Whether you love them or hate them, make sure that you are doing burpees correctly to get the best out of your workout and to prevent injury.
What are the benefits of burpees?
Well, to start with, you don’t need any equipment. Burpees use your own bodyweight and the only other thing you need is enough space to do them! They are excellent for building strength and stamina. Burpees burn between 10–15 calories a minute depending on your weight, so if you were to do 10 minutes of burpees you would burn between 100–150 calories. Burpees are a great, full body cardio workout that not only burns fat but works all the muscles in the body including your quads, hamstrings, hips, glutes, abs, chest, shoulders, and arms, as well as being one of the best exercises for improving cardiovascular health.
Try to complete several reps or a timed amount without resting in between. If you are a beginner, aim for 8-10 reps and build up to 20 reps and then try a timed amount of 2 minutes. Do them slowly to start with until you have the correct technique, and then work on increasing the pace as well as increasing the number of reps as you build up.
How to do a basic burpee correctly
- Start in a standing position.
- Lower into a squat, keeping your back straight and place your hands on the floor in front of you, keeping your hands under your shoulders.
- Kick your legs backwards so that you are in a plank position with straight arms, keeping your back straight.
- Jump your legs back into the squat position and return to standing.
- Continue straight back into the squat position for the next burpee.
Here are some variations to make it a little easier:
- As you lower into a squat, take your hands to the floor and step one leg back followed by the other and then step each leg back in turn. Return to standing and repeat.
- As you lower into a squat, take your hands to the floor and step one leg back followed by the other and then jump both legs back together. Return to standing and repeat.
- Use a bench. Place your hands on the bench and step one leg back followed by the other and then either step each leg back in turn or jump both legs back together.
Here are some variations to make it a little more challenging:
- To make the above burpee a little harder, add in a jump, raising your arms above your head, every time you return to the standing position.
- Once you are in the plank position, do one push up before jumping back to the squat position.
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand and, as you lower yourself to the floor, use the dumbbells to support your weight, either jumping straight back into the plank position or completing one push up with your hands on the dumbbells. Press the dumbbells above your head rather than jumping on your return to standing. Lower the weights back down and repeat. If you want to keep the jump in, make sure that you can keep the weights controlled.
Tips to help ensure you are using the correct form:
- Warm up before starting any exercise. This is very important with burpees to prevent injury to joints. Try a combination of jogging, butt kicks, high knees and star jumps for 3-4 minutes.
- Make sure you keep your body in a straight line whilst in the plank position, don’t let your hips dip too low or your bum be too high. Squeeze your abs and glute muscles to keep your back, hips and knees in a straight line to prevent injury to your lower back.
- Place your hands on the floor in front of you, just inside your feet.
- Start slowly. Make sure you can complete the easier burpees with good technique before moving on to the harder variations, to reduce the risk of strain and injury. Also start with a few reps and perform them correctly before adding in extra reps.
- Be careful not to hurt or twist your wrists as they take a lot of the pressure. A couple of things that you can do to help include making a fist instead of having your hands flat or doing a burpee using a bench or step (make sure it’s stable and can’t move).
- Make sure that you are landing on the balls of your feet when jumping to avoid too much impact on your ankles.
- In order to protect your shoulders, make sure that you place your arms gently on the floor before jumping back as too high an impact can cause shoulder pain and damage.
- Build up to a fast pace in order to get the most out of your burpees, as this is when you’ll burn the most calories, but don’t try to do them too quickly as this is when you’ll lose your good technique.
Please check with your doctor before starting any new exercise programme.
Have fun and, now you know how to do them correctly, enjoy your burpees 😊
Caroline & Hannah xx