Things We Don’t Do Part 2: Burpees!

-February 18th, 2020-

Burpees. Hated by everyone. Including me.

Are Burpees tiring? Yes. Does that mean it’ll improve your fitness or sports performance? NO.

I always tell parents you don’t need me to make your kid tired. Anyone can take them to a park with a whistle and a stopwatch and make them run and do burpees for an hour.

But does that make them better? Shouldn’t we want quality of movement over just quantity?

Lets break down what a burpee is. You start standing up and drop as quickly as can be into pushup position to complete a pushup. You then jump your feet back in towards your hands before jumping up into the air.

So basically it’s a pushup into a jump. Pushups=Good. Jumps=Good.

So what’s the problem? Well, the main problem is how they are programmed. Nobody does 3 Burpees looking for perfect form in each rep. They are done for speed and time. Do as many as you can as fast as you can (a recipe for injury with any exercise!).

As with anything done with that mentality, the form starts to look awful and with each rep the risk for injury goes up. Plus every time you crash to pushup position you are landing putting lots of force and pressure on your wrists.

So basically burpees turn into a poorly done pushup, into a poorly executed jump with a bad landing that puts pressure on the knees, into a fall to the ground that puts pressure on the wrists.

Now repeat that 75 times in a row! Or do as many as you can in 60 seconds!

If you’ve ever done alot of burpees in the past, you can probably think back now and remember your wrists and knees didn’t feel too great after. Is that how you want to feel or have your young athlete feel after a workout?

Not only that, how do you progress a burpee? Just do more? Add weight (because that will help with that form and the pressure on the knees and wrists)?

So it’s basically an exercise with no end goal.

Do proper pushups and progress them properly.

Train to jump with maximum effort and a focus on perfect landings (and don’t do 100 of them).

Use Conditioning drills that mimic the sport’s movements (no sport has a movement that looks like a burpee) and similar work to rest ratios so that we can progress it and improve it each session.


PS. Oh. My. God. Just when I thought it couldn’t get worse when I looked for an image I found out theres a thing called the Inverted Burpee! Look at this awfulness!!!

Do those as fast as you can for 60 seconds! Does that sound like it’ll be safe and effective?

Shaking my head.

About the Author

Sean Holmes

The owner and Head Strength Coach of The Dynamic Athlete is Sean Holmes. Sean is also the Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Toronto Rock and a certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS) and a youth speed and agility specialist (YSAS).

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