Burpees tutorial & mistakes

For some time now, and especially with the strong CrossFit influence to our workouts, burpees have gained popularity and the love/hate for this exercise has grown in equal parts.

Let's take a closer look at how they benefit us, how to perform them correctly and the different types of burpees that exist.

Benefits of burpees

Burpees are one of the most complete exercises in which we work the strength, endurance and coordination.

Another point to highlight is that it is an excellent exercise with your own body weight. Basically, you work with all the muscles of the body: from legs to abdominals, pectorals, triceps, shoulders, shoulders... in addition to activating the cardiovascular system by significantly increasing the heart rate.

For this exercise you don't need space or material and anyone can do it.

Why do people hate burpees?

The main reason is because they are difficult to do, as they require great cardiovascular endurance. They leave you out of breath and tired very quickly. They are also used as punishment by the coaches: "whoever is late burpees!!!"

How to do burpees?

1. Start standing in an upright position and look to bring the palms of the hands to the ground by jumping with the feet backwards.
2. Touch with the chest on the ground performing a push up.
3. Bring the feet up again by flexing the legs again.
4. Jump for a full hip extension while clapping your hands above your head.

As in most exercises, it is important to have a core activation to avoid making bad gestures with the back.

crossfit burpees

In CrossFit

The standard of burpee movement has changed over the years. At the 2019 Opens, new guidelines for burpee with bar jumping were established.

Standard RX

To perform this movement according to the RX division standards it is necessary to jump with both feet together and extend the hip when you stand upright.

Scaled/modified standard

On the contrary, the athlete can lower first one foot and then the other (like a step) to bring the chest to the floorand is obliged to jump with both feet together looking for the clap seeking full hip extension.

No reps in burpees

The most common way of committing a NO REP in this exercise is to not fully extending the hip in the vertical leap with clapping. In this case, a no rep will be called.

Another way to make a no-rep, although less common, is to clap in front of the head instead of above it. If the athlete does not mark the clap properly in place, he/she will get a no rep.

In other sports

In other sports, it is common to see that the athlete in question controls the fall to the ground and performs a flexion. With this modification in technique it is much easier to reach muscle fatigue. Full hip extension seems less important and it is usually sufficient to mark the jump and the clap.

Types of burpees

Basically, there are as many types of burpees as a coach can think of, but these are the most common ones seen in the box:


With the technique specified before, without adding more combinations.

Burpee over the bar

Instead of seeking hip extension from the last point, the athlete is not required to extend the hip, but is required to jump to end up on the other side of the bar.

It is usually specified if the jump can be made sideways or if, on the contrary, it is mandatory to jump facing the bar. This implies a little more extra work as you have to turn to be always facing the bar. A minimum height is usually required by loading the bar with a 5 kg disc per side.

crossfit burpee over the bar

Burpee over the row

And for workouts where we are using rowing instead of weights, we have burpees over the row.

They follow the same dynamics as the burpees over the bar. The classic movement is performed, and instead of the vertical jump with the clap, the athlete must jumping over the rower to end up on the other side.

crossfit burpee over the row

Burpee box jump

If this movement is not demanding enough, after touching the chest to the ground, the athlete seeks to stand up to perform a jump on the box. Once at the top the athlete should mark the hip extension before stepping down from the box..

Burpee box jump over

There is also the version of jumping over the box, in which, the athlete is not obliged to extend the hip when on top of the plyo-boxbut, on the other hand, must end up on the other side of the plyo-box. It is similar to the burpee over the bar, but using a box.

crossfit burpee over the box

Burpee to a target

When performing simple burpees the athlete is looking for a small jump that marks full hip extension. When we do the "to a target" version, we mark a certain height at which we want the athlete to reach by touching with his hands when he is performing the jump.

The height is usually determined with a pull up bar, a ring or a line in the wall.

crossfit burpee to an object

Inverted Burpees

This type of burpees is the most different from all others and the one that involves the highest level mastery of gymnastic exercises.

The athlete starts facing the wall but with at least two steps away from the wall. Instead of coming for the chest to the floor, he goes down into a squat, looks with its round back to the ground (as if it were going to do a somersault) and gets momentum to stand up again. From here, the athlete goes straight to do the handstand on the wall.

When the athlete comes down from the handstand, he/she is ready to restart the backward somersault and continue the movement.

reverse burpee crossfit

Burpees with weights

The burpees with weighted vest are designed to further intensify the exercise. The idea is to do the simple burpees while wearing a weighted vest like this which is the most famous in CrossFit.

Burpee pull-up

As its name indicates, it consists of making a burpee and at the moment of jumping, hang on hands on a bar and perform a pull-up.

Burpee over the partner

In training in teams or pairs it is common for burpees to appear jumping over the partner.

Burpee over the med ball

The same burpee over that we have seen before but in this case we jump over the medicine ball.

Burpee syncro

Synchronized burpees usually appear in team wods. The members of the team, whether 2, 3 or even 4, must perform the burpee at the same time for all members to start, jump and finish at the same time.

Typical mistakes when doing burpees

As in any exercise, execution technique is important to avoid bad postures and consequently overloading some muscle areas that could eventually lead to injury.

Do not heat

A common occurrence in the box is that people do not take the warm-up phase seriously and spend time chatting. I must confess that I include myself in that group.

Warming up is equally important if we are going to perform burpees. Therefore I recommend that you emphasize on joint mobility and some exercise for raise the heart rate a little. You can jog, jump rope, row and do some dynamic stretching to properly prepare for the more intense activity.

Lower back overload due to arching

Both on the way up and on the way down, it is important that your back is in the correct position, aligned with the legs. If you arch your back when climbing, you will overload the lumbar area and you will feel that this area is getting stiffer and stiffer. To avoid this mistake, try to keep your core activated at all times.

Incorrect shoulder position

Remember that you are doing a plank position in the middle of this exercise, so you must maintain a good position. Keep your shoulders out of line with your hands. A good position will prevent possible shoulder and wrist injuries.

Falling without bending the legs

When you fall from making the jump leg flexion is important to cushion the fall. Many jumps with stiff legged reception can affect your lower back.

Not knowing when to rest

Set yourself some realistic series for your capabilities and follow the plan.

Suppose you have to do 50 burpees. You can propose 5 sets of 10 burpees, you could take 30 seconds to do 10 burpees + 10 seconds rest, that would be a total time of 3 min 20 sec.

If you do 30 burpees in a row, but then you get too tired to finish the remaining 20 you haven't chosen a good strategy. Before you start, you need to know how much to work and how much to rest, otherwise you'll make the breaks too long.

Forgetting to breathe

It is common to see many people who forgets to breathe while doing the exercises. Staying in apnea is not a good idea, as your muscles need oxygen during exercise.