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This Burn-So-Good Burpee Workout Proves This Move Is the Cardio King

You've most likely done burpees since back in the day of gym class, and there's a reason we're all still hooked on them. It's the exercise you love to hate, but this bodyweight move is truly the total package, a perfect mix of high-intensity cardio and allover sculpting. (Also try this bodyweight workout for people who love to hate burpees.)

In fact, banging out 30-second sets of burpees will get you the same boost in fitness as doing sprints: They both crank your heart rate and VO2 max (the maximum amount of oxygen your body can use during exercise), researchers at the University of Georgia found. The one difference? Exercisers in the study who did the burpees also got a full-body strength workout. Not only that, but compared with other resistance exercises, such as squats, lunges, and planks, burpees burn up to three times the number of calories, a fat-melting 9.6 per minute, according to a recent report in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research

“Burpees are one of the most effective exercises for burning calories, and because they’re compound moves, you’re never working just a single muscle group,” says Shaun Jenkins, a trainer in New York City who, with YG Studios, has created a new class around this boot camp staple. “There are so many different ways to break down a burpee into separate strength moves and increase and decrease the difficulty, that when you put all the progressions together, the result is one killer workout,” he says. “I like to call it death by burpee.” (Want a month worth of burpees? Try our 30-DayBurpee Challenge.)

Ready for action? Try Jenkins’s ingenious burpee circuit, which alternates standard moves with fresh variations that will firm every muscle fiber you’ve got.

To heighten your calorie burn, move as fast as you can while maintaining proper form, Jenkins says. In 26 minutes, you’ll be dripping sweat and completely done with your strength and cardio. Win-win. 

Intensity: Hard (RPE:* an 8 or a 9out of 10)
Total time: 26 minutes
You'll need: Just your body weight
How it works: Warm up, then complete the exercises in order one time through, resting when instructed. Repeat the circuit once.
Calories Burned: 220 

Warm up

Do 1 minute of high knees. Then stand with feet hip-width apart, and squat. Stand, coming up onto balls
of feet and reaching overhead. Continue for 1 minute. Next, fold forward, walk hands out into plank, then perform 1 push-up. Walk hands back to standing. Continue for 1 minute, then repeat entire series once more. 

Basic Burpee

A. Stand with feet together. Crouch, and plant palms on floor in front of you. 
B. With abs tight, jump feet back to plank. 
C. Bend elbows to lower chest and thighs to the floor. 
D. Press up to plank and jump feet toward hands. 
E. Jump as high as you can, making sure keet are under shoulders before launching. Clap hands overhead.

Repeat for 1 minute.

High-knee Pop-up

A. Stand with feet hip-width apart, arms bent by sides. Quickly lift bent right knee to hip height, return to standing, then bring left knee up.
B. From standing, crouch, place palms on floor, and jump feet back to plank, lowering body to floor.
C. Explosively push up and jump feet to hands to land in a staggered position, knees bent with left foot forward.
D. Then jump as high as you can, landing softly with feet hip-width apart. Repeat this time landing with right foot forward.

Continue for 1 minute, alternating sides. 

Judo Roll with a Jump

A. Lie faceup on floor with knees tucked into chest and arms by sides.
B. Using your abs, roll up to a seated position and place feet on floor.
C. Pressing feet firmly into floor, rise to standing without using hands to push off; jump high.

Repeat for 1 minute.

Plank Reach

A. Start on floor in plank on forearms, elbows directly under shoulders and fingers spread wide.
B. Reach forward with extended right arm and touch floor in front of you. Return to start, switch sides, and repeat.

Continue alternating for 1 minute. Then rest for 1 minute. 

Burpee with Knee-tuck Jump

A. Stand with feet hip-width apart, then crouch and plant palms on floor.
B. Jump feet back to plank, then lower body to floor.
C. Press up to plank, then jump feet toward hands to come to standing.
D. From standing, squat, then jump, tucking knees toward chest and bringing palms to touch knees. Land with soft knees.

Repeat for 1 minute.

Squat Thrust with Push-up

A. Start on floor in plank on palms.
B. Jump feet to outside of palms and rise into a wide squat, bringing palms together in front of chest (as in prayer position), elbows bent by sides.
C. Then place palms back on floor and jump feet back into a plank; do 1 push- up.

Repeat for 1 minute.

Rolling Squat Burpee

A. Stand with feet hip-width apart, then lower into a deep squat, elbows bent by sides. 
B. Maintaining position, use momentum to roll back onto floor (stop when midback touches floor), then engage abs to quickly roll forward and come back to standing.
C. From standing, crouch, palms on floor, and jump feet back into plank. Jump feet toward hands and return to standing.

Repeat for 1 minute.

Boat-pose Hold

A. Start lying on floor with arms by sides, then engage abs to lift up into a V with arms straight out in front of you at shoulder height.

Hold for 1 minute. Then rest for 1 minute.  



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