Burpees Are Overrated. Try These 3 Alternatives Instead.

·3-min read
Burpees Are Overrated. Try These 3 Alternatives Instead.

REJOICE, GYM-GOERS: The news you’ve been waiting for is finally here. You should stop doing burpees!

No exercise has been overused—and misused—like this try-hard mashup of sprawls and jumps that have earned an intimidating and exhausting reputation as one of the toughest moves in the gym. From a practical standpoint, however, burpees offer virtually no athletic or functional purpose, at least according to Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S., and MH Advisory Board member David Otey, C.S.C.S.

Even worse, the burpee can actually put you in harm’s way, especially if you're under the care of an uninformed or distracted trainer. Burpees require a good amount of deceleration as you hit the floor, so there's a high risk for injuries to your wrists, shoulders, or elbows.

Simply put, the burpee misses the mark in so many ways, from functionality to being flat out dangerous. There are just better conditioning and athleticism-enhancing options for you to choose from than this highly overrated exercise,

Why You Should Stop Doing Burpees

Burpees Are Used to Fill Time

Just because it seems that every group fitness instructor inserts rounds of burpees into their programs, doesn’t mean it’s the best use of your training time. In many instances, especially in quick HIIT workouts filled with quick-burst exercises to elevate your heart rate, the burpee may be a trainer’s default “conditioning” exercise. It shouldn’t be that way.

Burpees Offer No Core Stability

A properly executed burpee—performed with your abs and glutes tight with each rep— wouldn’t be such a bad exercise. However, in most cases, the goal is to perform as many reps as possible in a short period of time, all form is tossed out the window. Because the burpee’s flops and kick-out movements are fatiguing, it’s nearly impossible to simultaneously focus on core stability while you're trying to survive the round.

Burpees Are Not a Full-Body Move

Why are we giving such pushback to the burpee? Because despite its reputation as the ultimate full-body exercise, there are zero pulling movements involved with the burpee. None! So it’s not as effective as advertised.

3 Burpee Alternatives

  • Bear Crawl

3 sets of 40 seconds on, 20 seconds off

Bear crawls are great for addressing core stability and movement patterns that you may not normally incorporate into your daily routine, which will allow you to use up quite a bit of energy the loner you perform these. Another advantage is that because there is virtually no deceleration force with each move forward, bear crawls eliminate the pounding your shoulders take with burpees.

  • Cardio Row

3 sets of 40 seconds on, 20 seconds off

True, it’s not as accessible as the burpee and it's not a bodyweight movement, but using this machine is the perfect cardio movement that covers all bases in our everyday lives — from aggressive hip extension each time we row back, to horizontal pulling action, something you don’t get from a burpee. In other words, rowing works our body the way it needs to work in our day-to-day lives.

  • Jump Squats

Work for time or reps as needed

Just take the sprawl (and much of the risk of injury) out of the equation. This is a great option especially as we get older because it is a simple but effective power training move. You’re also changing levels, and getting all the fatigue and conditioning you would from a burpee, but with zero of the pounding associated with that Overrated move.

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