Give it a Go - Burpees

Burpees are a great whole body exercise, which provide a great core workout, challenge your Cardiovascular System and work your upper body and in particular lower body muscles. Whilst your leg muscles are doing most of the work by jumping back and forward, your arms, chest, shoulders and abdominals are getting a fantastic workout too. Being able to do Burpees correctly is a great test of your strength, cardiovascular fitness and is something many people struggle with.

Burpees could be described as the ultimate compound exercise because they utilise a wide range of upper, mid and lower body muscles and joints.

Burpees will challenge your cardiovascular system, will help you to burn calories and are a vigorous exercise. Are you up for a challenge? Burpees utilise elements of a press up, squat and squat thrusts.

Please see my Matt Swaz Fitness Video on how to perform the Burpees.

Burpees don't require any equipment, don't need much room and they can be performed anywhere and varied in so many ways. If you’re short of time to exercise, Burpees will take care of that and work you - if done correctly.

Poor technique is common when people do Burpees, don't rush the exercise at the expense of form - you won't get the full benefit of the exercise. The following are a few tips on how to perform Burpees safely and correctly:

  • Begin by standing with feet shoulder width apart, chest and head lifted and abdominals contracted.
  • With control squat by bending your knees and lower your body towards the floor by putting your hands on the floor in front of you.
  • With your hands on the floor, jump/thrust your feet back so that you are in a press up position (see Give it a Go - Press Ups), so that your arms are straight under the shoulders, shoulder width apart, abdominals are contracted; legs extended and toes on the floor. There should be a straight line from your head to your heels.
  • Powerfully but safely, jump your feet forward so that your knees bend and with your hands still on the floor push yourself up and return to the standing position via a squat. That is 1 repetition.
  • Using a smooth motion, breathe in on the way down and out on the way up.
  • Avoid letting your back/hips sag towards the floor or up in the air and your knees bang onto the floor.

As a starter, aim to complete 30 seconds and see if you can do this 2-3 times. If you can't don't worry. Build up to it. You are best doing 8 correct Burpees with safe and proper technique to work the targeted muscles rather than 15 incorrect ones.

In future blogs, I will suggest ways that you can make the Burpees more challenging or if needed a little easier. For instance, you can incorporate a press up, elevate your hands, jump in the air once returning to a standing position etc. For a similar but less challenging version of the Burpees see "Give it a Go - Squat Thrusts".

Please remember to warm up thoroughly before exercising and to speak to your GP before starting any exercise programme. Should you require any help, advice or information please do not hesitate to contact me. I would be delighted to discuss with you the tried and tested methods and lifestyle changes that I have developed to help people achieve their health and fitness goals.

Keep up the great work,

Live life actively,


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