Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Edit Your Workout with a Tabata Burpee Set

While there are some of us that relish working out–the chance to flex muscles, purge pores with sweat, gulp down air–there is surely an equal or greater number of us who do not enjoy it–who do it to keep weight off, keep some muscle tone, to offset an otherwise sedentary lifestyle. For the latter category, the question becomes how do you do as much good for your body as efficiently as possible? There is a one word answer for that question. It’s burpee.

A burpee is a single exercise that involves a squat, leg thrust, pushup and jump. Watch the video above to see it performed. It works every upper and lower muscle you have in one continuous–and grueling–calisthenic motion.

No equipment or gym required.

Think you’re not strong enough. Think again. There are a million variations to cut intensity: Do bent leg pushups, use a chair to reduce the depth of squat, do your pushup against a table, don’t jump…you could literally make a nonagenarian adapted  burpee (see one example of modified burpee below). There are also a million ways to add intensity.

One of the ways to truly maximize your burpee experience is to use the Tabata method. Tabata, named after Olympic trainer Izumi Tabata, is a form of high intensity interval training (HIIT), that requires 20 seconds of maximal effort, followed by ten seconds rest. You repeat this exercise/rest set eight times. Four minutes and you’re done.

One study (Gibala et al) showed that 2.5 hours of HIIT training had the same muscular and endurance benefits of 10.5 hours of specific endurance training. Another study reports that HIIT exercise is better at burning fat than aerobic exercises. (Note that HIIT can be performed with virtually any exercise and Tabata is just one form of HIIT.)

All of this runs counter to our aerobic-centric exercise world, where gyms are lined with elliptical machines and treadmills. Don’t get us wrong, aerobic exercise is great, and walking is still probably exercise supreme. But if you want to get stronger and leaner faster, nothing beats HIIT like Tabata. And if you want a complete exercise, few things outside of waterpolo do it like the burpee.

A proper warmup like a brisk walk, jog or jumping rope is highly recommended when doing HIIT to avoid injury. If you have health concerns, consult an expert. And consider adding something like a Tabata burpee set to your existing routine (maybe swap it for a cardio session) rather than replacing it altogether. See how it goes.