I despise burpees. Not many people love them (though I do know a few that do – and they are usually shorter athletes who have a shorter range of motion and distance to get to the ground). But burpees are a really great movement to do and learn to love just the same.
Anyone can do them. Doesn’t matter if you’re 4 or 104. You can do them anywhere, with no equipment. Nothing else is needed but your own body. They are a full body movement and they tire you out like nothing else can. Strength, fat burning, and conditioning are taken care of all at once because burpees work a wide range of muscles.
With every burpee, you’ll work your chest, arms, front deltoids, thighs, hamstrings, and abs. On top of that you will get some excellent practice loading your hips as you supply power to get you back up off the floor…so you can get back down on the floor again. And repeat. For an eternity. But all that hip power translates into so many of the other CrossFit movements. Everything starts with and is powered by the hip drive.
I can’t help you learn to love burpees (or maybe I can), but I CAN teach you how to do burpees in the most efficient way possible. Burpess will still suck, it is what they are designed to do, but at least we can know that we are doing the most amount of work with the least amount of effort!
First, let’s talk about the standards for these burpees.
- Chest hits the floor.
- Jump and clap overhead.
- Jump just has to be enough to slide a credit card under.
Now, let’s do them in the most efficient way possible.
- Hands on the ground shoulder width apart.
- Kick the feel back.
- Chest and hips hit the floor, knees do not.
- Flex the chest up (like Cobra in yoga) to load your hips.
- Use that hips power to pop up by driving your hips/butt to the ceiling.
- Keep your legs straight and have them land outside your hands.
- Jump and clap.
- Starting in a wider stance lowers your center of gravity and shortens the distance to the floor – especially helpful for taller athletes.
And a couple pro-tips for you.
- Don’t hop up from the ground and land in the bottom of the squat, then have to use your quads and stand up from a squat – this wastes time and energy and will tire your legs faster.
- No “shark-finning” make sure that clap is overhead, not in front of the chest or with the head ducked. Looking to get full extension.
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, burpees are here to stay. I am not sure there is any other single movement that does as much for the body as the burpee. Learn to love them. Repeat after me. “I love burpees!” Now keep saying it until you believe it.