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How To Better Your Burpees

How To Better Your Burpees
Burpees

I don’t know if you girls know this, but burpees are one of my favourite exercises. Now, I know that sounds crazy, but there are a couple of good reasons I love plyometrics like these, I promise! 

Burpees are tough, yes. But the reason WHY they are so tough is that they combine several exercises into one move — like a squat, a plank and a plyometric jump. This means they work multiple muscle groups at once, which makes them great for toning tummies, legs, AND arms!

While I love them, I know burpees can be intimidating, especially if you’re starting a new exercise routine or you’ve taken a break for a while. I’m going to explain how to do a burpee, along with some modifications to help get you started. 

For my BBG girls who’ve been doing burpees for a while, I’ve even got some burpee variations that you can progress to!

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How to do a standard burpee

These are the steps you need to follow for a ‘basic’ burpee (yeah, there isn’t anything very basic about a burpee!). Get ready to master a tough move!

  1. Plant both feet on the mat shoulder-width apart. This is your starting position.
  2. Bend at both the hips and knees to place your hands on the mat on either side of your feet, ensuring that your spine remains in a neutral position.
  3. Jump both of your feet back so that your legs are completely extended behind you, resting on the balls of your feet. Your body should be in one straight line from your head to your heels.
  4. Jump both of your feet forwards in between your hands, once again, ensuring that your feet remain shoulder-width apart.
  5. Propel your body upwards into the air. Extend your legs below you and your arms above your head.
  6. Land in the starting position, ensuring that you maintain ‘soft’ knees to prevent injury.
  7. Repeat.

How to make your burpees easier

If you’re having difficulty, try these burpee modifications to make it easier. 

The first variation to make a burpee easier is to step, rather than jump, your feet forward and back again. You may step faster with practice and eventually progress to jumping. 

Another way you can modify a burpee is by placing your hands on a bench instead of on the floor. That way you aren’t going right down to the floor. You complete the rest of the burpee in the same way. As you practice, you may be able to lower to a step and even to the floor!

3 burpee variations that will really test you

Here are some burpee variations for those BBG ladies who have already mastered the standard burpee. As your fitness improves, these challenging variations can help to keep your workout interesting. 

Broad-jump burpee

Once you’ve done a few regular burpees, you’ll know all that jumping can really test your fitness level! 

A broad-jump burpee is similar to the basic burpee, only this one begins with a jump as well. It can help get your heart rate up and makes the exercise a little more difficult. 

Here’s how to do a broad-jump burpee: 

  1. Plant both feet on the mat shoulder-width apart. 
  2. Looking straight ahead, bend at both the hips and knees, ensuring that your knees remain in line with your toes. 
  3. Continue bending your knees until your upper legs are parallel with the floor. Ensure that your back remains between 45 and 90 degrees of your hips. This is called a squat position.
  4. Propel your body upwards and forwards into the air to land back into the squat position. When landing, ensure that you maintain ‘soft’ knees to prevent injury.
  5. Place your hands on the mat on either side of your feet, ensuring that your spine remains in a neutral position.
  6. Jump both of your feet back so that your legs are completely extended behind you, resting on the balls of your feet. Your body should be in one straight line from your head to your heels.
  7. Jump both of your feet forwards in between your hands, once again, ensuring that your feet remain shoulder-width apart.
  8. Push through your heels and extend your legs to return to a neutral standing position.
  9. Repeat.
How To Do Burpees

Burpee and box jump

The burpee with box jump is one of my favourite ways to step-up my burpees. You might not realise this, but burpees can be really helpful for improving your balance and coordination. So once you’ve got the hang of a burpee, you may want to challenge yourself even more by adding a box jump!

Here’s how to do a burpee and box jump: 

  1. With a plyometric softbox directly in front of you, plant both feet on the mat shoulder-width apart. 
  2. Looking straight ahead, bend at both the hips and knees, ensuring that your knees remain in line with your toes. 
  3. Continue bending your knees until your upper legs are parallel with the floor. Ensure that your back remains between 45 and 90 degrees of your hips. This is called a squat position.
  4. Propel your body upwards and forwards into the air to land into the squat position on top of the box. When landing, ensure that you maintain ‘soft’ knees to prevent injury.
  5. Carefully step backward off the box, one leg at a time.
  6. Bend at both the hips and knees to place your hands on the mat on either side of your feet, ensuring that your spine remains in a neutral position.
  7. Jump both of your feet back so that your legs are completely extended behind you, resting on the balls of your feet. Your body should be in one straight line from your head to your heels.
  8. Jump both of your feet forwards in between your hands, once again, ensuring that your feet remain shoulder-width apart.
  9. Push through your heels and extend your legs to return to a neutral standing position.
  10. Repeat.

Weighted burpee

You can make your burpees even MORE challenging by simply adding weights! Just as adding some resistance can make planks harder, you can give your arms and core some extra work by adding some dumbbells to your burpees.  

Here’s how to do a weighted burpee: 

  1. Holding one dumbbell in each hand, plant both feet on the floor shoulder-width apart. Looking straight ahead, bend at both the hips and knees, and place the dumbbells on the floor directly in front of your feet.
  2. Holding on to the dumbbells, jump both of your feet back so that your legs are completely extended behind you, resting on the balls of your feet. Your body should be in one straight line from your head to your heels.
  3. Jump both of your feet in towards the dumbbells, ensuring that your feet remain shoulder-width apart.
  4. At the same time, push through your heels to extend your legs and bend your elbows to bring both dumbbells into your chest. Ensure that the heads of the dumbbells are facing forwards. 
  5. Extend your arms and press both dumbbells up above your head.
  6. Gently lower the dumbbells by firstly bringing them into your chest and then extending your arms down by your sides.
  7. Repeat.

Burpees are such a great full-body exercise! You might not love doing them, but I’m sure you can appreciate how good they can be to work multiple muscle groups. 

You can use burpee variations to measure your fitness progress

While these burpee variations are a bit more advanced, you might find a version you like doing more than a basic burpee. You might even use a burpee challenge to measure your fitness progress

For example, if you started out doing five easier, modified burpees, you know that you are really getting somewhere when you can progress to 10 standard burpees, and even to 20 difficult burpee variations. Remember to be patient with yourself, because change takes time and it won’t happen overnight. If you are persistent, it will happen in the end!

If you’re looking for a workout challenge with a variety of exercises, try one of my BBG challenges in the SWEAT app!

I often post videos of workouts and exercise variations on my Instagram, so make sure you follow me for more exercises and variations!

* Results may vary. Strict adherence to the nutrition and exercise guide are required for best results.

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