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Burpees for Bodyweight Strength Training

Knee jumps are one type of explosive muscle-building exercise that form part of a bodyweight strength training regimen; burpees are another. Burpees require quite a bit of physical fitness, in keeping with the other bodyweight strength training exercises, but a good calisthenics program should be enough to prepare you for these exercises without any additional intermediate training.

Although their name sounds rather silly, burpees are a very powerful exercise for adding fitness and muscle mass to your body. They are highly compound, meaning that they work a large number of different muscle groups simultaneously, and have a wide array of variants, permitting you to focus on specific sinews, add greater challenge to the exercise, or simply do something a little different.

Burpees are an underutilized form of calisthenics. Many people interested in calisthenics or even the bodyweight strength training branch of this fitness system overlook these exercises in favor of better known maneuvers such as knee jumps or pull-ups. However, if you are truly dedicated to muscle-building through calisthenics, burpees are a powerful tool of bodily development which you should definitely include in your regular workout routine.

Burpees affect nearly the entire human physique, and with some of the more complex variants, they definitely work every muscle you have, including those in your face as you grit your teeth and clench your jaw in effort! Your stamina and muscle mass will both develop rapidly under the intensive effects of burpees; your cardiovascular system will be expanded and strengthened; and your body will burn calories, lose fat, and get trimmed down rapidly using burpees.

burpees for bodyweight strength training with bodyweight burn

Basic Burpee Methods

The burpee, in its most basic form, is a heavy-duty combination of the squat and the pushup. You should aim to perform a burpee rapidly – this is an exercise meant to maximize the effect of “explosive” muscle efforts, though repetitions will increase your endurance strongly. Do burpees as quickly as you are able, though you will naturally be slower at first and will only build speed up after several days or a week.

The burpee starts in a typical exercise stance – standing with your feet at shoulder width apart, back straight, and arms at your sides. From here, descend into a squat with your hands placed palm-down on the floor at slightly more than shoulder width. Without pausing, pivot your body backwards, resting your weight on your arms, and extend your legs straight so that you end up in the pose for doing pushups – body rigid between vertical arms and toes resting on the floor.

Do not pause for an instant, but instead pull your body back forward into a squat, and from this pose, shift your arms back behind you, and immediately perform a knee jump. Alternatively, you can simply leap up from the squat. Be sure to use some “explosive” motion rather than just rising to your feet again.

If you have not yet completed your repetitions, you should immediately begin the next burpee, or as quickly as you can force your body into it, at least. Take note that this is an extremely demanding, powerful full body workout that relies on a series of explosive movements, most of which use a good portion of your body weight for resistance.

Enhanced Burpees with Pushups

Even greater burpee rigor is achieved by adding a pushup to the “center” of the burpee routine. This requires good coordination and is tough enough so you should master the basic burpee before attempting it. When you go down to the floor from your squat, fold your arms down to touch your chest to the floor at the same time as you kick your feet back into the pushup pose.

Push up with your arms as you retract your legs into the squat preparatory to your ending leap. This will make an already intense exercise even more demanding.

As an intermediate form to build the strength and coordination needed to carry out this maneuver, you can instead throw your legs back into the “plank position”, lower your knees to the floor, lower you chest in a pushup, then pull your legs into the squat while lifting with your arms.

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