Doing Burpees (a.k.a. Squat Thrusts) is a total body exercise that can really challenge and increase aerobic capacity.

It is an athletic movement perfect for high intensity circuits or intervals that combine resistance training with cardio. Their reputation as top-notch fat burners and fitness builders is well deserved. Some people call them a “no excuses” exercise and workout. That’s because no equipment or large space is needed. You can do them almost anywhere. Are you traveling or pressed for time? Do this exercise.

If you are a beginner, out-of-shape, or unfamiliar with the movement, start at the beginners’ level. Take it slow at first. As your fitness improves, move to the intermediate level. Get comfortable with proper form at the intermediate level before speeding up. Some baby-boomers and seniors will progress to the challenging advanced level. Great! Aim for it. But even at the beginners’ level you are engaging most of the muscles in your body and at the same time getting in a nice stretch.

The video

For the purpose of demonstration, the movements in the video are done at moderate speed. Beginners should not do them any faster than shown. As your fitness level improves you may want to challenge yourself by speeding up. For example, set a timer for a certain number of seconds and see how many you can do in a given time period. But remember to work up to the challenge gradually.

There is nothing inherently dangerous in doing squat thrusts, if you are in good health and do them properly. But before you start your first set, watch the video a few times to create a mental picture of how to do them. People only hurt themselves when their form is sloppy, so concentrate on what you are doing. Keep a nice straight line from head to toes when in the thrust position. Don't sag in the middle. Breathe naturally and often.

At the advanced level, burpees are a highly dynamic movement that can build explosive power and a high degree of fitness.

Return from Burpees to the Exercise Demonstrations page.