The Burpee.

The word “burpee” is more than likely to send a shiver down most CrossFitters spines. The simple act of lying down, standing back up, and jumping fills you with a false idea of ease yet even though burpees are the simplest of movements they very quickly become incredibly tough when done under high intensity/volume due to the fatigue they place on your muscle and lungs.

Did you know based on the average weight of a man and woman 1 hour of burpees burns 652 calories roughly for a woman and 762 calories for a man

Why do we see burpees so much in programming?

Burpees are completely scaleable meaning your coaches can programme them knowing everyone regardless of their ability/skill will still get a great workout in, to put it simply you can not fail a burpee, your form might start to break down and you may lose your rhythm but you can always fall down and get back up (a great life lesson that is the reason many people see burpees as character builders). With burpees being a full-body workout hitting everything from your arms, chest, core to legs they are also transferable to any fitness goal you are chasing whether that be to lose weight, get fitter, or stronger.

Another big reason you see burpees programmed so much is that due to the  multiple variations of a burpee pairing them with other movements and still keeping the sessions constantly varied is very easy, an example of just a few of these variations can be seen below:

  • Burpee Box Jumps
  • Burpee Box Overs
  • Burpee Over The Bar
  • Burpee Target Hits
  • Burpee Pull Ups
  • Burpee Over The Rower

Tips for efficiency.

Since we know we are never too far away from our next session containing burpees, rather than dreading them the smart thing to do would be to learn how to perform them more efficiently:

1.Don’t break the movement down into individual steps

Instead of splitting up the movements and thinking as the burpee in the format of squat,  plank,  push-up,  squat,  jump. Try and look at the burpee as a more fluid 3 movements:
Drop To The Floor – Place your hand on the floor as you bend your knees then try to kick your legs back as you are lowering your chest to the ground in one fluid movement.
Explosive Jump Back – whilst pushing your upper body away from the floor the aim should be to pull your feet up towards your  hand in the same fluid movement you adopted for the “Drop To The Floor”
Landing – landing in a wide flat foot stance is a major hack in making your burpees more efficient. The wide stance aspect of the landing drastically reduces the range of movement you perform and landing flat-footed automatically puts you in a jumping position ready to explode upwards.

2. Resting

As fit and efficient as you are with your burpees, it is inevitable that at some point in some workout you will need to break your burpees up and rest.
Always Rest Standing – Resting standing allows you to put your hands on your head, open up your rib cage and take in maximum oxygen. What makes your burpee efficient is fluidity, breaking the moving at the bottom breaks that fluidity and prevents you from capitalising on the momentum you have created in the first half of your burpee.

3. Rhythm

Find a rhythm in your head and stick to it, sticking to a set rhythm helps you control your heart rate and breathing which highly improves your performance. Having a rhythm you set yourself that is maintainable gives you the luxury of turning up the tempo in the final sprint of a workout.

4. Practice

I know this is not what you wanted to hear, but having that experience of performing burpees late in a workout when you are heavily fatigued and being able to still apply the previously stated tips take practice and reps, so stick at it and learn to enjoy the chaos that is burpees.


Burpee workouts to give a go.

I assume many of you who have done CrossFit for a while know what workout I am going to suggest . . . The CrossFit Open 12.1

7 Minutes Max Burpees

Just reading this workout seems daunting however it is the perfect medium duration workout to set a cadence in your head and try to stick to it, you can work on your rhythm whilst moving at a maintainable pace to allow you to drill your burpee technique! It is also a brilliant workout to revisit to gauge your improvement with the burpee (if you have to stomach to go back).