ANATOMY OF A BURPEE
With burpees being such a controversial exercises, I thought I’d share the irony of why I think they’re a bad idea, but also why I just taught an entire online class ‘Sponsored by Burpee’
First, I’m not alone in my evaluation: Ben Bruno, Kate Upton’s trainer, recently professed his loathing for the exercise.
Mark DiSalvo , NYC-based certified strength and conditioning specialist is spot on with his quote in SELF magazine…
“The primary problem with burpees, DiSalvo says, is that they are an advanced, complicated movement that require a high-level of strength to perform properly. Because many people who attempt them do not have the adequate core and upper-body strength needed to nail the move, they don’t reap the full benefits—and risk injuring themselves in the process.” read article
the PROBLEM – burpees are included in many Pinterest cardio and functional fitness workouts 🤔 Ummm, but burpees ARE NOT functional and they are not an example of functional conditioning for real life common movements. But if you google “are burpees functional fitness”…
Well ok, maybe you often find yourself running through the forest being chased by a bear and you trip over a tree root and fall on your face and have to pop back up real fast and continue sprinting so you don’t die.. then yes, burpees for you can be considered functional fitness.
Or, in some cases, they are good for athletic training. But still, many athletes do not have the flexibility or core strength to do them properly and safely.
Mike Boyle, one of the foremost experts in the fields of Strength and Conditioning, Functional Training and general fitness, refers to Burpees as “The World’s Dumbest Exercise”
“Wrist impact, shoulder impact, lumbar flexion. A million opportunities for bad mechanics with what upside? It’s hard? Is that upside? … It’s our job (fitness professionals) to choose exercises that are effective. It’s also our job to keep our athletes and clients healthy… If you look at an exercise and see injury risk and then can’t really explain why you do it, that makes it a really bad choice.” read article
SO WHY DID I TEACH AN ENTIRE CLASS CENTERED AROUND THE BURPEE?
Thanks for asking! Well, the single burpee movement broken down is full of wonderful functional exercises! So we took each part and worked on the mental and physical connection of understanding and maintaining strong stabilized core through movement AND we spent time working on transitioning the anchor (the part of the body that connects you to the earth).
For example, in a squat jump our anchor transfers to toes as we lower to the ground, transfers back to the heels as we raise up, and back to the toes preparing to lift off the ground for the jump. WOW that’s complex! And actual functional training for walking/running. All movement follows this pattern: transfer, then anchor (or load) and finally move. You can see why this would take some practice, but it makes all the difference!
As far as the CORE – we must understand neutral spine and be able to find it quickly after spinal flexion.. and avoid spinal extension during the plank and optional push-up. Thanks to my PMI Pilates training and experience, I can facilitate training that will lead up to this.
So this is how I analyze a burpee. And I think it’s jumping the gun to add it to a Pinterest HIIT workout and challenge people to do as many as they can in 30 seconds.
After practicing the fundamentals and “Pilates style form” for each exercise that combine to form a burpee … which may I add totaled up to be a killer workout!! .. we put them all together at the end and did 5-8 controlled, slow-mo burpees 💪🏼
For more of my online workouts, check my Online, Pilates-based Studio TYE4FITNESS.COM
We use the wearable TYE4 harness and bungee system that gives us resistance in every plane (up to 30 lbs of resistance depending on how you use it). It also strengthens and heals the joints as we exercise – and THIS is why I love it and recommend it.