When burpees are mentioned, a murmur can be heard throughout the room usually. Some love this exercises, the others are already afraid of what’s about to happen. It is undisputed, however, that burpees are one of the most effective full-body exercises to improve your strength-endurance and strengthen your cardiovascular system. In this blogpost, I’ll show you how to do burpees correctly. In addition I will introduce some variations for beginners as well as advanced athletes.
The correct technique
Burpees primarily stress the thigh muscles (quadriceps), the leg biceps, the gluteal muscles and, of course, the chest muscles. Secondarily, triceps, the front part of the shoulder muscles and the anterior sawtooth muscle are also used for this exercise.
Basically, a burpee is a combination of pushups and high jumps. For this reason, you should already be familiar with the technique for pushups. If you’re still a little unsure concerning your technique, you should check out my blogpost: #HowTo: Pushups.
For a burpee you start upright, your legs are positioned about shoulder width. Now you crouch down and place your palms beside your feet on the floor. In a dynamic movement you now jump with both feet backwards at the same time. You should be in the starting position for pushups now.
You perform a pushup and then jump back with your feet next to your palms. From this position you now explosively jump upwards and throw your arms high above your head.
After landing, you successfully completed a burpee!
The most common mistakes for burpees are the same as with pushups. That’s because burpees are a fast and dynamic exercise. It is therefore easy to be tempted to jump to quick repetitions immediately even as a beginner.
However, if you are not familiar with the technique for this exercise yet, this usually leads to sloppy execution.
In the beginning, focus on a slow, controlled and correct execution of the exercise. You can increase the speed later!
When landing after the jump, you often see athletes locking their legs. Do not do that! When landing, make sure that you slightly bend your knees and cushion the jump.
In summary, you should pay attention to the following things
- Correct arm position on the ground (about 45 ° away from the body)
- Elbows to the back / outside
- Body tension (do not sag your pelvis)
- Do not lock your knees when landing
If you are just getting familiar with burpees, or if you can not do pushups yet, I have some easier variations for you to try!
Without pushup/without high jump
For the easiest variation, you place your hands on the ground, as before, and jump backward with your feet. Now you do not perform a pushup, but jump right back to your hands and just stand up. You do not perform a high jump as well.
With this variation you get a first taste for the exercise and can also practice the “jump backwards”, which can be difficult at the beginning. If you are just starting out with burpees, it may also be easier to step back with one foot at a time instead of immediately jumping backwards.
This variation is very similar to the variation mentioned above. The only difference: You do perform a high jump now! If you can not do any pushups yet, this version is perfect for you!
There are countless ways to make burpees even harder. Since you can complicate the pushup part but also the high jump, you can be very creative when coming up with variations!
Different high jumps
The easiest way to make burpees event harder are difficult high jump variations. For example, for every jump you can pull your knees to your chest!
Also, you can kneel on the floor before you go straight into the high jump after the pushups. Jump upwards from this position without using hands and then go straight into a stretch jump! This requires a lot of explosive power in your legs!
Of course you can also do burpees alternately with one arm and/or one leg. Simply perform a one-arm pushup followed by a one-legged jump. This variation can be very exhausting and has a little less to do with strength-endurance but more with maximum-strength. For advanced athletes this variation is a great full-body exercise!
Now there is really only one thing left to say: Down to the ground – pushup – and then jump! There is always time for a few burpees 😉. Do you love or hate burpees? Let me know in the comments!