Burpees are a great way to raise your heart rate and get your blood flowing. They’re high intensity and, when done correctly, low impact compared with running. Plus, they require no equipment and a minimal amount of space.
Sounds simple — but burpees are incredibly easy to do wrong. The biggest error is hyperextending the back in the plank and pushup position. The result is sagging hips and a disengaged core, which can cause discomfort and injury in the lower back, wrists, and shoulders.
These injuries can negate the burpee’s benefits and slow progress in the rest of your training. Fix your burpee form with the following tips:
- Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and arms at your sides, squat down and place your hands on the floor, about shoulder width or slightly wider.
- Keeping your arms extended, jump your legs back and land in a plank position. Your body should be in a straight line from head to heels.
- Jump your feet toward your hands to return to the squat position, then jump into the air with arms overhead, fully extending your hips and squeezing your glutes.
Make it easier: If jumping is uncomfortable, step back and forward instead.
Make it harder: Add a pushup only if you can maintain good form.
This article has been updated. It was originally published in the May 2015 issue of Experience Life.