Squat jumps
How to Do Burpees
Combining squats, squat thrusts, push-ups, and squat jumps into a single exercise requires a reasonable amount of coordination and skill.
If you find it hard to walk and chew gum at the same time, this may not be the ideal exercise for you!
That said, if you follow these steps and take it slow, most people should be able to perform burpees properly.
- Start from a standing position with your feet together and your arms by your sides.
- Brace your core and pull your shoulders down and back.
- Squat down and place your hand flat on the floor just in front of your feet.
- Jump your feet out and back into the push-up plank position, so your arms, body, and legs are straight.
- Bend your arms and perform one perfect push-up.
- With straight arms, bend your legs and jump your feet up and into your hands.
- From a crouch, explosively leap up into the air.
- Land on slightly bent knees to absorb the impact and then descend into another rep.
There are TONS of burpee variations, and you can modify this exercise to make it harder or easier.
For example, leave out the push-up and/or vertical leaps to make them easier.
Alternatively, you can add a 180-degree mid-air turn or do two push-ups instead of one to make burpees more demanding.
How to Do Burpees for Beginners and Beyond – Minus the Gym
Muscles Trained During Burpees
This section of our article is pretty short.
Because burpees work pretty much every major muscle in your body!
They are the epitome of a full-body exercise, and the only muscles not actively involved in burpees are your biceps and latissimus dorsi.
This omission is easily fixed with a few pull-ups, pulldowns, or rows.
Some hardy souls even combine pull-ups with burpees to work every muscle in one challenging exercise!
7 Effects of Burpees on Body Transformation
Now you know when and who invented burpees, how to do them, and the muscles involved.
This still begs the question: why should you do burpees?
After all, they’re very demanding, and there are plenty of other exercises you can do instead.
So, here are the ways that burpees affect and change your body!
#1. Total body conditioning
Burpees challenge and affect virtually every muscle in your body.
Doing burpees will increase the endurance, fitness, and conditioning of those muscles.
In short, doing burpees will make you unstoppable by building your work capacity and resistance to fatigue.
Getting better at burpees will improve your ability to perform almost any physical activity.
#2. Get lean and lose weight
Any exercise that involves as many muscles as burpees burns a lot of calories.
While the actual number of calories depends on things like your weight, age, gender, and how many burpees you do, the simple answer will always be a lot!
Combined with a reduced-calorie diet and other calorie-burning exercises, burpees can help you lose weight and get lean.
#3. Better cardiovascular fitness
Burpees involve a lot of different muscles, and all those muscles demand a lot of oxygen.
This demand increases your heart and breathing rate, making burpees an effective cardiovascular exercise.
So, do you hate running?
Not a fan of cycling?
Too cold to swim?
Can’t jump rope?
Do burpees to strengthen your heart, lungs, and circulatory system.
#4. Improved lower body power
Power is your ability to generate force quickly.
It’s a vital component of most sports and can also make strenuous everyday activities easier, e.g., running upstairs or lifting a heavy grocery bag.
The vertical jump part of burpees is an effective power exercise and will improve lower body explosiveness.
Power tends to decline with age, but if you want to maintain it, burpees can help.
#5. Strengthen your upper body pushing muscles
Burpees involve push-ups, which is an excellent exercise for strengthening your upper body muscles, namely your chest, shoulders, and triceps.
However, because each push-up is separated by a squat, squat thrust, and jump, you’ll probably end up doing many more push-ups than you realize.
This high volume of push-up reps will have a huge impact on your upper body strength.
In addition, doing one push-up at a time means you’ll probably lower yourself more slowly and push yourself back up more dynamically.
This is the best way to perform push-ups for maximum gains.
A few weeks of burpees will do wonders for your push-up gains, even if you don’t perform many (or any!) regular push-ups during that time.
#6. A stronger, more stable core
The core is the collective term for the muscles of your midsection, including your rectus abdominis, obliques, and transverse abdominis.
Transitioning from a squat to a push-up and back again is like doing a jumping plank, and you know how good planks are for core strength!
Also, to perform burpees correctly and safely, you must keep your core tightly braced throughout.
This increase in core muscle tension makes burpees even better for your midsection.
#7. Improved coordination
As we’ve mentioned, doing burpees requires a fair degree of coordination.
Coordination is your ability to move all of your limbs in a controlled, harmonious manner.
At first, burpees may be hard simply because you struggle to perform the movements smoothly.
But, with practice, the movements will become easier, and your reps will be smoother.
Congratulations – your coordination is improving!
Better coordination can have a big impact on your ability to perform daily activities more smoothly and gracefully and also improve your athleticism and sports performance.
And while we can’t say that burpees will definitely make you a better dancer, having more coordination certainly won’t hurt!
As effective as burpees are, they’re not suitable for everyone.
Burpees not only develop a high level of fitness and conditioning, but they also require fitness and conditioning to perform correctly.
As such, people who should be wary of burpees or skip them altogether include:
- The elderly
- Overweight exercisers
- Pregnant women
- People with knee, lower back, or shoulder problems
- Deconditioned exercisers
- People who are unwell or returning to exercise after illness
Burpees ARE very popular and can be beneficial, but not all exercises are good for all exercisers.
While burpees can build your body, they can wreck it if you aren’t physically capable of doing them correctly!
Burpees Body Transformation Workout Routines
While you could just crank out the occasional set of burpees and hope they deliver the results you want, you’ll get better results from a more structured training approach.
So, here are five burpee home workouts to try!
#1. Ten-minute burpee challenge
This workout is as simple as it sounds.
Set your timer for ten minutes and then do as many burpees as possible in the allotted time.
Rest whenever you need to but remember the clock is always ticking.
Is ten minutes too long?
Do seven or five minutes, working up to ten minutes as you feel able.
#2. Race to 100 burpees
This is another simple yet effective burpee workout.
Start your stopwatch and do 100 burpees as quickly as you can.
Rest when you need to but try to complete all 100 reps in the shortest time possible.
#3. Burpee ladder
This workout is popular in prisons (apparently), where space and training equipment are severally limited.
The idea is to complete all of the following burpees in as short a time as possible, taking just 10-30 seconds between sets.
Feel free to start this workout with short rests between sets and rest longer as the sets get bigger.
- 1 burpee
- 2 burpees
- 3 burpees
- 4 burpees
- 5 burpees
- 6 burpees
- 7 burpees
- 8 burpees
- 9 burpees
- 10 burpees
- 11 burpees
- 12 burpees
- 13 burpees
- 14 burpees
- 15 burpees
- 16 burpees
- 17 burpees
- 18 burpees
- 19 burpees
- 20 burpees
You can also do this workout in reverse, i.e., starting with 20 and working your way down to one rep.
Try both and see which one you prefer.
#4. Texas burpee fitness challenge
This burpee workout is a little different but no less demanding.
It emphasizes the push-up part of the burpee, so it’s a great way to overload your upper body.
Complete the following as fast as possible, taking as few rests as you can.
- Do one burpee
- Do one burpee but with two push-ups
- Do one burpee but with three push-ups
- Do one burpee but with four push-ups
- Do one burpee but with five push-ups
- Do one burpee but with six push-ups
- Do one burpee but with seven push-ups
- Do one burpee but with eight push-ups
- Do one burpee but with nine push-ups
- Do one burpee but with ten push-ups
Your workout is over when you reach ten push-ups or cannot continue.
On reaching your peak, you can go back down if you wish, doing one less push-up per burpee.
#5. Tabata burpees
Your final workout is short, sharp, and effective.
Taking only four minutes, Tabata burpees are an excellent finisher for after your regular workout or when you don’t have time for anything else.
Set a timer for 20 seconds of work and ten seconds of rest.
- 20 seconds of burpees
- 10 seconds recovery
- Repeat for eight sets
Burpees Body Transformation – Wrapping Up
You can do burpees almost anywhere and anytime, so they’re the perfect low-tech, high-effect workout.
Depending on how you perform them, you can use burpees to build fitness, burn calories, or improve your endurance and muscle power.
And best of all, burpees are free!
Are burpees suitable for everyone?
They may be too demanding for some people and must be performed correctly to avoid causing injury.
But, if you can do burpees safely, they deserve a place in your body transformation and fitness workouts.
And while you’ll probably never learn to love burpees, you will love how they change your body!