Move Better: The Burpee

Move Better: The Burpee

Our 12 Part Move Better series is all about educating you. We want to provide a deeper understanding of movement to our readers. In this series, we will pick apart one movement per week that will help you not only move better but; move with a purpose in the gym!


Week 2: The Burpee. This bodyweight movement is typically only done at a high intensity and/or paired with other movements. The free fall to the floor, recover and jump aspects of this movement can be broken down nicely to improve understanding and application.


Breaking down the movement:

  • WHY- This movement does a great job at improving spacial awareness and body control. However, most of us familiar with the movement know that it also does a great job at raising the heart rate.
  • SAFETY- The initial part of this movement is a controlled fall to the floor, which needs to be done at a speed that allows us to land safely. The recovery portion is when we start to get back up off the floor. A safe way for us to do this is to either step up one foot at a time or to hop up and land with our feet flat on the floor. Landing on our toes for many reps can aggravate our patella tendons in our knees.
  • SCALING – Scaling the ‘freefall’ portion is as simple as slowing down and/or stepping down one foot at a time. The same goes for the way back up to the standing position.
  • EFFICIENCY KEYS – Once we can move quickly, it’s time to leverage our movement knowledge. The freefall needs to happen quickly and we can achieve this by simply kicking our feet out faster and cushioning that catch with our arms extended and elbows soft. The recovery can be sped up by driving up with our hips first; to create space for our legs underneath (hands and feet are all in contact with the floor at this point).
  • MOBILITY – Two key areas for improvement in mobility here are our upper back (Thoracic spine) and our hamstrings. Working on these two spots will allow us to stay more compact and move with more confidence.

Stay tuned next week when we break down another barbell movement!