If there’s one exercise that I have a love/hate relationship with it’s the burpees. I hate them because they’re hard, but I love them because they’re effective. It’s the one exercise that I can depend on, when I don’t have time, space or equipment, but want to get my heart rate up for a quick effective workout.
Needless to say, burpees is a main staple of my workout routine and I would recommend it to anyone that wants to interject some “intensity” into their workouts. But as with any exercises…not all burpees are created equal. Just the other day I was outside taking my dog for a walk when I ran into a group of people doing an outdoor workout. Naturally being in the fitness field, I’m always curious to see what other people do for their workouts, so I stood around and watched for a while. They did some jumping jacks, mountain climbers and lunges followed by the dreaded burpees!
But that’s when I noticed something…their form was awful. Now, I understand that they were tired and when you’re pushing your limits it’s easy to push beyond your body’s ability to maintain good form. I get it…I do it myself sometimes. But it was more than that…it looked like they weren’t taught how to perform it properly.
Burpees is actually a combination of 3 movements - push up, squat and jump. And although the 3 movements done separately may be quite easy to do, the transitional movements from one move to another can be a little tricky.
And one of the trickiest part of the burpees, is transitioning from the push up (or plank) position to the squat position. As you’ll see in the video, most people lift their butts up first because it’s much easier to do. But the problem is, it causes excessive bending of the low back which is something you want to avoid as much as possible. When bending forward, your low back should be kept as straight (neutral) as possible and majority of the bending should come from your hips, like the back squats, squat cleans and deadlift.
So in order to avoid this common mistake, make sure that you use the force of your push up to drive your chest up while at the same time shift your hips under and land in a deep squat position. Wait…better yet let me show you.
Here’s a short video on how to perform the burpees properly and also a little bonus on how you can make the burpees even more challenging (just in case you thought it wasn’t tough enough)!!
Here’s a quick burpee challenge (note: not for beginners)
1 minute of burpees as many as you can perform with perfect form followed by 1 minute rest. 10 rounds total.
B) 5 explosive burpees (hard version) rest for 1 minute and repeat for ten rounds.