Master this total-body move to engage every muscle and increase calorie burn.
Burpees. You either love them or you hate them, or you love to hate them. (We’re guessing the latter is true for most people.) Regardless, burpees are a great workout move for increasing your heart rate and challenging your coordination and a variety of muscles.
Because the burpee is a complex drill and uses several muscles at once, it’s phenomenal for burning more calories. It’s also great for creating EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption), meaning you’ll continue to burn calories after your workout.
If you would like to add burpees to your workout repertoire but you feel like you’re not ready just yet, try breaking the movement down into phases. Breaking the burpee down into separate moves is great for establishing stability and mobility, as well as teaching your body timing. You can start by practicing the deep squat, hand plank and squat up. Once you are comfortable with these separate motions, you can “marry” all the moves together.
Once you master the burpee, you can add speed, which can be really good idea for “finishers.” Finishers are high-intensity movements that are done for short period of time at the end of your workout.
A few things to keep in mind…
SQUAT: The better your range of motion in your hips and ankles, the easier the burpee will be. Hip mobility and ankle mobility are important parts of burpees.
SUPPORT THE TRUNK: The rule for the burpee is “hands underneath the shoulders.” Shoulder and trunk stability are just as important as ankle and hip mobility.
Burpee best practices:
- Your feet can be a little bit wider than hip-width apart to create a stable platform and open up space for your hands to reach the ground.
- Place your hands directly under your shoulders.
- If you can’t keep your feet on the floor when placing your hands down, feel free to lift your heels.
- Whether you perform a push-up at the bottom of the burpee or not, your pelvis should remain aligned with your upper back at all times.
- Keep your spine strong from head to heels. Avoid arching your lower back.
Make it easier: Bring the ground up by placing your hands on an elevated platform. Start as high as you want and make your way down to the ground.
Make it harder: Add a push-up at the bottom and/or a vertical jump at the top.
How to perform a burpee
- Stand with feet hip-width apart, arms at your sides.
- In one fluid motion, drop into a squat and place your hands on the ground, and jump your feet straight behind you to a high plank position.
- Lower into a push-up, and as you push back up, jump your feet under your hips to a squat.
- Push through your heels to jump straight up and land softly, dropping into a squat to repeat the sequence.
Photo and video credit: Mark Kuroda, kurodastudios.com
Grooming: Emily Sims, emilysimsmakeup.com
Model: Gregory Howard, Jr., 24 Hour Fitness