Burpees have become pretty common, especially as more and more people have come to learn of their benefits. These exercises rank among the best full-body exercises to help you get toned quickly as well as shed pounds in no time. Following this discovery, most people have rushed to add burpees to their workout plan. This though, has not come without its challenges. Burpees are among the most challenging workouts, even for notable trainers. They will leave you begging for mercy, no matter who you are. For this reason, most individuals are looking for a simplified version of how to do burpees for beginners.
If you have tried doing a burpee before, the chances are that you already hated the exercise even before completing your reps. It will leave you summoning even your deepest inner self for more strength to complete the activity. However, there are ways you make this exercise more manageable. Start by learning how to do burpees for beginners using its modified version.
Here is the absolute guide every beginner needs if they are looking to incorporate burpees into your workout routine. It discusses the simplified burpee version for beginners and shares tips to help beginners quickly master this technique. In addition to that, it also provides some safety precautions to help anyone get the most from this exercise. Read on for this and more enlightening information.
What Is A Burpee?
A burpee is an exercise that incorporates two intense yet advantageous exercises. These are the push-up and squat (6). Anyone who has done a burpee before will tell you for real that it is not for the faint-hearted.
It takes a toll on numerous body muscles, primarily because you are doing both a squat and a push-up in one move. You will need more than zeal and motivation if you are starting a burpee workout program.
However, this is not to discourage you. Performing a burpee workout is very beneficial, which might explain why most people still do it, even if they consider it gruesome. Additionally, there are various modifications to this exercise, meaning you can choose a less strenuous one.
What Muscles Do Burpees Work?
Before discussing how to do burpees for beginners, let us discuss the muscles that are worked whenever you perform a burpee. There is a solid reason why a burpee ranks among the most functional of full-body exercises. It is because it targets numerous muscle groups.
If done correctly, a burpee will work out your chest, quads, core, arms, hamstrings, and butt simultaneously (5). It is one of the best exercises to do if you are looking for an exercise that will target multiple muscle groups.
Do Burpees Live Up To The Hype?
Just because burpees target these numerous muscle groups does not mean that most beginners will likely get on board. Some people will still be skeptical about why they need to add burpees to their workout routine. Take note, so long as your form is on point, burpees will help you reap the following benefits:
Improved Coordination And Balance
As mentioned earlier, this compound movement incorporates a push-up and a squat all at once. You must have good coordination to combine both of these exercises correctly and in one move. Frequently practicing burpees helps you improve your coordination.
Likewise, it improves your balance. The correct execution of a burpee demands balance. You must adequately align various parts of your body to maintain the proper form of a burpee. Doing this regularly helps you work on your balance.
Improved Cardiovascular Conditioning
One of the best ways to improve your cardiovascular performance is by performing a set of burpees. Regardless of the reps, you complete, these power exercises will help you improve your cardiovascular conditioning (5).
Burpees are some of those exercises that will leave you questioning why you started doing them in the first place. They will test you not only physically but also mentally. However, the good thing about them is that they help you work on your endurance.
You get to challenge yourself overall, an aspect that helps you enhance your endurance. Similarly, you get to push your limits while doing this exercise, which might also increase your performance.
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Increased Calorie Burning
You might have noticed that most people who want to lose weight are advised to add burpees to their weight loss workout plan. Most fitness trainers recommend them because they help you burn a lot of calories. As we all know by now, weight loss requires that you burn more calories than you are consuming. Burpees can help increase the daily amount of calories you are burning.
More so, they can help you get rid of stubborn belly fat. Most people struggle when it comes to shedding fat around this region. Fortunately, doing burpees has been linked to reducing stubborn belly fat (2).
Improved Muscle Strength And Mass
Burpees target many body muscles, including your arms, quads, and hamstrings. The more you perform them, the more you improve muscle strength and mass in these regions. They can help you quickly get toned and jump back in shape (2).
Increased Cardio Fitness
Burpees are among the most recommended exercises to add to a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) program. They can be performed alongside jumping jacks, high knees, push-ups, and jump squats to help burn belly fat (7). As you perform them alongside these other exercises, you get to boost your cardio fitness. Similarly, you also get to burn body fat, especially around your stomach and waistline (7).
Exercising by doing a set or two of burpees can also help improve your mood. According to Medical News Today, exercising using any routine helps with reducing your anxiety and stress levels (8). The less stressed or anxious you are, the better mood you have. Similarly, long term exercising with a workout program like one incorporating burpees has also been linked to reduced risk of depression (8).
The Correct Burpee Technique For Beginners
Burpees are challenging for those who have never done them before, as well as for fitness experts and trainers. Many people tend to struggle a lot with this exercise, which might explain why it is the least favorite among most individuals.
Luckily, there is a simplified version, which is among the best options for beginners looking for effective full-body workouts. It would help if you learn how to do a basic burpee using this simplified version. It will help you know how to do burpees and reduce your risk of sustaining injuries. This simplified version is as follows:
- Begin in a standing position with your feet hip-width apart. Make sure your back is straight, your hands are hanging by your sides, and that you are facing straight ahead.
- Start by slowly moving into a supported squat position and touch the floor using your hands (4). This means you will have to hinge at your hips, stick your bum out, and bend your knees. You will also have to lean forward to enable your arms to touch the floor. Remember to keep them at least shoulder-width apart.
- From this stance, stretch your legs behind you into the high plank position. Try to kick back one leg at a time until you get into this high plank position. Remember to firmly press your hands on the floor and maintain them shoulder-width apart. Another critical tip is in remembering to be face down and keeping your back straight while you get into the high plank position.
- At this high plank position, you can choose whether to perform a push-up or not. If you decide to do a push-up, make sure you maintain the correct form and rest a few inches above the ground.
- Return from the plank position to a supported squat by bringing your legs towards your arms, and then stand. If not, you can walk your feet forward and push off the ground, and then jump into the standing position. If you do choose to include a jump, make sure that you land softly and gently on the balls of your feet. Similarly, if you do decide to walk and then stand, make sure you do this slowly.
- Repeat and complete at least five to ten reps. The goal for any beginner should not be how fast they complete these reps. So, do not worry about timing yourself. Your priority should be learning how to nail this beginner-friendly burpee modification correctly.
Precautions When Doing The Burpees
Like with any other exercise, it is pretty easy to injure yourself when doing a burpee. You can safely do a burpee by taking note of the following:
It will help if you stay comfortable and cozy when doing these exercises. Opt for clothes made out of wool. It is an excellent fabric that keeps you cool, dry, and odor-free, no matter how many burpees you perform (3).
Your shoes also matter as much as your clothes. Make sure you are wearing well-fitting shoes and that you have tied your laces. The last thing you want is to trip over your laces and injure yourself.
You may be tempted to keep up with your fitness gurus or instructor when it comes to your burpees’ reps and sets. Unfortunately for you, they are not at the same fitness level as you. They may need to perform extra or more reps and sets, unlike you at the beginner fitness level.
There is nothing wrong with doing fewer reps. With that in mind, do not beat yourself if you cannot keep up with your gym instructor or mentor. In this phase, your primary focus should be on mastering how to do a burpee correctly.
Always start by doing fewer reps as they help you pay attention to the correct technique. Once you get used to doing a burpee correctly, you can gradually do more reps (2).The advantage of following such protocol is that you get to easily incorporate more burpees in your workout plan and with less strain and injury (2).
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Your Resting Period
There is no promise that doing burpees will be easy and effortless. They just might be the opposite, mainly because this exercise incorporates two vital full-body exercises. Even if you are a workout enthusiast, you will probably find yourself longing to pause and rest for a few seconds.
The problem is that most beginners prolong their resting duration. As such, you find them performing their second set of burpees after ten or fifteen minutes of rest. Such an extended duration of rest ends up compromising your results and efforts. Try to rest in-between sets for only one minute.
Similarly, you might be tempted to quickly do your burpees so that you no longer have to endure the torture. The problem with a fast pace is that you get to disregard the correct forms. For example, you may wrongly place your hands and wrists when coming down to a push-up position. As a result, you may end up with unbearable wrist pain.
Such pain can lead to stiffness in your wrist and other fingers or trouble gripping various objects (10). That said, do not assume that you can brush off this pain and continue with your burpees. Even if you could, with time the pain only worsens, especially after extended periods of rest (10).
Likewise, when standing or jumping back up, you may do it so quickly that you end up twisting your ankle. These are just two of the scenarios to show you how fast movements can stress various areas, resulting in injuries. Try to slow down and maintain controlled movements while performing a burpee. Remember that slow and steady always wins the race.
Beginners can choose to either jump from the push-up position or walk it out. The major mistake most beginners make when jumping out of this position is landing heavily or stomping on their feet after the jump.
It poses many risks, especially when you are fatigued and merely want to get done with this exercise. You might land poorly and injure your back, knees, or feet. Always land lightly and on the balls of your feet. If you are so exhausted, opt to walk it out instead of incorporating the jump.
Another grave mistake that most beginners make is in failing to do a warm-up exercise before they start performing burpees. In other cases, beginners end up doing the wrong warm-up exercises. Remember that your warm-up exercises have to align with this full-body exercise. If not, the activities will not loosen up the intended joints or targeted muscles (1).
Talk to your trainer for more insight on the best warm-up exercises to do before performing a set of burpees. They are a range of these workouts, including stretching and aerobic exercises. The best of these exercises must (1):
- Fit the upcoming activity (burpee exercise)
- Be of moderate-intensity instead of being vigorous and energy-draining
- Be performed for a convenient timeline that allows your muscles to warm
- Create a short resting period between the warm-up and the burpee workout program
How Many Burpees Should Beginners Do?
A lot of people are starting various burpee challenges, such as the 100 burpees a day challenge. Most beginners are having a hard time deciding whether to take on this challenge or not. It stems from the fact that they are not sure of the number of burpees a beginner should complete in a day.
Some may argue that they can participate in the challenge so long as they see it through to the end. However, by looking at our discussion above, you do not need to do 100 burpees a day. Remember that burpees are examples of calisthenics exercises.
With such exercises, the primary focus is not on how many of them you do but instead on how you do them. So, pay attention to mastering the correct burpee technique. Start with a few reps, and then gradually improve both the sets and reps. However, this should only be after your instructor approves of these changes.
When Do You Stop Doing Burpees?
Although some people hate quitting, sometimes you have to give up on a particular program such as a burpee challenge. You are advised to stop doing burpees if you report any of the following:
Back pain may arise when you ignore the correct burpee form. This means that you are arching your back where you are being asked to keep it straight. Seek immediate medical attention if your back pain persists or if it is accompanied by a fever, weakness, or unexplained weight loss (9).
You may also experience wrist pain if you do not correctly place your wrist and palms when doing a push-up. Talk to your instructor and let them demonstrate how you put your arms, wrist, and palms when performing a push-up. You can also complete your burpees as they watch to validate if you are correctly placing your palms, wrist, and palms.
You might also sustain a leg sprain, especially if you choose to jump from your squat to the standing stance. You might land heavily or poorly, leading to a leg sprain. Stop doing burpees if you sustain a leg sprain and take time off to allow it to heal. If the pain persists even after applying various home treatments, seek medical attention immediately.
A Fitness Plateau
This refers to a point whereby you no longer see any changes because your body has adapted to the burpee workout plan. If you reach this plateau, stop doing your regime and consult with a professional. They may recommend more challenging burpee variations to help you maintain your fitness goal.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on for decision-making. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Benefits of Warm-Up Exercises (2020, webmd.com)
- Does Burpees Burn Belly Fat? (2021, medicinenet.com)
- Exercise clothing and shoes (2020, medlineplus.gov)
- International Standards for the 3‐Minute Burpee Test: High‐ Intensity Motor Performance (2019, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Is it worth it? Burpees-exercise review (2016, theguardian.com)
- List of the best full-body exercises (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Top Exercises for Belly Fat (2020, webmd.com)
- What are the mental and physical health benefits of exercise? (2021, medicalnewstoday.com)
- What is causing this pain in my back? (2017, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Why does my wrist hurt? (2017, medicalnewstoday.com)