If you’ve been around here for a while, you’ll know I have a complicated relationship with one exercise in particular. That’s right, and we’re talking about the infamous burpee. So today, I thought we’d have a little heart-to-heart about why I have some strong feelings about this notorious full-body blaster.
Now, before the burpee enthusiasts start sending me hate mail, let me clarify: I don’t hate burpees. In fact, they’re one heck of an exercise. They’re like the Swiss army knife of workouts – compact but packing a real punch. If you want a movement that targets the whole body and pushes your cardio, burpees are your go-to. So yes, I do have a healthy respect for them.
However, just because they’re effective doesn’t mean I have to like them. Here’s why:
1. They’re Brutally Exhausting
The first and most obvious reason is that burpees are just plain tiring. Combining a squat, a plank, a push-up, and a jump into one seamless movement is undeniably intense. But, when I’m in the middle of a set, my heart is pounding, my lungs are on fire, and every muscle in my body is asking me why I’m doing this to myself.
2. The Risk of Injury
Then there’s the risk factor. If done incorrectly, Burpees can be a quick ticket to Snap City. The rapid change from a high-impact jump to a plank position puts a lot of stress on your wrists, knees, and lower back. As someone who’s had a run-in with a herniated disc, I always cautiously approach burpees.
3. The Complexity
The complex nature of the burpee is another reason I’m not its biggest fan. There’s a lot to keep track of in terms of form, and it’s easy for things to go awry when you’re tired. So while it’s an efficient exercise, it’s not always the most practical.
4. The Punishment Association
Finally, does anyone else remember doing burpees as punishment in your CrossFit class? Or being the last one standing in a CrossFit AMRAP (As Many Reps As Possible) workout, the whole class waiting while you finish your burpees? Yeah, those aren’t fond memories.
So there you have it, folks. My love-hate relationship with burpees. They’re fantastic for fitness, but boy, do they make you work for it! And yet, despite my strong reservations about them, I’ve managed to overcome my distaste and incorporate them into my regular regimen. Here’s how I made my peace with the burpee and how you might, too.
1. Accepting the Benefits
I won’t lie; accepting the benefits of burpees was a hard pill to swallow. After all, it’s tough to acknowledge the advantages of something you despise. But the truth is, burpees offer a powerhouse of benefits – they target all major muscle groups, boost endurance, and enhance agility and coordination. Knowing this, I couldn’t write them off entirely.
2. Prioritizing Proper Form
I believe burpees get such a bad rap because they’re difficult to do correctly, especially when you’re just starting out or are fatigued. And poor form can lead to injury. Therefore, I took it upon myself to learn and perfect the burpee form. No rush, no shortcuts, just focusing on nailing each movement and transition. This significantly improved my confidence and performance.
3. Variety is the Spice of Life… and Workouts
There are more versions of burpees than you might think, and exploring them was a game-changer for me. From one-legged burpees to burpee box jumps, the variations were endless, and each one presented a unique challenge, and I explored them all. This kept things interesting, allowed me to adapt the exercise to my fitness level and goals, and helped me find versions I actually enjoyed.
4. Setting Burpee-Specific Goals
At some point, I decided to make my feud with burpees more interesting by setting specific goals around them. For instance, I challenged myself to do a certain number of burpees in a minute or to complete a full workout with burpees without stopping, or I began by adding a few burpees to my warm-ups or as a finisher to my workouts. These goals gave me something to work towards and made the burpee process feel more like a game than a chore. So, slowly but surely, I increased the number and frequency of burpees. This allowed my body to adapt, and it helped me feel less overwhelmed by the exercise.
So, there you have it – my transformation from a burpee hater to someone who sees the value they bring to my fitness regimen. Remember, it’s okay not to love every exercise you do. What’s important is that you find a way to embrace the journey, even the complex parts. Because, at the end of the day, it’s these challenges that help us grow stronger and more resilient.
Until next time, keep striving, keep sweating, and maybe, just maybe, give burpees another shot. After all, they might surprise you!
Keep it up, team! P.S I still have a NO Burpee Policy 🙂
March is the founder and owner of The Barbell Beauties which she started in 2015. She is from the Philippines and currently lives in beautiful Thailand with her American husband and daughter. She is an avid Crossfitter and has just started her journey into Muay Thai (kickboxing).