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The beloved burpee really makes sense when you break down the movements step-by-step

Tehrene Firman

Tehrene FirmanMay 22, 2020

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Photo: Getty Images/Thomas EyeDesign

Anytime a trainer says it’s time to do a round of burpees, it’s hard not to cringe. The good news is, despite them being so tough, there’s one way you can master the exercise once and for all: Taking a step back and focusing on the movements.

“Burpees, when done with proper form, are one of the best bang-for-your-buck exercises. They’re an awesome combination of strength and cardiovascular work,” says Sam Tooley, elite performance coach and founder of Alpha Fit Club in New Jersey. “I’m always an advocate of breaking most movements down piece by piece in order to learn them properly. Full burpees have a lot going on.”

Learning how to do a burpee step-by-step means slowing things way down. By following Tooley’s burpee movements below, you’ll not only get better at doing them, but you might actually start to enjoy doing them. (Okay, okay…at least more than you do now.) Here’s exactly how to get started, including all the modifications that can help you build up your strength.

How to do a burpee step-by-step

Part 1: Stand to squat

The burpee begins from a standing position. From the standing position, move into a squat, moving your hands down with your hips as you prepare to jump back into a plank.

Part 2: Plank to push-up

Shoot your legs back and enter into a plank. From the plank, you’ll complete a full push-up then extend back up into a plank.

Modification: Instead of jumping down into the plank and push-up position, simply take a step back and lower yourself down with control.

Part 3: Crunch to squat jump

Jump your feet back in toward your hands. Then, press yourself back up into a full squat jump with your arms overhead. Focus on a soft landing.

Modification: Instead of jumping your feet in toward your hands, step your feet in. You can also skip the squat jump and press yourself up to standing.

Make sure you’re not making these common burpee mistakes along the way:

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