Looking to strengthen your core without spending hours doing hundreds of sit-ups a day? Go for the burpees instead.
Not only are burpees better at toning and building muscle in your core than sit-ups, they are also big calorie burners.
In fact, burpees are so effective, a study published by the American College of Sports Medicine found them to be as effective as a 30-second sprint. The research, which looked at ROTC cadets, found that both sprinting and doing burpees for the 3o-second time period had the same results for metabolic and cardiovascular health.
According to Men’s Health, the burpees may be even better in that they require balance and coordination that running or biking doesn’t. They also help your body to build more strength, and in order for you to do them more effectively, that’s a bonus.
So what exactly is a burpee? You go from a plank pushup position to a jump and back again. Starting in a plank, jump your feet to your hands, jump up and come back down into your plank position. Repeat. If done correctly, you should feel the burn of the burpees everywhere—from head to toe and inside out! Your breathing should accelerate as if you were running and so should your heart rate. Over time, you’ll notice a stronger core, too.
If your goal is a six-pack of abs, you’ll need to add sit-ups or other ab-defining exercises (as well as laying off the junk food) to your workout, but don’t ditch the burpees. They add the strength to your core that sit-ups don’t. Sit-ups often pull strength from hip flexors and the back, which doesn’t strengthen your core. Not only that, you can cause injury as well.
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