- Cavan Images/Jean-Baptiste Lacroix (Getty)
- For her role as Black Widow in “Avengers: Endgame,” Scarlett Johansson had to get her body in incredible shape.
- The personal trainers who helped her prepare believe that if there’s one exercise we should stop doing, it’s the burpee.
- Ryan and Eric Johnson told INSIDER that most people can’t even do the dreaded movement properly.
- They explained that the only real benefit of burpees is that they get your heart rate up, and there are plenty of other moves that do that while also helping your body to get stronger.
- Instead of burpees, try kettlebell swings, squat jumps, or boxing.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.
If you’re into keeping fit, burpees are often considered a necessary evil.
A burpee is a full-body movement which involves jumping with your arms raised from a standing position, then dropping straight into a squat followed by a press-up, before jumping up again to repeat the process.
They get your heart pounding, and all your muscles fired up – but very few people enjoy them.
- Mihai Blanaru/Shutterstock
Still, the idea is that they’re worth doing because they work your whole body, burn energy whilst building strength, and get your heart rate up.
However, putting yourself through the pain of burpees may not be as beneficial as you’ve been led to believe.
That’s according to two celebrity personal trainer brothers who say burpees aren’t worth doing, and are like “adding garbage for the sake of it.”
“If there’s one specific exercise people should stop doing it’d probably be the burpee,” Eric Johnson told INSIDER.
Eric is one half of Homage Fitness, a new line of gyms in private residences across Miami, New York, and D.C. designed to combine top level fitness with hospitality.
- Homage Fitness
Along with his brother Ryan, Eric is a certified strength and conditioning coach and has over a decade of experience in the fitness industry.
He’s also Scarlett Johansson’s personal trainer – the brothers have worked with her and other actors on films such as “Captain America: Winter Soldier,” “Ghost in The Shell,” and the “Avengers” films.
Johansson had to be in incredible shape for her role as Black Widow in “Avengers: Endgame,” but it’s possible she didn’t do a single burpee.
Not only do the Johnsons believe most people can’t do burpees properly, but they added that the only real benefit is that they get your heart rate up – and there are far more efficient ways to do that.
“Most people don’t have adequate mobility to get into a deep squat, so they’re going to flex their back,” Eric explained.
“In the bigger picture I don’t believe that a burpee will have any sort of advantage that will make you hit your performance goals, other than getting your heart rate up, and there are so many other tools to do that that will actually transfer over and help you in other facets of your training plan.”
Commenting that the move also has a “grotesque” name, he added: “Where do you really do a burpee anywhere in life?”
Try kettlebell swings instead
Eric recommends kettlebell swings as an alternative to burpees.
A kettlebell swing entails swinging a kettlebell in a pendulum motion, starting under your groin with bent legs and finishing with straight legs and arms outstretched at around shoulder height, before swinging the kettlebell back through your legs again.
“You’re going to get the benefits of an explosive movement that’s going to get your heart rate up but is also going to hit your hamstrings, glutes, lats, and core,” he said.
“Learning that skill is going to transfer over if you wanted to deadlift or just look better or get your heart rate up.”
He added that it’s a similar pattern to a burpee, because “you’re getting a big hip hinge and full body movement.
“I think that’s going to be a lot more beneficial,” he said.
Eric says a squat jump – which involves jumping upwards from a squat position before landing back in the squat – can be effective too, provided you have the technique down and are able to perform the movement with the correct form.
And if you hate kettlebell swings and squat jumps as much as burpees, Ryan suggests boxing.
“Learning how to box or any kind of martial art is a great replacement for burpees,” he said. “Replace a minute of burpees with a minute of hitting a heavy bag” – not only a good way to raise your heart rate, but also to let out your anger.