BeWOW: Learn to Love Burpees

Sure, burpees are tough, but that’s no reason to skip them at the gym. This week’s workout will have you singing their praises in no time.

>> Want more BeWOW workouts? Check out the archive.

Burpees, burpees, burpees. If you don’t love ’em already, you will after this workout. When you do them in quick succession, burpees are a great way to combine cardio with conditioning—a win-win in the exercise world.

So what’s a burpee you ask? It’s like an up-down in football. You start standing, then put your hands on the floor and jump your feet back so you’re in push-up position. Do a push-up (it’s okay to drop to your knees if you need to), then jump your feet in towards your hands and stand back up. And that’s a burpee.

In this week’s workout, you’re going to complete a burpee ladder, working your way down the list of exercises below and then back up again. So in the first set, you’ll do 10 burpees and 15 squat jumps. In the second set, you’ll do eight burpees, 20 squat jumps and 10 pushups. The next set includes six burpees and three other exercises, then four burpees and four other exercises, and so on. After you finish your set with two burpees, you get to take a break from burpees for a hard core four-minute abs session. Then you’ll work your way up the ladder, from the two-burpees set back up to 10. Make sense? Great! Now get to work.

BeWOW: Learn to Love Burpees

Set 1
10 burpees
15 squat jumps

Set 2
8 burpees
15 squat jumps
10 push-ups

Set 3
6 burpees
15 squat jumps
10 push-ups
20 lunge jumps

Set 4
4 burpees
15 squat jumps
10 push-ups
20 lunge jumps
10 pull-ups (or 20 rows with a band, weights, or machine)

Set 5
2 burpees
15 squat jumps
10 push-ups
20 lunge jumps
10 pull-ups
20 alternating overhead shoulder press

Four-Minute Abs
1 minute plank
30-seconds of crunches with feet flat on the floor
30-seconds of side plank (facing right)
30-seconds of side plank (facing left)
30-seconds of crunches with legs lifted, knees bent to 90 degrees
1 minute plank

*Once you’ve finished your abs, go back up the ladder, starting with Set 5, then Set 4, Set 3, Set 2, and Set 1.

Explanation of exercises
*Click the links for video demos

Burpee: Just like an up-down in football. Put your hands on the ground, jump your feet out behind you so you’re in push-up position, lower to the ground, bring your feet back in, and stand up.

Squat jumps: Stand with feet hip width apart and perform a squat, dropping your rear until your knees are just behind your toes. As you stand, propel yourself upwards and jump. Return to standing and squat again.

Push-up: Start lying face down with your chest on the floor, with hands facing forward and palms down in line with your shoulders; elbows should be pointing back. Push up until arms are extended (the inside of the elbow should be facing forward) and drop back down.

Lunge jumps: Start standing with feet together and step forward with the left leg into a lunge, bending knee to about 90 degrees. Jump as you stand back up and switch legs before you land, so your right leg is forward. Lunge again, then jump, putting your left leg forward, and so forth. Left and right counts as one.

Pull-ups: Perform these gripping the bar with palms facing forward. If pull-ups are too challenging, do rows instead.

Alternating overhead shoulder press: Stand with feet hip width apart and knees bent slightly. Holding a dumbbell in each hand, start with arms up so elbows form a 90 degree angle, palms facing forward. Press one arm up slowly toward the ceiling. Return to starting position and switch arms. Left and right is one.

>> Did you complete this week’s BeWOW? Tell us how you did in the comments! Or, feel free to tweet at us about it using the hashtag #BeWOW. Check out all the BeWOW workouts here.


Audrey McKenna Hasse is the owner of A.M.Fit, a personal training and healthy consultation business on the Main Line. You’ll find her workouts every Monday right here on Be Well Philly.

Photo: Shutterstock

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