Just the word “burpee” makes some wonder out loud out what it really means. It may have a funny name, but this exercise is no joke. A burpee is also known as an explosive push-up or squat thrust.

It is a full-body exercise and performed as follows:

  •  Begin in a standing position.
  •  Drop into a squat with your palms to the ground.
  •  Extend your feet back with a jump to land in a plank position.
  •  Return to the squat position with a jump.
  •  Come up to stand and bring your arms overhead to a clap, or come up to stand with a jump.

American psychologist, Royal H Burpee, originally developed the “burpee” test as a way to measure agility and coordination. Today, burpees are a popular workout because they work your entire body in a matter of seconds. When doing a burpee, you receive both cardio and strength benefits. In fact, burpees are often used during high-intensity training sessions.

A few tips for tackling the burpee like a pro:

  • Don’t be intimidated. If you can’t do a traditional burpee, ask your fitness instructor for helpful modifications.
  • Go slow. It’s okay to take your time so that you can complete the entire burpee from start to finish. Form should be more of a focus than speed.
  • Try not to eat or drink anything that will make you feel full prior to performing a burpee workout.
  • Burpees are a great exercise to do when you don’t have access to equipment or if you are limited on time.
  • Only move up to more challenging variations of the exercise when you feel you’ve achieved the perfect burpee and can sustain multiple reps.

So, what are you waiting for? Add a few burpees to your workout and burn those unwanted calories!

Anita Mirchandani, M.S, R.D, C.D.N received a Bachelor of Arts and then a Master of Science in clinical nutrition from New York University, and completed a dietetic internship at New York-Presbyterian hospital in 2011. She is now a practicing registered dietitian and recently co-founded FitMapped, a free ‘GPS for fitness’ concept that helps users find fitness easily and connect with fellow enthusiasts. Follow her @FitNutAnita for interesting updates of fitness and nutrition.