The Burpee trains almost every major muscle group in the body.
Read this blog for a detailed analysis. If the Burpee is done correctly it will train the pushing muscles of the upper body, all of the muscles of lower body, and the core muscles. Do you want to make it a complete exercise? Modify the Burpee to include a pull-up after the jump so that the pulling muscles will be involved.
The Burpee can train all of the energy systems.
Are you looking to develop power and train your phosphagen energy system? Perform 5 Burpees as fast as possible and jump for maximal height. Recover for two minutes between sets for complete regeneration of the phosphagen energy system and the nervous system so maximal power output can be attained on subsequent sets. To train the glycolytic energy system, perform your repetitions at a high rate but sustain the effort for 30-90s. Training this causes an accumulation of lactic acid and muscle acidity which will help your body adapt in a way that it can handle acid overload better and elevate your lactate threshold. Finally, to train the aerobic system, slow the pace down, just a little, so that you can maintain a constant pace for 3-5 minutes to maximize the utilization of oxygen for energy production. For best results mix it up, and do Burpees at all three intensities and train all of the energy systems.
The Burpee develops total fitness: strength, power, muscle endurance, stamina, agility, mobility and improves body composition.
Burpees are a form of resistance training; you are lifting your body weight. Sustained effort builds stamina and muscle endurance. To develop power and speed, perform repetitions quickly for short periods of time. Moving into the deep squat position will increase mobility in the hips and jumping with arms fully extended overhead will increase mobility in the shoulders. In order to perform the Burpee correctly with maximum efficiency requires the coordination of many muscles working together as a synchronous unit while accelerating and decelerating body mass. This develops agility. Finally, depending on the rate at which the Burpees are being performed and the number of repetitions performed, a significant number of calories can be expended and an energy deficit created, thus burning body fat (but keep in mind you can’t out exercise a poor diet).
The Burpee increases circulation and can help move fluid through the lymphatic system. During the Burpee, the muscles of the extremities contract and relax in a cyclical fashion, massaging the lymph vessels and facilitating the movement of lymph fluid. The movement of lymphatic fluid has been suggested to enhance immunity and prevent pneumonias.
The Burpee can be done anywhere and doesn’t require any specialized equipment.
All you need is you and your body weight. You can do Burpees in the office, the woods, the gym, the beach, or in the snow. You can take a break from work and do a quick set between meetings. Take a trail run and do 15 Burpees every half mile. Structure your workout at the gym so that you finish each workout with metabolic conditioning using Burpees. Of course, nothing is sexier than doing Burpees on the beach. Are you doing the Winter Death Race? You better get accustomed to doing Burpees in the snow. It doesn’t matter where you do them, JUST DO BURPEES!