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Exercise of the week: Burpees provide a full body workout

Burpees start in a squat, move down into a plank (seen above), goes from a plank to a pushup, go back up into a squat and end in a jump. Photo by Faith Chojar.
Burpees start in a squat, move down into a plank (seen above), goes from a plank to a pushup, go back up into a squat and end in a jump. Photo by Faith Chojar.

by Faith Chojar, staff reporter

One of the most hated exercises sadly presents itself as one of the most effective. Burpees, a combination of a squat, plank, pushup and jump have made their way onto the imaginary list of exercises that provides total body conditioning, all in one swift move.

Burpees begin in a standing position with a person’s hands at their sides. The person then squats down, placing their hands on the floor. With their hands firmly placed on the floor, they kick their legs back in a semi jump and end up in a plank position.

Following the plank is a push up, lowering until the body is completely on the ground. They then push themselves back up into a plank position and kick their legs back into a squat. From the squat, they jump up and end back standing.

Although this task seems like it has far too many steps to be done quickly, burpees are done in one move and are done fast. They combine strength training and cardio.

“I hate burpees. They’re so tiring and make me sweat so much and I hate sweating, but sadly somehow they’re a great workout that makes everything burn after a little while,” gym goer Karl Alfaro said.

Squatting properly primarily works a person’s hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes, hips and groin. Contrary to popular belief, squatting is not harmful to a person’s knees or lower back. When done with correct form, squats can help strengthen the knees and back. When done using weights (which should not be done while doing burpees, but can be done as it’s own exercise) squatting also engages abdominal, oblique and shoulder muscles.

Holding a plank position looks simple but can be extremely difficult for many. Planking helps develop core strength as well as working the shoulders, arms and glutes.

Push ups, generally a chest workout actually works many muscles within. Push-ups exercise the pectorals, triceps and anterior deltoids. Holding the abdominal muscles the same way as in the plank also provides abdominal training. Jumping provides cardio.

Being a combination of three exercises, burpees prevail as one of the most potent total body workouts. Torturous and helpful all in one.

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