Want to Get Better at Burpees? Ace the ‘Frogger’ First

Let's all take a moment to appreciate the beautiful complexity of the burpee, shall we? Along with the squat jump, plank pose, and push-up—all of which are essential components of this full-body exercise—the "frogger" is the glue that holds the whole move together. Without it, you wouldn't be able to transform that plank pose into a squat jump, but if you're still unsure if you're doing this transition the right way, Nike trainer Traci Copeland has your back.

"A frogger is a full-body movement that works your core, works your lower body, and also helps you get that heart rate up," says Copeland. In other words, it's a triple threat. But before you jump into the exercise (and tack it onto the burpee, as Copeland will teach you how to do at the end of the video), it's important to avoid the most common mistakes.

The biggest no-no Copeland sees? Poor hip placement. Inching your hips too high when you jump forward and backward from a plank to a squat makes the movement harder on your legs and easier on your core, which is not the point of a burpee (sigh). Conversely, dropping your hips too low puts unnecessary pressure on your lower back. The lesson: You want to make sure those hips are just right, lined up right behind your shoulders.

Now that you're aware of the most common frogger mistakes, you're ready to tackle the move. (And, dare I say, even a full burpee?) Watch the full video to see how Copeland performs the exercise with A+ form.

How to do the frogger exercise the right way

1. Start in a solid plank position with your core engaged and your arms straight.

2. Push through your toes and spring forward, coming into a squat at the front of your mat. Lift your arms off the ground, but remain low in your squat.

3. Place your hands on the ground again and jump back into your plank pose, keeping your body in one straight line as you do so. Don't forget to engage your core! This will protect your lower back from the impact of jumping into your plank pose.

How to do a low-impact frogger exercise

If you want to skip the jumping and still get a killer core workout and hip opener, start in a plank position just as you would for a normal frogger. Instead of jumping from the back of the mat to the front of your mat, simply step one foot forward, then the other, into your squat. Do the same thing when you return to plank pose, sending your feet back to plank one at a time.

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