As most of you know I’m currently facing the task of doing a fair few (250+) burpees for charity so thought I’d share a few things I had learnt to help you improve your burpees. But firstly a few givens!
• I love a good ol’ Burpee
• Burpees are hard work
• Burpees are great for total body conditioning, strength and fitness
• Burpees are HARD WORK!
If you don’t know what a Burpee is it’s a body weight movement initially developed by Royal H. Burpee, a Physiologist based in New York who developed the movement as part of a fitness test only to be done for 4 measly repetitions. The exercise was later adopted by the U.S. military in 1942 as part of their rigorous fitness regime where it was performed for 60s where 41 repetitions was considered excellent and as low as 27 considered poor.
The movement involves squatting down and placing your hands on the floor, kicking your legs back into a straight arm plank, kicking your legs back into a squat and jumping up and repeating for the required reps.
1. Warm Up
This movement is tough and works the whole body, so ensure you’re loose and limber before you take on the challenge. Areas that I tend to give extra focus to; are hip mobility, core activation, dynamic leg stretches and shoulder and chest stretches. You can really feel the difference when you’ve warmed during a prolonged burpee session
2. Hip Mobility
This was a big lesson for me. Make sure you can get some movements in those hips because if you struggle with the range of motion, you will either have to push yourself back to a squat position of rely on your lower back to get into the squat position… neither of which are great for smooth and seamless burpees and can end up with a stiff lower back. To enhance mobility, give your glutes, ITB and hip flexors a good stretch or foam roll before, during and after… you can thank me later for that one.
3. Quick Feet
During the burpee the lower part of the movement is the hardest part to execute. It’s cramped, requires total body strength and is not the best for comfortable breathing… all in all not very fun. The way round this, ensure your leg movements are quick, precise and stable. Doing this will lessen the time in uncomfortable positions and help you get through each rep quickly, aka a win-win situation
4. Brace Your Core
One of the biggest mistakes in this movement is a sagging back which leads to a lot of stress on the hip flexors and lower back, which is a recipe for disaster. Ensure your core is tight during the squat thrust and this will save a lot of pain and strain in your hips and lower back. do this by practicing plank variations and knee tucks
5. Feet Positioning
People tend to keep their feet narrow which is probably due to it being similar to a squat thrust. However this makes it very difficult to transfer from the tucked position to a squat position. The way round this is to keep the hands narrow (giving you more room to kick the legs back) and then placing the feet outside the hands leading to a more natural squat position. This will make the movement quicker and therefore the whole experiences completely painless… well maybe slightly less painful but every little helps
Now, go forth and burpee to your hearts content!
Let me know how you get on and be sure to tune in to Follow us on Facebook to watch our live feed and watch me suffer for charity!