Personal Trainer Tips

How to Avoid Burpee Bloopers

Coach Alexis demonstrating a Level 1 Burpee

We all want to be a Burpee Badass, but before we can we have to learn the Burpee Basics. While burpees are an amazing move both for cardio and strength, they can also be a slightly complicated move. Because they work every part of your body, there are quite a few opportunities for form hiccup (or burps, if you will). Luckily we’ve got the burpee breakdown to help you conquer any burpee bashfulness.

Here is a summary of 3 levels of a burpee:

Level 1: Step back to plank and forward to squat, stand (Can also be done from an elevated surface to make easier or if unable to go to the ground).  Choose this progression if you find it challenging to jump forward or back from the plank to the squat.

Level 2:  Jump back to plank and forward to squat, jump up at the top.  Choose this progression if you are comfortable jumping forward and back from the squat to the plank.

Level 3: Add a pushup in the plank to level 2.  Choose this progression if you want an extra challenge.

Easy enough? Before you hop your way up to the next level, let’s pinpoint where we often fall short of our burpee potential.

Blooper #1: Struggle to get to the ground and back up

Band-aidFind an elevated surface that works for you, it can be a couch, ledge, chair, table or bench. Look for the height that is going to give you the ability to step back and step forward. As you improve, you can decrease the height of the object you are using progressively making your way to the floor.

And remember, there is no need to rush. Perfect the form first, the speed will come.

Blooper #2: Feet too close together

Band-aidBring those feet out a little bit wider than hip width apart as you begin. Starting wide can help keep those legs where they need to be as you hop or step back in from the plank position. We want those feet to end up outside of your hands when you move back to the squat.

Blooper #3: Hips sag or are elevated in plank

Band-aidTo prevent that hip sag, squeeze quads and glutes as you come into the plank. Be mindful where those hips are at, and lift them up in line with your back.

If those hips are too high, press those hips forward until your hip flexor feels a slight stretch, signaling that flat back we are looking for!

Blooper #4: Feet come forward to incorrect squat position

Band-aidWe want those feet wider than our hands as we hop/step forward. If they are coming between your hands, slow it down and focus on where they land. Feet outside hands, things are going grand.

We want those heels flat on the ground as you come into the squat position. If you struggle with this, it may be an underlying ankle mobility issue that needs some work. Try widening your stance to give your ankles some wiggle room.

Why burpees are so blooper-prone

As previously mentioned, ankle mobility can cause bloopers at times. Adding some extra mobility work focusing on the ankles before performing burpees will help such as ankle stretches. Adding ankle mobility drills into your daily training program will make a drastic difference, in not only burpees, but overall fitness performance.

Having a weak core — something that many struggle with — can affect your burpee form. If you are not able to hold a hand plank, then you should first do burpees on an elevated surface. Strengthening that core should be something you make top priority, not only for burpees, but also to avoid injury or help prevent back pain. Try taking Total Core to strengthen these important muscles!

Beware of biting off more burpee than you can chew

Choosing the correct level of burpees is crucial to be successful at mastering the move. Forcing a level you aren’t quite ready for can cause injury and will not help you progress your fitness level. To get better, faster, stronger, start with the version you can do CORRECTLY. Modification is your friend.

Ready to get burpee’n? It’s not too late to join the 31 Day Burpee Challenge.