Shawn Arent, the director of the Center for Health and Human Performance at Rutgers University and a fellow at the American College of Sports Medicine, demonstrates the proper form for the burpee.
Special thanks to Michelle Adams-Arent. Following is a transcript of the video.
Now people either love or hate burpees, though most have a love-hate relationship with them.
An exercise that’s becoming more and more common to see people doing — that’s also easy to do when you’re travelling and you don’t need equipment for — is the burpee.
What we’re going to want to make sure she does is lower into a full pushup position when she does this correctly. And you want to make it fairly explosive in terms of doing this.
The other thing, too, is when you come back up towards your hands in a burpee, you want to land in a wider base position rather than trying to bring your feet up between your hands. So that you’re in a better landing position, so that you can keep your spine flat, and so that you can jump if you’re actually doing a full burpee from there.
There are a couple of things that she does very, very well in this. One, she keeps her back flat, and she keeps her hips from either rising or falling too much. But you’ll also notice that she kicks fully back in order to get full extension.
What a lot of people do is they will do half of that movement, and wind up with their feet somewhere in between, almost in a frog squat position. That’s not proper burpee form.
So she’s going to go down, kick back. She’s in the start of a pushup position here, does a full pushup, and as she comes back up, she’s going to launch herself back up with her feet moving outside of her hands.
What a lot of people will do that makes this incorrect or much harder to do, especially if you don’t have the hip mobility to do it, is they try to bring their feet between their hands, instead of outside of them, when they do the burpee. So she lands in this position, which causes her to have to squat and lean much farther forward, which puts her in an un-optimal position, in order to finish the burpee and jump back up.
Beginners should do three sets of five to 10 reps, working up to three to five sets of 10 to 20 reps.
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