I know it’s easy to get caught up in learning and perfecting the “sexy” exercises and movements. The ability to perform a muscle-up or a snatch is an impressive feat and the result of a lot of hard work and dedication; this is not a post discouraging anyone from setting challenging goals and taking intelligent steps to achieve those goals. Yet, sometimes those lofty goals can be overwhelming, or we can get so caught up in the details of a complicated project that we give up entirely. We think “getting fit” is a complicated process, but it’s not. It’s simple, not easy — and the same goes for the workouts that can get us there.

So today I’m making a case for the one movement you should be doing regularly to maintain mobility, motor control, metabolic conditioning and strength, regardless of your fitness level. Enter the burpee.

When the weather is this nice it's kind of a shame to go to the gym. Today's workout is 100 #burpees and a bunch of standup paddleboarding. #sup #lakelife

A post shared by Ashleigh VanHouten (@themusclemaven) on

A much discussed longevity test — developed by Brazilian researchers observing patients’ ability to get up off the floor from a sitting position without assistance — showed that middle-aged and elderly people who required the most assistance (requiring the use of both knees and hands to get up off the floor) were 6.5 times more likely to die during the study period than those who needed the least assistance. I don’t think we need a scientific test to understand that our ability to move our own body easily and painlessly from the floor to a standing position is about as useful as it gets! If you’re focused on functional rather than flashy fitness, you’ll admit that the old standbys like pushups, pullups, sprints, and yes, burpees are much more classically functional than snatches, cleans, or — ahem — leg pressing 10 plates. Can you get up off the floor? Can you pull yourself up from a ledge? Can you run away from someone or something dangerous? These are all very useful feats; it’s not often that you’ll have to snatch your bodyweight in a “real-world” situation.

A burpee is essentially the act of efficiently lowering yourself to the floor and then effectively getting back up again
. It uses your entire body, activates your core, requires mobility, and as anyone who has done more than 10 of them in a row knows, it’s metabolically challenging. You can do burpees anywhere, with no equipment and very little space.

If you’re a beginner:

If you fancy yourself a fit person:

Whether you’re a newbie who’s a little unsure of where or how to start your fitness journey, or if you’re a superstar working on bodyweight thrusters or backflips, don’t underestimate the power of adding the burpee into your daily or weekly routine.

Many of us already know that the best way to maximize health and minimize stress is to realign our diet and balance our hectic modern environment with the primal lifestyle our bodies crave; we just need some support getting there. The good news is, the journey of personal discovery and health can be extremely rewarding—and fun!

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