If you’re looking for a full-body exercise that can boost your fitness levels, burn calories, and improve your strength and endurance, look no further than the humble burpee. This dynamic and intense exercise targets multiple muscle groups and can add greatly to your workout routine. However, diving straight into a full set of burpees might leave you overwhelmed and prone to common mistakes.
Instructor Alejandro broke down the burpee into four simple steps, along with some suggestions and mistakes to watch out for, ensuring you perform this exercise safely and effectively. He teaches this and other exercises in his Sand Boot Camp.
Step 1: The Squat
To start a burpee:
- Get into a standing position with your feet shoulder-width apart. Your weight should be evenly distributed on both feet.
- Begin the movement by bending your knees and lowering your hips, as if you’re sitting back into an imaginary chair.
- Keep your chest up and your back straight throughout the squat.
This is the foundation of the burpee, so take it slow, focusing on proper form and gradually increasing your speed as you become more comfortable.
Common Mistake: Rushing the Squat – Avoid the temptation to dive right into the exercise. Instead, take your time to perform each squat with control and precision. Rushing can compromise your form and lead to potential injuries.
Step 2: Transition to the Plank
After the squat, it’s time to move into the plank position.
- Place your hands on the ground in front of you and shift your weight onto them. Simultaneously, kick your feet back, extending your legs fully until you’re in a push-up position.
- Your body should form a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles, engaging your core to maintain stability.
Common Mistake: Misaligned Plank – The key to a proper plank is maintaining alignment from your shoulders to your ankles. Your ankles align with your hips, which align with your shoulders. Avoid arching your back or allowing your hips to sag. Focus on engaging your core muscles to keep your body aligned.
Step 3: The Plank Push-Up
Once you’re in the plank position, it’s time to perform a push-up.
- Lower your chest towards the ground while keeping your elbows close to your body.
- As you push back up, maintain the plank position throughout the movement. This step will engage your upper body and further challenge your core.
Common Mistake: Incorrect Push-Up Form – A common mistake is letting your hips drop during the push-up or allowing your lower back to arch excessively. Keep your body in alignment from head to heels throughout the push-up motion.
Step 4: Jump Back to Squat and Stand Up
To complete the burpee, reverse the movements.
- From the plank position, jump or step your feet forward, returning to the squat position.
- Once you’re in the squat, explode upwards, jumping vertically or standing up if you prefer a low-impact option.
- Land softly and repeat the burpee sequence.
Common Mistake: Feet Not Leaving the Ground When Kicking Back- Avoid dragging your feet or landing with a loud thud when jumping back or forward. Focus on smooth and controlled movements to reduce the impact on your joints. In the sand, you notice if you drag your feet.
Remember, it’s essential to start at your own pace and gradually increase the intensity as your strength and form improve. Happy burpee-ing!