Nothing makes your lungs work, nothing makes your heart pump, like the almighty burpee. You can feel them from the top of your head down to your toes. But what exactly do they work? And importantly, are burpees cardio, technically? Let’s dive in!
Are Burpees Cardio?
They certainly feel like it, and that’s because they are! Sure, burpees aren’t the steady-state cardio you experience when you spend an hour on the treadmill or do a marathon row. But think of it like this: Cardio is anything that raises your heart rate, gets you breathing harder, and strengthens your heart and lungs. We’d certainly say that burpees fall under that category.
Importantly, burpees aren’t steady-state cardio and are more akin to a sprint. And since sprinting offers so many benefits of its own, you’re going to experience some of them through burpees. Think about it: You never tell your friends, “Yeah! I’m gonna hit the burpees for an hour or so.” Instead, you’re knocking out reps as fast as you can as one part of your workout. They’re much more about explosiveness than endurance (although there is some overlap). By the way, we have a whole blog on how you can improve your explosiveness.
And here’s the good news: It doesn’t end there.
Burpees Build Strength, Too
It’s true. With burpees, you get a lot of bang for your buck.
When you lower yourself down to the ground, and especially when you push yourself back up again, you’re building that upper-body strength. In a way, you’re doing a disassembled push-up.
Plus, because a burpee technically includes a jump squat, you get to work on your lower body and core strength as well.
It’s one movement — one painfully spicy movement — but it offers immense rewards. Yes, burpees are good for you!
3 Tips for Mastering Burpees
The technique behind a burpee is simple enough, but here are a few pro tips to make them just a little bit easier.
1. Keep Your Feet and Hands Close
When you lower your hands to the ground, keep them close to your feet. When you jump your feet back in, aim to get them close to your hands. This ultimately gives you less work today since you’ll need to adjust your positioning less.
2. Don’t Resist Too Much on the Way Down
When you’re lowering your chest to the floor, try not to take too long. No, you don’t want to flop down onto the ground like a fish, but the more time you spend in that lowering phase, the more energy you use.
3. Remember What a Burpee *Really* Is
When you’re feeling yourself heading into the pain cave, just remember: All you’re doing is falling down and then standing up again. When you think about it like that, burpees don’t seem all that scary.
You might dread seeing them in a WOD but remember: Burpees do the body good.
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