There are many things that come to mind when we hear the word "burpee," including, but not limited to: torture, pain, burning, fatigue, exhaustion, dread, sweat, and maybe even tears. But, according to new research published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, it might be time refresh our relationship with the seemingly nightmarish exercise.
For the study, researchers asked 11 participants (eight men and three women) to complete either a four-round sprint interval session (30 seconds of all-out stationary-biking sprints with four minutes of recovery), or a high-intensity interval training workout (30 seconds of “as many as you can” burpees, followed by four minutes of active recovery). Both types of workouts resulted in similar cardiovascular benefits, which means you can have a quick, effective HIIT workout without having to leave your living room — or invest in expensive equipment.
If you’re not familiar with a burpee, here’s your primer: Start standing, then squat down until your palms touch the floor. Now, jump your legs back, landing in the top of a push-up position (do a push-up if you want to kick up the intensity). Then, jump your feet back in, stand, and jump straight up. When you land, immediately move into the next rep. Do a few in a row, and you’ll feel your heart racing.
Granted, burpees aren’t exactly a “fun” substitution for sprints. But, they are effective. And, unlike sprints on an interval bike, the move incorporates the muscles of both your upper and lower body. You win this round, exercise science.