Hi guys,  Kris from Custom Fitness here, your personal trainer in Amarillo.  Building up to the burpee while being safe is easier than you might think. Burpees are popular for workout routines because it is a full body workout; you get strength, cardio, and flexibility.  Some people refer to them as 4 letter words because they are tough and if you are doing them incorrectly they are even harder than they should be.  Today I’ll show you to tweak your method to improve your form to get the most out of the burpee without injury.  If you have questions about today’s blog or would like more information on form and technique for other exercises, give us a call: 806-322-3188.

At Custom Fitness we tailor exercises to you.  Hence, Custom Fitness. We want to make sure all the movements you are doing are agreeable to your body, so you can actually benefit from them instead of writhing in pain. If a client has bad knees and the trainer is demanding they do jumping jacks, that’s just going to worsen the pain.  The trainer should find alternative ways for the client to elevate the heart rate without damaging the previously injured joint. Today I am demonstrating the way to prepare the not-yet seasoned body for the burpee through modifications if one movement doesn’t work for you.

Burpees are hard for many reasons. They involve a lot of your body. They require strength, flexibility, and balance to perform the up and down movement. They also tax your cardiovascular system. Not to say anything of the lung capacity to keep breathing while you are doing the other things simultaneously.

To build up to a burpee, you first need to gain strength in your arms. You can do this by performing the Inch Worm.  Begin with your feet together.  Reach down towards the floor with straight arms. Walk your arms (and body) out into the plank position and walk yourself back. Repeat. Inching out and inching back you are learning to control your body. You manage the torso rotation, keep your shoulders supported, avoid locking your elbows, and more. If you haven’t supported your entire body weight on your arms in a while – if ever – this is a great way to develop the strength to do so, by holding it for a split second. Work on this for a few weeks to a month, depending on your level, until you feel strong enough to move on.

From there, if you are deconditioned, try this out in an elevated position by using a coffee table, fireplace hearth, a bench, or a sturdy chair without wheels.  If you are pretty conditioned and feel comfortable on the floor, go ahead and try that. Steady your hands on the elevated surface or the floor directly under your shoulders. Your wrists, elbows, and shoulders should be in one long line. Step one foot back behind you and bring the other one to meet it. Then return to your starting position and stand up. For something a little more difficult, steady your hands, then jump back and jump back in, and stand up.  This exercise gets your body to support its own weight for longer periods of time while controlling the core and possibly learning to jump in and out. Feeling good yet?  

We’ve mentioned before there a hundred and one ways to do burpees. You can do a push-up at the bottom, you can do high knees at the top, you can add weights…the list goes on and on. Today’s burpee has no jumping when you stand, but if you want some more cardio and you don’t have knee problems, you can definitely jump at the top to get your blood pumping.

Once you get the hang of the Inch Worm and the elevated burpee, you begin the full burpee. I’ve seen a lot of people perform burpees in odd ways with their personal trainers across Amarillo. Most will begin by standing feet together then reach down the ground with straight knees. You’re about to jump backwards without any power. You need your knees to be bent when you reach down to get the most momentum for the jump.   If your legs are straight and you try to jump back, you’re going to run out of stamina quickly.

The proper form is to begin with your feet together, bend your knees, and get down into the crouched position with your hands on the floor directly under your shoulders. From the strength in your legs and your activated core, jump back and jump in with your hands staying in the same place. Return to standing.

Do you remember when we spoke of hypermobile joints AKA double jointed folks?  If that is you, be careful. You don’t want to lock out your knees, elbows, or shoulders when doing this exercise. Keep your knees and elbows soft and rely on the power in your core and legs to create your movement.

Last thing people botch when they are learning burpees is they don’t jump back very far. I see this a lot with people who are physically capable, but in their minds they still think doing a burpee is too hard or is out of reach. They will jump back a foot or two and their hips will pike towards the sky instead of landing in the full plank position. This isn’t going to benefit your body.  It is important that you try and land in the extended plank position with soft knees and elbows to get the most bang for your effort.

I hope that gave you a few ideas on how to prepare for a burpee if you aren’t already doing them. If you are incorporating burpees into your routine now, really hone in on your power drive making sure the jump comes from your core and your legs. When you jump, see how high you can go each time.

If you are ready to make some changes in your body and lifestyle, with or without burpees, come try out Down Size. Our last session of 2017 is open for registration and we only have a few spots left. The program begins October 30th. Since April, our average participant has lost  2 pant sizes, up to 15 inches, and 10 – 15 pounds. If you lose 15 inches during the 6 weeks, you will get a 100% refund. If you’re feeling that now is the time to commit to that better lifestyle you’ve been envisioning with real changes that will last a lifetime, reach out to our team and we’ll be happy to set you up with an application.

If Down Size isn’t right for you, but you’d like to start improving your health, we’re happy to do that too. You can reach us at 806-322-3188 or info@customfitness.biz. We can bring you in for a consultation where you can see what exactly we can do for you and if we fit what you’re looking for. At Custom Fitness, we are YOUR personal trainer in Amarillo, Texas.  Have a great day, everybody!