Hi everybody, Kris Stokes from Custom Fitness here, your personal trainer in Amarillo. Today we are talking about that awful “B” word that makes everybody shudder: Burpees.  Burpees seems to be one of those exercise that most people have something against them (even if it is the word is striking fear into all who hear it). Myself and most of the people I know are not huge fans of doing them, but they are a great full body exercise. So today I am going to show you some variations in Burpees. Going to show you how to make them safe, effective, and that you are getting the most out of your workout.  Would you like more tips and techniques from personal trainers ready to create programs tailored to your body?  If you have any questions or would like some advice, give us a call: 806-322-3188.  

Often times when people work out, they start a new exercise routine and struggle at first. They think “oh yeah! This is really working!”  Eventually the struggle fades and they get used to it, but they decide that they felt it when they began so it must still be working. Then they stop pushing themselves; being content with the same exercises for who knows how long.  Is this sounding familiar?  A lot of people experience this same thing and never up the workout ante.  Maybe because we don’t want to, maybe because we feel the intensity is good enough, or maybe it is because we don’t know how to.

Burpees are an exercise that people add jumps or pushups to in the beginning and call it good. Well, I’m here to tell you, good isn’t good enough in the long term. My personal trainers in Amarillo and I have seen people burn out on exercise when they do the same thing over and over again. Your body wants to be challenged not perform the same moves everyday.  You gotta change your routine frequently to keep your body developing. Burpees have so many beneficial variations that can help you get the most out of your workout and will keep interested in coming back.  Who knows? That variety also may help you not dislike them as much.  I won’t say “love them”, but not dislike them as much.

The Original

If you’ve never seen a regular burpee, I’ll go ahead and demonstrate that now.  A normal burpee your feet are planted about hip-width apart. Bend at the waist to touch the ground with your hands.  Plant the hands about shoulder-width or a bit wider on the ground. Jump your feet backwards so you land in a plank position. Jump your feet back to your crouching position (hands still on the floor).  Then stand back up.   Most people don’t realize this, but when you are headed towards the ground to plant your hands, you need to bend your knees.   If you bend at your hips with straight legs you are losing all of your momentum that you will need when you jump back.

Variation Number 1:  Modifications for Impact and Strength

I am going to show you this because I care if you do burpees correctly.  I don’t want you to get hurt.  If you don’t feel comfortable with a jump, because maybe you don’t feel strong enough yet, or sturdy enough in the plank position, or the impact is too much, I want you to do this modification.  So, you start off the same way: feet planted and you reach down to the ground with bent knees, hands planted. Then, instead of jumping, you are going to step your feet back one at a time and step back in the same way.  Return to a standing position.  This is a good modification that will help you grow. Start with the step back, and as you become stronger/more comfortable with the movement, you can build yourself up to a jump.

Let’s say you can’t reach your hands to the floor yet. No big deal.  You can elevate your hands on a bench or a table then jump back from there. Making it a little bit easier to do if you’re not ready to hold that full plank.  

Variation Number 2: Discs

 If you feel comfortable with the jump and the plank position, but you’re ready to push it a little further, we are going to add some discs to it.  If you’re working out on a hard surface use some folded dish towels. If you’re on carpet, go grab some paper plates from your pantry.   So remember, when you use discs you are balancing all your weight on the front of your foot (ball and toes), NOT on the heel.  Incorproating discs into burpees is pretty easy, you will get down on the ground the same way.  Now, you slide your feet back into the plank.  Now slide your body back more; push away from your hands.  Notice your chest and your forehead are behind your palms.  Now you slide yourself forward by engaging your core. Slide your feet up and return to standing.  

Variation Number 3:  Standing Leg Burpees

Sounds like a lot of fun, right?  You loved the original now try the single leg! Start by standing on one leg.  Plant your hands on the ground, jump back to a one leg plank, jump back, and stand. You can jump at the top if you’d like.  Then switch sides and repeat.  

Variation Number 4: Weighted Burpees

This is more of a full body exercise.  Burpees are already pretty full body since they are working your core, your arms, your stabilizers in your upper body, back, arms, legs (hello shaking), and more. So this variation just takes it up a notch for the entire body.  

Grab some weights that are appropriate to you; whether it is 5s, 8s, or larger. Just make sure the weights are something you can comfortably handle while performing the appropriate technique and movements. Don’t get up in arms about the amount you are loading into this exercise, when it could be more beneficial to your body if you load less.  More is not better when you sacrifice technique and form.

Start like your regular burpee: feet hip width-apart, drop the barbells to the floor, jump your feet back.  Here we perform a Renegade Row: in the plank position, lift one of your arms up with bent elbows (bringing the weight up with you), set it back down, repeat on your other arm.  Jump back in.  Curl your arms with weights to your shoulders and as you stand up press your arms overhead. So it looks like this:  standing, crouching, jump feet back into a plank, Renegade Row, jump in, Arm Curl, standing Shoulder Press, and return to neutral. Not too bad, right?

So if you want to improve your burpees you really want to push yourself to your own limits, adding in some of those variations will help.  As always, if you have any questions about our personal training, nutrition counseling, or group classes and programs, please contact us at: info@customfitness.biz or 806-322-3188. Mention this video for a complimentary consultation.  At Custom Fitness we are YOUR personal trainers in Amarillo, Texas. Have a great day everybody.