Yup, let’s all agree here and now that burpees are the worst of all workout moves. That’s an indisputable fact, friend. Unfortunately, they’re also one of the best things you can do to improve your fitness.
“Burpees utilise every muscle group in the body. In particular, they focus on your core stability through your abs, hip flexion, dorsiflexion through ankles, quads, glute activation, upper body pectorals, forearms, wrists,” explains Men’s Health’s fitness director, Todd Liubinskas. “They are a great way to keep the heart rate elevated during a workout and increase your endurance too.” Translation: they hurt – but it’s totally worth it. Which is why perfecting your form is key.
- Start in a standing position with your feet just outside shoulder width
- Bend your knees slightly and brace your core
- Drop down into a push-up position
- Lower your body to the floor
- Return to the push-up position, making sure you tense your abs, butt, quads so your knees don’t touch the floor
- Push off the ground with your hands and bring your feet to land outside where your hands just were
- Jump on the spot, landing in the position you started the burpee in
“Make sure you breathe in as you lower to the ground and out as you make the effort to get back to the start position,” Todd adds. “It’s also important to keep everything tense when going through the motions (quads, core, chest, butt).”
Burpees are an excellent way to warm up the body or, if you're looking to build up your anaerobic threshold, they can be incorporated into any part of your training regime.
“Try doing as many as you can in 20 seconds, resting for 10 seconds, then repeating this for 8 rounds (totalling 4 minutes,)” Todd advises.
Beginners can make a burpee slightly easier by stepping back with one leg at a time to lower yourself to the ground. You can also modify the push up to do it on your knees, or hold a high plank and step back into the stark position. But for those who are after an extra-challenge, there are a few variations to master:
- Burpee with a broad jump – burpee, then take a big leap forward with two feet and retreat to repeat, or continue
- Burpee with a knee tuck jump replacing the normal jump
- Burpee and release your hands at the bottom of the push-up, ensuring you hit the ground with your chest and go through the full movement pattern
- Burpee and high-knee combo to replace the jump
“Burpees are by far my favourite exercise to do as you can do them literally anywhere,” Todd says. “Although they might be hard to master, they will only improve your fitness and mental capacity. Learn to love them!”
You heard the man.