If there’s one exercise that divides people in the gym, it’s probably going to be the burpee.
The full-body exercise, that will no doubt be part of any HIIT class you go to, will leave you so exhausted that you’ll want to curse the PT who asks you to do more.
Yet it’s also an exercise that works the whole body and will easily burn calories. So whether you love it or you hate it, we’re here to make sure you’re doing it right.
Jim Crossley, who works at F45 Kingston, incorporates burpees in nearly all of his exercise classes.
“Not only do burpees build strength and endurance but they’re a fantastic exercise to raise the heart rate and torch the calories,” he told us. “They’ll also test your co-ordination and balance.”
How to do a burpee:
Crossley took us through the step-by-step guide of performing a burpee:
From a standing start:
1. Drop down into a squat
2. Kick your feet out behind you so you are in a plank position
3. Jump your feet back to the original squat position
4. Jump up in the air and return to the starting position
The different levels of burpees:
PT Suzy Newson said burpees usually come in three levels, increasing in difficulty. This means if you’re in an exercise class, asked to do a burpee and you see others doing something slightly different: don’t panic. They’re probably just doing a different one and that doesn’t mean you’re wrong.
A beginner burpee: If you’re doing a burpee for the first time and you’re not used to high intensity exercise, you might want to start with this one.
Start standing up with your feet slightly apart, put your hands on the floor and then take one foot back, then the other foot back, then come back to standing and jump.
An intermediate burpee: This is as Crossley described above, when you jump back with your feet and jump back in again.
An advanced burpee: Start standing tall with your feet apart, put your hands down on the ground and jump your feet back, immediately dropping your chest to the floor. Then, lift your chest off the floor to a press-up position then jump your feet back in to meet your hands. From there jump straight up with your hands in the hair. And repeat.
“Whatever burpee you choose, it doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong it just means you’re doing it at your level,” said Newson.
Crossley added if you want to add even more intensity to your burpees (rather you than me), you could: “Add a press up before jumping up in the air (known as a ‘bastard burpee’), start by laying on the floor, or perform and repeat a box jump followed by a burpee.”
Dos and don’ts of burpees:
Do them as quickly as possible to increase the cardio effect.
Do keep your shoulders above your hands when in the plank position.
Don’t arch your back in the plank position.
Don’t do extra reps for the sake of it – nail your technique first.