This Is The One Exercise That Will Tone Your Entire Body

Photo: Shauna Harrison

Shauna Harrison, Ph.D., was teaching movement as a side gig while she attended Stanford, UCLA, and Johns Hopkins. Twenty years, 3 graduate degrees, and multiple brand partnerships later, she is now a full-time movement advocate. Check out her new mindbodygreen class, The 20 Minute Workout Challenge: Tone Your Whole Body With Yoga, HIIT & More.  

Burpees are my favorite exercise because they literally work your entire body, and you don't need any equipment whatsoever. In other words, you can do them anywhere!

The burpee gives you an upper body workout, a lower body workout, and a little plyometric if you jump and get your heart rate up very quickly. Plus, there are tons of fun variations you can try. Have I sold you on the burpee yet?

A few pointers: You can skip the pushup if you need to, or do the pushup on your knees. Much better to have good form with the pushup than to force it. The jump is also optional. Try to make the whole movement fluid. Each move is its own move of course, but burpees are even burpee-er when they flow together.

Here's your step-by-step burpee guide:

1. Start standing. Bring hands to the ground.

2. Step or hop your feet back to plank. Optional pushup (pushups on your knees work too!)

3. Step or hop your feet back up to meet your hands. Optional jump.

4. Repeat.

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And here's how to do it:

Photo: mbg creative

Shauna Harrison

Ph.D. & Movement Advocate
Shauna Harrison, Ph.D., is a self-proclaimed nerd, hip-hop head, jock, and yogi. Teaching fitness was a side gig for Shauna while she attended Stanford, UCLA, and Johns Hopkins. Twenty years, three graduate degrees, and multiple brand partnerships later, she is now a full-time movement advocate. She is a TRX® ambassador; creator of Muscle & Flow, #SWEATADAY, and Hip Hop Cycle®; and is also the creative director and a lifestyle athlete for Zenrez. What is your wellness philosophy? If I had to put my philosophy into words, I would say it revolves around two different concepts. The first, and the most important, is the WHY. It is very easy to get caught up in "this diet will help you shed pounds instantly," "these are the only 5 exercises you'll ever need," etc. But, why? Why do we want to lose weight (or insert any other outcome)? Is it to fit in? To meet societal standards? Or is it to function better and prolong our lives? The underlying "why" that we don't often think about is crucial. When you can identify and embody that "why?" it becomes second nature. Wellness is then part of your "job" as a human to take care of the body you were given. It is also a gift that you get to give yourself every single day. What brought you into wellness?In terms of fitness itself, I always say that I got into fitness for all the wrong reasons, but I stayed for the right ones. I got into it as a means to a very unhealthy, unachievable end. I was very insecure about my body, very type A and very into (and good at) being controlling about my movement and my caloric intake. It was the perfect recipe for an eating disorder, and that is exactly what happened. It took awhile, but eventually I came to see movement as a way to get into my body instead of trying to do anything I could to get out of it. I started appreciating the capability that I had, seeking challenge, and really learning to be in awe of the amazing suit that we wear. This process of taking better care of myself from my most inner emotions all the way out to my most external actions towards others was my entry into wellness. What does You. We. All. mean to you?We talk a lot about "holistic" approaches in wellness with regards to considering the entire spectrum of body, mind and soul, all dimensions of care techniques and all aspects of the world we encounter. To me, You. We. All. is the holistic approach to world wellness. We consider the entire spectrum of our species, all dimensions of the communities that surround us and all aspects of the planet we inhabit. It's inclusive. It's cooperative. It's synergistic. It's reciprocal. What empowers you?Hip hop. Not to say that every hip hop song ever made uses empowering language, but beats and rhymes do, in fact, give me life.
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