Most people have a love/hate relationship with burpees - they love how great they are for burning calories and getting you in tip-top shape, but they hate doing them. Burpees can be found in just about any boot camp, interval or circuit-style class because they work your body from head to toe. Not only that, they get your heart racing more so than many other cardiovascular exercises.
But do not be fooled by the burpee once you master it. If you're a regular at them, you've probably noticed while they do not get easier, they do get more manageable. That is a true sign of progression and improved cardiovascular performance. It's also a sign that you need to change things by taking those burpees to the next level. That's right, just when you thought burpees couldn't get more difficult, along comes several burpee variations to rev up your routine. Here are our five fat-blasting favorites:
Burpee with a Tuck Jump: When you come up from a standard burpee, you usually jump high in the air bringing your arms above your head. The burpee tuck jump puts that in reverse so you bring your knees up as high as you can while keeping your arms down (or you can hit your knees as you bring them up). Make sure you bring your knees up as high as possible, preferably to your belly button if you can.
Burpee with a Side Extension: Just like a regular burpee, you're going to jump your feet out into a traditional push up position. However, instead of jumping straight out, you're going to jump your legs out to the side so your body is at a diagonal. Alternate sides when you do each burpee so you're not always going right or left.
Burpee with Jump Lunges: Jump lunges on their own are challenging, so when you combine them with burpees you can only imagine how hard you're going to have to work. Rather than coming up into a standard jump straight up into the air, you are going to explode immediately into two alternating jump lunges. So, your first jump lunge will have your right leg forward and then you immediately jump in the air bringing your left leg forward. Go right back down into your next burpee after that.
Burpee with a Box Jump: A burpee box jump combines two of the most taxing cardiovascular exercises. With a fairly high step in front of you, perform a burpee and then jump up onto the step when you come up rather than jumping straight up in place. The challenge really comes as you increase the height of your step as part of your progression.
Burpee Deck Squats: Here is a completely different way of doing a burpee and one that will work your legs. Place a mat on the floor and stand in front of it with your back to it. Now squat down to your toes, roll back on the mat bringing your legs as far back as you can and then roll back up (use one or both hands if you need help getting up). As soon as you stand up, go right into a standard burpee (chest to the floor, of course). This exercise combines upper body, lower body and core strength so you get a true full-body exercise with this variation.
If burpees aren't part of your regular routine, consider adding them to your program like yesterday...they are that good! Begin doing traditional burpees and work your way up to these more advanced variations. While they never get easy, you'll find that the more often you do them, the more manageable they become and before you know it, you are doing them faster and with less huffing and puffing after each one. Challenge yourself by doing sets of burpees or including them during your rest periods when weight lifting. Wherever and however you decide to do them, there is no doubt that your body will be burning tons of calories and blasting lots of fat!