Every time I'm in an exercise class and burpees are included in a circuit, I usually (and audibly) groan.
Something about the distance traveled between jumping up in the air, and then jumping all the way down and back into a push-up seems like... too much. Or, how the kids say, "extra AF."
But apparently they're a really good exercise for you, and they target the whole body in just one fell swooping motion.
Personal trainer Michael Mackin from MMfitness.ie tells Elite Daily all about the many wonders of burpees for your body:
They increase your heart rate, so they are great for conditioning, and they are great for strength, as you are using your arms and chest in the press-up and engaging your legs when jumping.
He also says you should “reach for the stars” when jumping -- an undeniably adorable goal -- and he stresses burpees are particularly great because they require no equipment whatsoever.
Point taken -- they're worth a shot, I guess.
But rest assured, there are ways to fit them into your workout that aren't totally overwhelming and bootcamp-y.
1. Slow It Down
As explained in the video, go slow when it comes to burpees.
Form is more important that speed, so getting used to them, even if you are just going through the motions, is what really matters.
You can also just slow down half of it if you're feeling impatient.
Say you're a really badass jumper, for example, but getting down to the ground takes a little more effort or coordination than you're used to -- let that part go slow, and really "reach for those stars" on the jump.
2. Modify Your Movements
As Buddhist teacher Pema Chödrön says, start where you are.
If you can't do a fully formed burpee, ask yourself what you can do.
What about just jumping back into a plank instead of a push-up, or dropping your knees into a modified push-up?
Or you can try raising your arms when you stand back up, instead of jumping every time until you get the hang of it.
3. Don't Push Your Body To Do What It Can't
You have to start somewhere, right?
Go into your burpees with a focus on where exactly to place your body, rather than being obsessed with doing 100 reps right off the bat.
Experiment with how many you can do at a time, and set a realistic goal for yourself, like trying between five and 10 at a time.
4. Pepper Them Into Your Workout Routine
When I take boxing classes, the instructor will often tack on a few burpees here and there between exercises.
It makes it a bit of a surprise hearing him just yell out "burpees!" at random, and plus, just doing a few at a time really adds up, and makes the whole process much less overwhelming.
And believe me, as someone who dreads these, when you get into a rhythm, they really start easing up.
5. Or, On The Flip Side, Make It Your Only Workout Of The Day
Of course, this means you'll have to push yourself to do more burpees, but who doesn't like a little challenge?
Try doing 10 burpees at a time, taking a moment in between each round to steady your breath.
Sure, it's painful while it lasts, but then, before you know it, you're all done for the day, and you've worked your whole dang body!