The Burpee – Exercise Tutorial
The burpee is one of those exercises that is used again and again, and there is a good reason for that. It is basically a full body exercise, meaning that every part of your body gets involved. Shoulders, chest, triceps, lats, legs, glutes, core to name a few. It is a great dynamic cardio vascular exercise that, depending on your fitness level, will also challenge strength, stability, core activation and endurance. And, all you need is your own body weight!
I have broken the exercise down into 3 stages to help you learn the basics first and then build on it. Below is a video for the first 2 stages (as I was talking too much to fit it all into one video – oops):
Stage 1 – Beginners should start at this stage, as it will work on your core stability, balance and co-ordination, along with cardiovascular fitness.
- Start the exercise in a standing position with the feet facing forward, about shoulder width apart
- Squat down and place the hands flat of the floor between your feet.
- From here, either step or jump back into a plank, keeping the core engaged throughout – DON’T let your hips sink, or have your bum in the air, you should have a straight line from your shoulder to your heels.
- Your hands should be directly under your shoulders.
- When you are ready, reverse the movement by stepping, or jumping back to the squat position, with the feet flat on the floor, outside of the hands.
- Squeeze your glutes and stand up.
- This is one rep.
Stage 2 (intermediate level) – After practicing stage 1, you should progress (when ready) to stage 2. This stage adds a jump to the exercise, meaning that you need good body awareness and balance to perform it safely. You need to very careful that you don’t land awkwardly as this can risk injury, especially for your knees. If you are overweight take extra care, continue with stage 1, or omit the jump but progress by adding a push up from stage 3.
- Follow stage 1 from 1 – 5
- Now, Instead of standing, you add a jump from the squat position, raising the arms in the air if you like.
- On landing, you must bend at the hips and knees to absorb the shock, then either complete another rep, or stand and finish.
- IF the jump is an issue, then add the push up and leave out the jump.
Stage 3 (Advanced level) – Also known as the full burpee. This is were strength comes in, as you are now required to add a push up. If you are unable to perform a push up from the toes, then I would recommend staying at stage 2 until you have the strength and endurance to add it to the burpee. This is not to spoil your fun, but getting full benefit from an exercise like the burpee involves the flow of the exercise too, by maintaining a consistent intensity. Down-grading to a push up from your knees during the burpee, would not give you this consistency. It won’t do you any harm, it just won’t add anything of use. This is why I always suggest practicing other exercises (such as the push up) outside of a workout. If you can only manage 2 full burpees, do them and then continue at stage 2, and so on.
Here is the video tutorial continued from Stage 2:
- Follow stage 1 from points 1-4 (by this stage you should be jumping, not stepping, back into the plank btw)
- At point 4, now you add a push up.
- After completing one full push up, then jump the feet forward into the squat position, jump up and land safely.
- Repeat, or stand.
- If the jump up is an issue, leave it out and just add the push up
- As a beginner, master the stages in order.
- Down-grade stages if needed, as endurance is a key factor of the burpee
- Keep the core tight
- Jump back onto the toes (narrow stance)
- Jump forward onto flat feet (wider stance)
- On the squat part, hands inside the knees and under the shoulders
- Watch your landing.
- Omit the jump up, if the landing is an issue.
No matter what your level, you should start adding the burpee to your workouts, as it will do so much for your overall fitness.
Happy Burpees everyone