This Is How Burpees Really Help You Get Fit

Burpees are hard work — they are high-intensity and target your whole body, and you might be tempted to just skip them. They really are so good for you, though. A 2016 study found that HIIT exercises like the burpee can improve blood sugar regulation, aerobic fitness, and cardiovascular function. The study had participants (27 sedentary men) do HIIT exercises for 30 minutes every week for 12 weeks. A 2015 study found that vigorous exercise like burpees can reduce your risk of early death. 

Burpees are a calisthenic exercise, meaning they use your body weight as resistance. According to Healthline, a 155-pound person who does 20 burpees in a minute can burn 12.5 calories. The more burpees you can do in one minute, the more calories you'll burn and the fitter you'll get. A burpee works the muscles in your arms, shoulders, chest, abs, butt, hips, and legs. 

Burpees and other HIIT exercises help you burn fat, according to a 2012 study. The researchers state that HIIT exercises burn more fat than steady aerobic exercise. They had 38 overweight and inactive men do 20 minutes of HIIT exercises three times a week for 12 weeks. As it turned out, the 60 minutes of exercise per week resulted in significant fat loss.

How to do burpees

Burpees are a combination of a pushup and a jump squat. Start in the squat position with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees bent, and back straight. Bring your hands to the floor in between your feet. Move your weight to your hands and kick your feet back so you end up in a pushup position. Lower yourself to the floor to complete one push up. Bring your feet back into the starting position. Jump straight up and reach your hands above your head. Get back into a squat position. That's one burpee. See how many you can do. 

If you can't do a burpee yet, that's okay. Make it a little easier by skipping the part that's the hardest for you. You could skip the pushup, the jump, or both until you can do the full burpee. Take it slow and work your way toward doing more. 

If you're looking for something more challenging, you can add a box jump, a Bosu ball, or dumbbells. With the box jump, you'd add the box jump and then use it for an incline on the pushup part, or you can just use it for the box jump and do a push up with no incline. With the Bosu ball, you'd hold it throughout the exercise with the ball side facing away from you. With dumbbells, it's the same thing. Hold them throughout the exercise, even when doing the pushup part.