However, despite all the different exercises Murphy threw at Efron, one in particular never made the list. "There’s proper exercises that establish a mechanical advantage, and there are exercises that are awful for you," Murphy told us. "There’s an easy one everyone’s doing in the gym, and it’s called burpees."
This classic military staple is used the world over, but Murphy argues that burpees weren't meant to be used this way. "Burpees aren’t good for the human body. You know what burpees are good for? They originated in the military as a way of dodging bullets. They’re good for relocation."
"But if you think about the movement, the burpee is a power-move into a seated position. So you’re face-down, you’re jumping your knees up, you’re tightening everything around you."
While burpees do the job and burn fat fast, Murphy argues the tradeoff isn't worth it. "Imagine you’re doing burpees and then going to your sit-down job in an office all day. It’s not good for the wrist, the spine is not in the proper position [while you do the exercise]."
"It’s very hard to perform them correctly, and everyone’s doing timed sets. 'Get more, you’ve got five seconds!'" he yells, aping misguided PTs who think they're channelling Full Metal Jacket. "It’s just a disaster for the body."
Convinced? If you're worried about your spine, it's better to play it safe and use one of our metabolism-boosting free weight workouts as your next fat burner. After all, the absence of burpees is good enough for Zac Efron, we're sure our training plans won't miss them.
This article originally appeared on Men’s Health.