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6 Dumbest Burpee Mistakes Sabotaging Your GAINS!


Posted by Scott_Herman - June 13th, 2017

Burpees. The one exercise everyone loves to hate. Probably the toughest bodyweight exercise you can do, but also the most beneficial, if done properly. Take a look at these six mistakes, and see if there’s something you could improve on when it comes to doing your burpees for maximum gains!

Mistake #1: Not Using Full Range Of Motion (ROM)

I’d rather you guys be able to do five amazing burpees, than push yourselves to do 15 that look like junk. Junk burpees aren’t going to help you progress with the movement, help you get stronger, or maximise your calorie burn. If you really think about the burpee, you’re pretty much doing four different exercises. You’re dropping down into a plank, from the plank you’re going to do a push-up, from the push-up you’re going to go into a squat, and from there you’re going to jump into the air.

It’s the combination of these four movements which makes the burpee one of the best exercises you can do to maximise your calorie burn, spike your heart rate, and get amazing results. Now when you first try burpees, it’s better that you go slowly through the movement as you learn when and how to do each portion of the exercise properly. Don’t go full throttle right away.

From a standing position, you’re going to come down and place your hands on the ground – you don’t need to drop to the ground yet, that is for when you are more advanced. From the floor, you’re going to jump back into a plank, and then you will do your push-up – all the way down to the ground, and all the way back to the top. From there, you will jump forward by thrusting your knees into your chest, or to the outside of your arms. You will then come up to the bottom of a squat position, and jump in the air as you come up. This is what proper, full ROM looks like.

Mistake #2: Not Keeping Your Core TIGHT

A lot of people fatigue relatively quickly when doing burpees because they’re not keeping their core tight. A lot of other people end up getting lower back pain for the same reason. You want to be as strong as possible when doing the squat and the plank and the push-up, and the only way you can stay super strong is by keeping your core tight.

The looser your core, the more movement there will be around your hips and lower back, and that’s not what you want. For example, when you go down into the plank position, usually one of two things will happen. One, you will get a dip in your hips which prevents you from doing a proper push-up, and if you’re going down really fast, your lower back is going to feel a lot of pressure at that point. The other thing that happens is that people may keep their hips too high. This will change the ROM for the push-up, and will place more pressure in your shoulders, rather than your chest and triceps.

You’re going to be a lot stronger when pushing through your chest and triceps. This means it’s imperative that you take in a breath so you can keep your core nice and tight as your drop down, and go through every motion of the burpee. You may even want to reset your breath between the push-up and the squat, depending on how fast you are going. You don’t have to hold your breath the entire time you’re doing your burpee, just make sure you plan your breaths so that you can keep your core tight the entire time.

Mistake #3: Stiff-Leg Dropping

This you see in beginners, but you also see a lot as people start to fatigue. Probably what fatigues the most for people is the quads, because they’re doing a lot of squatting and a lot of jumping, and generally as soon as your quads get tight or fatigued, you don’t want to bend them if you don’t have to.

Basically, instead of people bending their knees to lessen the impact on their wrists, they will just bend over at the hips, and then go down into the push-up without bending their knees. This means the entire impact of dropping your body moves to your hands. You may try to bend your wrists to help ease the impact as well, which can cause issues in the wrist or shoulder, and it could even mean you end up smashing your face into the ground when you drop down. I can tell you now, that’s probably not going to feel too good.

Make sure you are always bending your knees, and if you start to get super tired, instead of skipping the knee bend, just take it back a step and literally bring yourself to the ground before jumping back into the plank position, and then into the jumping portion of the movement.

Mistake #4: Landing On Flared Elbows

Typically muscles like your chest and triceps start to fatigue when landing on the ground, so in order to compensate for that some people like to turn their hands in, which leads to them landing on flared elbows, rather than tight, tucked elbows. The problem here is two-fold.

One, if you’re landing on flared elbows, you’re going to feel a lot more pressure through your elbows, shoulders and rotator cuffs. Two, landing on flared elbows means you aren’t in the proper position to actually do the push-up and utilise your chest and triceps.

If you notice that when you land on the ground, you’re not landing with tucked elbows, you need to make the adjustment because you don’t want to be doing push-ups with flared elbows and pushing mainly through your shoulders to get yourself back up for your jump into the air.

Mistake #5: Not Breathing Properly

Breathing is more important than just core control. You have to breath steadily throughout the movement in order to not fatigue so quickly when performing multiple reps. You’ve got to bring oxygen in to get it to the muscles, and at the same time if you start holding your breath too long with all these high impact exercises, your face will turn red, you’ll raise your blood pressure, and it’s going to tucker you out really quickly.

There are crucial moments when you have to keep your core tight, and you can’t keep your core tight while breathing in or out. In the motions where you are dropping and getting the most impact on your core, that’s going to be the most vital portion of the movement for you to hold that breath in and keep your core tight.

Typically what I do (because I am more advanced and can do burpees more quickly), is I will take in a breath at the top, then go down and hit my push-up while still holding that breath, and then as I jump up out of the squat, that’s when I breath out. I take just the one breath throughout the movement, but obviously as you move through your reps, you won’t be able to do that so easily. It can be easy to go fast in the beginning, but if you are doing a set of 20, you’re going to fatigue, and at that point it’s OK to go slower. Sometimes focusing on your breathing can help you push through all of your reps, and if you have to take four or five breaths for one burpee, that’s OK too.

Mistake #6: Not Progressing With The Movement

If you’re getting to the point where you can do 20-30 burpees no problem, that’s incredible, but you’re also not maximising the effectiveness of the exercise, because it’s getting too easy. Like any exercise in the gym, if it’s getting too easy, you need to modify it to keep pushing yourself as hard as possible.

For beginners, I suggest doping plank burpees. This means that once you jump down, you simply hold the plank position for a second or two, and then go into your squat and jump. There is no push-up in this version. If you can’t do push-ups for a good set of 10-12 reps during your burpees, this will help you build the strength you need to do that. One thing I will say is that no matter what burpee you are doing, make sure you are ALWAYS jumping as high as you can at the end of the movement. This isn’t a contest to see who can do the most burpees, this is you trying to maximise the effectiveness of the exercise, and doing baby jumps at the end of each repetition won’t be helping you.

Once you’ve mastered the plank burpee, the next progression is the standard burpee. However, some of you may only be able to do the push-up for maybe five reps in a row. If this sounds like you, I want you to go back to the plank version when you need to (after your five standard reps), or you can do a push-up on your knees. The only difference here will be that once you drop down for your push-up, you drop your knees to the ground, perform the push-up, and then lift your knees back off the ground before completing the rep with your squat and jump.

The next progression is high-knee burpees. This is where it starts to get crazy. No-one likes to do high knees, and nobody REALLY likes doing high-knees at the end of a burpee, but it’s going to give you a lot more core/lower ab activation, and it’s going to give your legs and quads some extreme fatigue. For this variation, you’ll perform a standard burpee up until you jump in the air. When you jump, you’ll simultaneously bring your knees up as high as you can (towards your chest). Just be careful, and make sure you get your knees back down to absorb the impact when you land.

From there you can try the alternating lunge burpee. Again, the burpee will be performed with standard form until you jump. This time, after you have jumped into the air, you will come back down with one leg in front of the other, and perform a jumping lunge. This means once you land with one foot forward and one back, you then jump explosively into the air, and switch whichever leg was in front, with the one that was behind you.

Next is the long jump burpee. This is similar to the high-knees burpee, but instead of jumping UP and bringing your knees UP, you’re going to jump FORWARD as far as you possibly can. As soon as you land, you’ll turn, and do another burpee. If you have the room you can just continually do lunges in one direction until you run out of room.

The final progression is going to be a dumbbell burpee. This is pretty self-explanatory – you’re going to hold a dumbbell in each hand (I recommend starting light with maybe 3lbs or 5lbs), and you’re going to do a standard burpee. Take it easy on the way down with this one, to make sure the dumbbells land properly so that you avoid any wrist injuries. This is going to fatigue your shoulders a lot more than a regular burpee would, but if you’re really cranking your burpees, this is the ultimate way to maximise the benefits of the exercise. You can also implement the other variations we talked about WHILE using dumbbells to make things even more intense!


So there you have it, the dumbest burpee mistakes! Burpees are a complicated exercise, so don’t get too down about yourself if you find that you’re guilty of some of these mistakes. Just take the advice from this article and use it to your advantage so you can become the burpee king or queen!

Related Videos:

6 Dumbest Push-Up Mistakes Sabotaging Your Chest Growth! STOP DOING THESE!

8 Dumbest Bench Mistakes Sabotaging Your Chest Growth! | STOP DOING THESE!

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That is a high jump

Wstar  Edit  Delete  Close

@uther9 If you keep trying, you will soon be able to jump higher. 


hi scott

Scott_Herman  Edit  Delete  Close

Hey Arturo!  You gonna do some Burpees?!