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Are Burpees Good For You?

Transcript of the video:

Welcome back to the barbell therapy podcast. I’m your host Dr. Brett Scott and with me is my co host Dr. Connor bum bossy. So got 100 More going so far. Fantastic. Look, look at me on living life. Come on. It’s coffee, you know, I got coffee on deck. Sam. Just started taking my before again supplements too. So hopefully feeling the energy from those coming in. That sounds riveting. Well, I’ve had a couple people asked me to do a whole podcast on my whole journey with this functional medicine thing and what I’m doing so that’s that’s in the streamlined, don’t worry. Well, we’ll go down that route pretty soon. But um, I’m going to Kearney, Connor, what are your thoughts on burpees?

I always joke whenever I’m doing a fitness console day, whenever I asked him like, is there one exercise that you won’t do? And then I give the example for myself. I tell them I don’t care if breath programming for me if Anthony’s program mean for me, I will never do a burpee if it’s written down in my program. So if that tells you how I feel about it, I will not do them.

Yeah, Sam. And for me as a coach, too. It’s something I’m probably never going to program in the one exercise. I think I would never programmed for anyone on unless it’s one certain condition where there’s 1%, right? There’s always the 1% of are you a savage, high level crossfitter you’re going to the open for the CrossFit Games. And burpees are in the competition that you need to train for them. And I guess for the sake of specificity, we’ll train burpees. But other than that, I’m not going to touch these things. That’s an outlier, though, right? Yeah. And so So for most people listen to this podcast, whether you’re a coach, or you’re trying to get in shape, you’re trying to not get hurt. Burpees typically are not going to be for you. Again, unless you’re this like savage crossfitter. There’s just there’s really no point. I don’t, I don’t get hmm.

Is there any possible upside? Ah, what are they good at? Like, what are they for? Maybe if you want to take a nap after. So, like, so I want to nap. I want to just go through this and explain this to people because some people disagree with me, I see a lot of coaches do them. I think in the group exercise sphere, they’re done a lot. Because it’s easy, you don’t have to think about it, it’s hard. And it gets people tired. But tired doesn’t necessarily get us in any form of shape. And it also doesn’t give us any physical traits of being bigger, stronger, faster, or having better endurance for the things that matter in life. Unless throwing yourself at the floor and jumping up as fast as you can is what you want. So again, what are burpees good for they can make you tired. That’s about it. There are many other things that can make you tired, though, right?

Exactly. There’s so many other things that can make you tired, make you feel like you worked out. So from my perspective, as a coach, if I have someone that’s just getting into working out, or has been working out for a while they want to up the ante on their weight loss or anything else. There’s so many other things I can throw at you. And there’s so many reasons for that as well. So just in one session alone, there’s so much we have the ability to teach people as coaches, as physical therapists, as a group X instructor that I don’t need to throw a burpee at you. Because there’s plenty of other things I can do that are going to give you a more specific trait of strength, endurance, cardio, respiratory, endurance, muscle endurance. And most of these things I would give someone instead of this are not going to get you easily as hurt either. There’s so many times back when I used to coach group fitness classes and things and in this gym, I was at like burpees were a lot of the workouts for some of the coaches and I’d have to kind of CO coach with people. And it’s like, we’d go to do an exercise. I go, I can’t do this today. My wrist hurts. Oh, I can’t do this. I hurt my shoulder. Oh, like, I hurt my back of how burpees burpees burpees burpees Well, a bit of a common theme there, huh? Everyone always was getting hurt doing burpees. And it’s like why it’s like, well, we didn’t fit the major prerequisites to do a burpee the right way. And there’s a lot of them too. There’s a lot of stuff you need to be able to do to not hurt yourself in a burpee.

Yeah, so Connor, what? What things do you see when people do burpees what things do we need a number of things, but part of it too is just knowing how to actually touch the ground. The first one is definitely gonna be scapular control as you accept weight through the shoulder. Also risk mobility as you come down and be able to go into flexion next time A little bit of torso stabilization, and pelvic control. As you come down, down, you’re not putting a ton of force on your lumbar spine, joint mechanics at the hip and ankle to make sure that you can actually receive the way through your lower extremities, you go up and down. And then everybody talks about having huge endurance and stuff like that and fatigue. But the worst part of it all, is you’re only going to get worse biomechanically, as you get more tired. So the longer and longer we go through these burpees and workouts, like, the worst part is when you see it on a whiteboard, and it’s like 100 burpees for a time, and I’m just like, those last 10 are so much more high risk than the first time. And if you can’t really quantify it, but you know, under fatigue, your biomechanics are going to get way worse.

Yeah, and, like, if we break the whole burpee down, it people kind of see it as simple but it’s, if we look at it, from the perspective of training load, like it’s actually a pretty high level task, depending too, on how the burpees performed. So are you throwing yourself at the floor? Are you lunging down to the floor? Are you kicking your feet back? Right, so yeah, I mean, to be able to do even 10 burpees? Yeah, I, I need to make sure I can first do like, at least 20 solid push ups where I can see that you know, where your scapula is, your shoulder blade is and that you have good control of it that you can brace for impact when you throw yourself at the floor. Right? It kind of Toy Story. It’s like I’m falling with style.

Yeah. And then it even if I was gonna have someone do burpees like a lot of the people that end up doing burpees can’t do the prerequisite exercises I would do as a as a progression before or a lateralization to a burpee, right? So like, can these people do stir the pot? Can they do body saws with the sliders? All these things that we need for like lumbo pelvic core stabilization that just don’t get hit? You know, beforehand is a prerequisite now we just have people jumping into purpose. Yeah, and jumping to jumping is probably the biggest one of we’re jumping up and down 100 times, like, Do these people know how to jump? Do they know how to use ankle, knee and hip mechanics? So and have these people practice like box jumps for, I don’t know, at least six months before jumping into burpees. But in many cases, these people go to these gyms and it’s just right into it. Let’s do burpees which is a significantly demanding exercise mechanically. And so for anyone that’s listening going, huh, this guy these guys are right, like let’s let’s maybe think of something else that we can do instead of a burpee. Maybe we’re on the right track maybe. Maybe we know something here. So what do we do instead of burpees.

Oh, that’s so many good options. My first one that I love, I love like sled work. I think for general work capacity. There is nothing more bang for your buck than sled work. Also for I can go for any population you can load it up, no matter what weight they like. You can start superlight and get super heavy and guess what? The muscles are only working concentric li they’re only shortening there is no eccentric load to sleds. So that’s why I love that even for athletes and season sleds or money. I will never have an athlete do Ober. Regardless also sprinting, and just general running work. We also can do bike work the rower school nerd lockup.

Let’s, let’s back up for a second. Now I’m ranting for once.So so the sled is a whole lot like sprinting to mostly Absolutely. Both of those are a whole lot more, have a whole lot more skill acquisition to real life and real world application. Then throwing yourself at the floor, unless you’re seeing them more athletic. They’re more athletic, absolutely functional, more functional. I know some people out there hate that word, but they’re they’re definitely more things you can learn from from these that are going to translate over into real world performance. Then the burpee so continue on Sorry to cut you off there.

I went I get passionate about it. Now sometimes I go on a rant, hanging out with you too much. On top of sleds will whether you’re going heavy and you’re going at more of a march pace. You can also sprint though, is lighter and focus on more of repeatability. So sprint, recover sprint recover on bikes and rowers, we can do either interval work or long, sustained work. And I think the coolest part about a lot of this now is with the integration of heart rate technology and which we are now implementing at architect fitness. By the way. I love the fact that now we can see how much time it takes for people to bring their heart rate back down. And we can essentially make their programming and conditioning based off of how fit are you and The coolest part is because it’s customizable. You can have a D, one athlete next to 60 year old weekend warrior. And you’ll see the zones changing. And you can see how hard they’re working. And they can still get coached in a very similar manner. Whether they’re doing burpees, though, or a rower or bike, much healthier options.

Yeah, absolutely. And if we just think about this, if we just took the burpee and broke it down into component parts, right? What I would say is it ends up looking a whole lot like a pretty legit, scientifically backed strength and conditioning program where instead of doing burpees, I would probably have someone break that up into Let’s start our workout with some plyometric box jumps, hops, you know, lateral bounding exercises, things like that. And then within the middle of their workout somewhere would be something like a push up some ab work, be it body sauce, stir the pot, dead bugs, planks, things like that. So that that next position, right, and then after that, I would go into something like the metabolic conditioning at the end of a workout, which we could do. Yes, the sled, the bike, the rower, sprinting, basically, anything that gets you tired, but in a low impact, low demand way. That’s just so much more beneficial for long term success. Because I think the other issue is a lot of people get into the burpee, because they want to get in shape, and they want to do it fast. And the burpee is good at making you tired and maybe burning some calories. But if you keep getting hurt doing them because you don’t have the pre RX, well, your success is going to be stagnated. Because you can’t stay healthy. So it’s like, let’s slow down just a little bit, so that we can make a lot more progress in the long term.

Yeah, burpees are definitely not sustainable by any means, especially if you’re doing high volume and stuff like that. Yeah. And I think the other big thing is, if we look at that, and how we just program, a traditional type of strengthing edition workout, we have Plyometrics, at the beginning, we have some strength based movements for our upper body in the middle, we have some core towards the end, and then we have conditioning, when you look at a burpee, we have to kind of think to ourselves, well, when, when is the best time to do these anyways, because if I’m going to do them, I shouldn’t do them at the end of a workout when you’re already tired. But we have a ton of demand on the body to perform these kind of higher level tasks. But I also don’t want you to get hurt. But then in the same breath, I don’t want to do them at the beginning because I don’t want you to get tired. For all the work you still need to do. There are no good options here. There are no good options, which is why they just shouldn’t be programmed in the first place. And this is why we should just break them up into a smarter, more intelligent type of programming over doing burpees.

Mic drop. I mean, that’s boom. I got my points I’m passionate about so i i burpees. i One of the things that infuriated me. So excuse me, if I did rant a little bit, there’s definitely that point where it’s just like, there is no logic behind it. Unless you are competing in CrossFit who did invent the burpee do we know? I don’t wanna Fair enough. All right. Well, that is all for today, folks. I think that covers what we needed to for why you basically shouldn’t do burpees ever, because I didn’t want to always cop out. Yeah, the 1% club. So if you guys liked this podcast, please like rate and share it. And if you have any questions or want to hear more content on these different topics of strength rehab, and fitness, feel free to shoot us a message or visit our website barbell therapy and performance comm shoot us a message on Instagram at barbell therapy. Thanks for listening. Take care.

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