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The Best Total Body Exercise You Can Do!

Helen Bush

The best total body exercise ever, especially during the 9Round workout is the burpee.  Burpees employ a large number of muscles in the motion of flowing through a squat, a single pushup, a jump and then repeating the motions. It is a total body movement, for total body results! When you hear the trainer yell, “Burpees!” during an active rest, you will eventually wonder “What is this working exactly?”  Here is a explanation of the muscles working through the progressive movements of the burpee.

Bending your legs and lowering your hands to the ground involves an eccentric, or lengthening, contraction of your leg muscles. The quadriceps at the front of your thigh, the hamstrings at the rear of your thighs, and your gluteus maximus or butt muscles work together to control your of descent.

You next place your hands on the floor and undertake a powerful hip extension to drive your legs back into the pushup position. This action uses your hamstrings and gluteus maximus. As your toes hit the floor, your quadriceps and hip flexors contract to stop your legs and hips collapsing, and your rectus abdominus muscle, abs for short, contracts to stabilize your spine. The muscles in your arms, chest and shoulders contract to hold your upper body off the ground.

Pushups target your pectoralis major, or chest muscles, your deltoids or shoulder muscles and the triceps brachii muscles located on the rear of your upper arm. These muscles contract to lower your chest towards the floor and then again to push you back up. Your rectus abdominus and quadriceps muscles must remain tense to hold your body straight so that your arms have a strong platform from which to push. Failure to keep your spine correctly aligned can result in back injury, as burpees are a tough core exercise.

Jumping your legs forward so that your feet land between your hands uses your hip flexor and abdominal muscles. During this phase of the exercise, your upper-body muscles must remain tense so that your arms do not collapse. Once your feet are between your hands, your weight should shift off your hands and fully onto your feet so that you are ready for the final part of the exercise.

Jumping up into the air uses the same muscles as the squatting movement at the beginning of the exercise. The quadriceps, hamstrings and gluteus maximus muscles contract powerfully to drive you up into the air. This type of action is called a concentric contraction and describes how muscles shorten to generate force. Swinging your arms forward and up as you leap into the air uses the deltoids or shoulder muscles.

Although burpees are an anaerobic exercise, meaning that the muscles involved work without the need for oxygen, your body still pumps blood to your working muscles. Pumping blood around your body is the job of your cardiac muscle or myocardium, commonly known as your heart. Because so many skeletal muscles are involved in burpees, your heart rate can become very elevated when performing this exercise.

At 9Round, burpees can be a great way to really push yourself and get the most out of your workout!  There are many variations of the burpee (including the no-pushup versions, which is great for people who can’t quite do the pushup yet; and one legged version for the super advanced!) so no matter your fitness level there are options for you. The best part about 9Round is there is a trainer with you every step of the way, so you will always have someone there to push your limits, while giving you the personal attention without the high price!

Helen Bush
Helen Bush is a self employed fitness writer who works with many health and fitness blogs. At a young age she discovered her passion for fitness and encouraging others. Helen enjoys being active and loves working out. In her middle and high school years she played an active part in her school basketball teams. Now she loves to study and participate in dance to help her stay active and fit. Her main goal is to help motivate others and push them to reach their fitness goals.