Burpees, or squat thrusts, are an effective total-body, bodyweight exercise that serve the purpose of increasing both your muscular and cardiovascular endurance at the same time. Burpees are one of the best exercises for building total-body strength and power, as well as for developing functional strength and improving your aerobic fitness. This exercise also has the advantage of effectively developing your core strength and joint range of motion.
Follow these steps to ensure you’re using proper form while performing burpees. Good form is essential to your workout routine not only because it makes the exercise more effective, but because it will help you to avoid injury, too.
-How to Do a Burpee-
1. Start standing tall with your feet about hip-width distance apart. Make sure that your feet are planted firmly on the ground, that your core is tight (draw your bellybutton into your spine) and that your spine is straight (keep your shoulders relaxed and draw your shoulder blades back and down). Look straight ahead to keep your neck in line with the rest of your spine. When you’re ready to begin, reach your arms straight up above your head as you jump up off of the ground as high as you can.
2. When you land, immediately crouch down and place your hands on the ground in front of your feet. Quickly thrust your feet back behind you so that you land in a high plank position. (To make the exercise more advanced you can add a push-up at this point.) From here, immediately jump your feet back in towards your chest and then quickly jump back up as high as you can, reaching your hands above your head again.
Keep in mind: The entire series of movements should be one fluid motion from one step to the next. The faster you do it, the more effective the exercise will be in terms of improving your fitness, but remember to keep your fitness level in mind.
When performing burpees (or any exercise) for the first time move slowly until you feel you’ve mastered the movement pattern.
To make this exercise easier, from the crouched position in step two you can step back to high plank more slowly by stepping with one foot at a time. You can also return to the crouched position more slowly by stepping each foot towards your chest one at a time. To protect your lower back, make sure you're engaging your core the entire time.
Note: Because burpees are an intense and impactful exercise it is recommended that beginners build a base fitness level before incorporating them into their exercise routine. Be mindful of your fitness level and always consult your doctor before beginning a new training program.