My training log

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Burpee conditioning



Ross Enamait explains how to execute burpees properly and also tells us how underrated the form of exercise is. He also gives various versions of this great exercise…



It is unfortunate that many “self-appointed” fitness gurus deceive the public with expensive, ineffective gadgets and gimmicks. A quick browse of the Internet will lead you to many sites offering “miracle” solutions to fat loss and fitness.

Unfortunately, this nonsense is not confined to the Internet. Each month we can browse the magazine rack at our local bookstore and find a dozen or more fitness magazines all claiming to contain the secret to strength and six-pack abs.

These magazines are loaded with repackaged routines and exercises. Their authors are often guilty of overcomplicating the training process.

By overcomplicating the process, gurus gain control over the public. Many athletes are left lost and confused when scouring through each month’s new “training breakthrough”. It gets expensive trying to keep up with each magazine and training gadget.

And what about the late night infomercials? For three monthly payments of $29.95 you can unlock the secrets to miracle fat loss and fitness…

Ahh!! These con artists make me sick to my stomach. If you are equally disgusted, I have the perfect solution. Forget about all the gimmicks and enter the world of burpee conditioning.

Burpee Conditioning

If you find yourself lost and confused with your strength and conditioning work, I have one exercise that will crank up the intensity, and won’t cost you a dollar. Let’s forget about all the “ancient” breathing systems and latest fitness devices.

A few minutes of Burpee conditioning will quickly convince you that your own natural bodyweight provides plenty of resistance for an ass-kicking workout that blasts your stamina and fat loss through the roof.

First, let’s get started by discussing the specifics of a Burpee. Burpees will condition your entire body. This exercise will develop strength, explosive power, and anaerobic endurance.

To perform a Burpee:

Begin in a squat position with hands on the floor in front of you.

Kick your feet back to a pushup position*.

Immediately return your feet to the squat position.

Leap up as high as possible from the squat position.

Repeat, moving as fast as possible. You should maintain a fast pace for this exercise. Strive for maximum height with each jump. Most athletes will average between 12 and 15 repetitions per 30 seconds.

* Notice how I highlighted Step 2. You can increase the intensity of the Burpee by altering this step. If you prefer the easy way out, you will maintain straight arms as you kick your feet back. You will end in the upright position of a pushup (arms fully extended). You would then continue by returning your feet to the squat position, and conclude with an explosive jump into the air. If you really want to crank up the intensity, you will…

Ultimate Burpees
If ever there was a full body exercise, this has to be one. Burpees are a great cardio and endurance exercise. This article gives an idea of how burpees can be a great cardio element to add to your training…
[ Click here to learn more. ]


Add A Pushup To The Burpee

This “variation” is the ONLY way that I perform Burpees.

To perform a Burpee with a pushup:

Begin in a squat position with hands on the floor in front of you.

Kick your feet back, while simultaneously lowering yourself into the bottom portion of a pushup. Your arms will not be extended.

Immediately return your feet to the squat position, while simultaneously pushing “up” with your arms. You will perform a pushup as you return your feet to the squat position.

Leap up as high as possible from the squat position. Repeat, moving as fast as possible.

Not A Squat Thrust

At first glance, you may associate the Burpee with a traditional Squat Thrust. Squat Thrusts are typically performed without the vertical jump from Step 3. With a Squat Thrust, you simply “stand up” before returning to the squat position from Step 1. Squat Thrusts are much easier than explosive Burpees.

Burpee Intervals

Burpee Intervals are one of the best conditioning drills. These intervals consist of Burpees and shadow boxing. For example, you will perform…

  • Burpees x 30 seconds
  • Shadow box x 30 seconds
  • Continue for 2 – 3 minutes

You will begin with 30 seconds of Burpees, and immediately follow with 30 seconds of shadow boxing. Continue this pattern for a full 2 or 3-minute round. You will then rest 1 minute (or 30 seconds) between each round.

You can wear a wristwatch to monitor time. You can also determine the number of Burpees that you can perform per 30 seconds. For example, if you perform 15 Burpees in 30 seconds and throw 100 punches in 30 seconds, you will not need to keep track of time. Counting repetitions may be helpful if you train alone.

Shadow Boxing Review

Do not view the 30-second shadow boxing interval as an opportunity to rest. You should throw hard punches for the duration of the 30-second interval. The purpose of this drill is to train the body to respond when fatigued.

After a few rounds of Burpee Intervals, your body will be begging for a chance to collapse and rest. Fight through your exhaustion by throwing effective punches with proper technique.

Vince Lombardi once said, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all“.

Burpee Intervals are one of the best ways to nullify these words. Champion athletes learn to mask fatigue, and fight through exhaustion.

Let’s summarize a few sample routines:

Beginner Program

  • 4 x 2-minute rounds with 1 minute of rest between rounds

Intermediate Program(s)

  • 6 x 2-minute rounds with 1 minute of rest between rounds
  • 4 x 3-minute rounds with 1 minute of rest between rounds

Advanced Program

  • 6 x 3-minute rounds with 1 minute of rest between rounds

Master’s Program

  • 6 x 3-minute rounds with 30 seconds of rest between rounds

Burpee Variations

OK, so you want some more Burpee pain… No problem. There are several variations that will crank up the intensity. Some of the more effective variations include:

Dumbbell Burpees

      Hold a pair of dumbbells in hand while performing Burpees. All of the movements are the same, except your arms remain by your sides, with the dumbbells in hand.

Weighted Vest Burpees A good weighted vest is more convenient than a pair of dumbbells. You can perform traditional Burpees, while wearing the vest. I highly recommend the weighted vest if you really want a challenge.

Medicine Ball Burpees You can perform a traditional Burpee, while holding a medicine ball. Grasp the medicine ball during the jump portion of the Burpee. Extend your arms overhead, with the medicine ball in hand.

With or without weighted resistance (dumbbells, vest, med ball, etc.), I guarantee that a regular dose of Burpee conditioning will provide immediate, and drastic improvements in your physical fitness. Burpee Intervals are one of the best conditioning drills for athletes.

These routines will improve your work threshold and anaerobic endurance. You can perform these drills 3-5 days per week, depending on your current fitness level. Burpee Intervals are an excellent warm-up and conditioning drill to perform prior to your strength training and/or sport-specific gym session.


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