Ah, the dreaded burpee, the hate to hate exercise that I always programme and people curse me for!
Lets find out a bit more about the burpee before we banish this excellent exercises into out ‘won’t do’ category.
The Burpee is an all round exercise that torches fat and increases overall body strength but why is it good for riders?
Well let’s break the movement down, the rapid hip flexion and extension is required particularly for equestrian disciplines that include jumping efforts, so is a good movement pattern to replicate on the ground.
You are also for a period of time supporting your bodyweight with both arms as the only contact points on the ground, so this is great for isometric upper body strength and shoulder stability. The nature of the movement also means your core is engaged pretty much the entire time and particularly whilst you jump your legs backwards and back in again. Because the movement requires essentially dropping to the floor and back up again, your torso (in addition to arms and legs of course) will also undergo some braking mechanics and spinal stabilisation to avoid face planting the floor! The neuromuscular control required to offset the gravitational pull is a great experience for riders to be exposed to to practise bracing the torso and increasing intra-abdominal pressure because although in a different movement plane, these are the types of movement patterns and muscle activation patterns that we see when riders are stabilising the body, in smaller amplitudes in the sitting trot and in higher amplitudes when landing post a jump.
The Burpee is a great exercise for adding into an equestrian programme because it is quick, efficient can be done anywhere and does not require any equipment.
So hopefully now you will see the Burpee as a movement that is incorporated into your rider fitness programme for s specific reason, so embrace the burpee and get down and get them done!