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Why You Should Do Burpees

This Might Just Be the Best Total-Body Exercise

The secret's out: burpees are the real deal. Self explains why.

There are a ton of exercises that will get your blood pumping and muscles working (lookin' at you squats and push-ups), however, one move stands out above the rest. And while for some (okay, most), it's also one of the most dreaded.

Enter the burpee. It seems simple enough, you start in standing position, then squat down until your hands touch the floor and kick your feet back into push-up position. From there you push-up, then jump back and up into original position and repeat. Sounds doable in theory, but these babies will have you sweating. Which is exactly the point.

Published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, the small study looked at 11 moderately-trained men and women, and aimed to compare a high-intensity calisthenics workout (burpees) against a sprint interval cardio routine (performed on a stationary bike). The workouts consisted of doing the specific activity for 30 seconds at an all-out effort level, followed by four minutes of rest, repeated a total of four times.


What the researchers found was both exercises resulted in similar V02 max and heart rates. So, busting out as many burpees as you can in 30 seconds (aim for eight or more) delivers similar cardiovascular benefits to that of a more "traditional" cardio workout. The difference — burpees also count as a strength exercise, recruiting the muscles of your upper and lower body and core.

Impressed? So are we, which is why we'll definitely be working more of this total-body exercise into our daily sweat sessions. For an added challenge, try these five burpee variations.


Image Source: POPSUGAR Studios
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