Burpees might be the ideal way to squeeze in a workout—here’s how they can help you ride faster and stronger. – By Kelsey Cannon
Burpees make everything burn: Your muscles, your lungs, and most importantly, a ton of kilojoules, making them a great exercise for days when you don’t have a lot of time or access to a bike. The move — which entails going from push-up position to a jump and back to a push-up position again—is so tough that performing about 10 fast-paced reps is just as effective at revving your metabolism as a 30-second all-out sprint, according to a recent study.
In the study, researchers enlisted military trainees for something called the Wingate Anaerobic Power Test: a 30-second sprint with 4 minutes of rest in between for 4 rounds. Some military trainees performed 30 seconds of sprinting on a stationary bike, while the others did 30 seconds of burpees as quickly as possible. The result: Both high-intensity exercises resulted in serious metabolic and cardiovascular spikes.
But here’s the difference: “Pedalling on a stationary bike is a relatively simple motor pattern, whereas the burpee involves some degree of agility, balance, coordination, and total body strength” thanks to the exercise’s multiple steps, says lead researcher.
Since the burpee is a total-body exercise, you will feel the muscle-building benefits from head to toe, instead of just in your legs and lungs. Adding such strength work to your routine can go a long way toward helping you pedal pain-free.