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Reasons To Do Burpees Instead Of Running

4 min read

By Catherine Roberts

Medically Reviewed by Eric Leckie, PT

If you’ve ever attempted to lose weight, chances are you’ve given the three basic forms of cardiovascular exercise—running, cycling, and walking—a try. Of the three, running is easily the most intense and burns the most calories.

But running isn’t for anyone, particularly those with knee, foot, or hip problems. It also places a huge amount of strain on the heart and lungs, which can be difficult for many people. An excellent alternative to running may be burpees, which blend push-ups and squats and represent a full-body workout experience. Let’s take a look at the top reasons to ditch running in favour of the burps…

Burpees Burn Major Calories

Like running, burpees burn a lot of calories. That’s because they represent a full-body workout, utilizing muscles from your feet to your neck and shoulders. For this reason burpees are considered a high-intensity exercise, meaning they burn roughly 50 percent more fat than moderate exercises like cycling.

Burpees have also been shown to speed up the metabolism, helping the body burn calories over the course of a day. That means you’ll be burning calories without even doing anything.

Burpees Build Muscle Strength

If all one did was run or bike, they’d have powerful legs and a decent core, but weak arms, back, and shoulders. That’s because even though those exercises can burn lots of calories, they only work about half the body.

Burpees, on the other hand, provide a strength workout for the whole body. They place stress on the legs, core, chest, arms and shoulders. With every single rep, you’ll build up your glutes, hamstrings, abs, quads, and more.

Burpees Enhance Conditioning

Frustrated that you can’t get up a few flights of stairs without feeling winded? Burpees can help. Because it’s a full-body training experience, burpees build strength in many different areas.

That’s a critical part of improving endurance and maximizing the body’s overall conditioning. The key is heart rate, which burpees build up fast. So, if you’re looking to take on a new cardio-centric sport and don’t want to run all the time, give burpees a try.

Burpees Don’t Require a Gym

Having to go to a gym to get a workout is a great way to ruin an exercise regimen. It’s a huge pain to get in the car and drive to a place where you work out. Oh, and then there’s the awkwardness of exercising in front of other people.

However, burpees don’t require any equipment, which means they can be done at home at any time. All you need is a little bit of space, so push aside the coffee table and roll up the rug.

Burpees Won’t Take up Much Time

One of the worst parts of jogging to get in shape is that to burn a decent amount of calories, you need to go for a fairly long run (unless you’re sprinting, which can be hard to maintain). If you’re cycling, you’ve got to devote even more time.

However, burpees require far less time. That’s because they’re high intensity and work the entire body. It’s a fast-paced, dynamic and demanding form of exercise that will cut time out of your workout. Let’s face it, that’s perfect for busy people.

Burpees Offer Variety

There’s really only a few ways to run: you can run a long way slow, you can run a short route fast, or you can do sprints across a medium-sized route. Overall, it’s not the most dynamic exercise, which is why so many people get so very bored with running.

Burpees are different. You can incorporate many different simple actions to change them up and keep them interesting. You can do the standard burpee, or you can transition into a pull up, jumping squat, knee up, or box jump. You can perform multiple push-ups before transitioning. Be creative, but maintain your form.’

Considered The Toughest Workout

You know what’s a great way to boost your confidence and jump-start a lagging exercise regimen? Challenge yourself to do the one exercise that many fitness experts consider the toughest activity out there: burpees.

Challenging one’s self is an important part of sticking to any exercise regimen. And imagine how good it will feel when you build up the number of burpees you can do and start to see the pounds fly off!

Burpees Help You Perform Other Exercises

Maybe you don’t hate running or cycling. Maybe you just want to do something that will help you improve in those areas and give your boring old workout a much-needed revival. Burpees can do that.

That’s because burpees are a form of anaerobic training, or training that doesn’t last very long but requires a huge amount of energy with minimal oxygen. That can build the body’s anaerobic exercise capacity, making activities like running and biking a lot easier.

DPT, Doctor of Physiotherapy

Eric Leckie is a men's health Physiotherapist specializing in prostate cancer treatment. He completed his studies in Australia earning his Doctor of Physiotherapy from the University of Melbourne. He currently works in a private practice, in addition to owning his own Telehealth Physiotherapy clinic which focuses on treating men with prostate cancer.

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