February 4, 2008
February 13, 2008

Everyone has a love/ hate relationship with burpees. Most CrossFitters dread them, but at the same time embrace the misery. Burpees require no equipment and deliver a massive metabolic effect. They mimics a important movement pattern found in many sports. So where is the drawback? Recently on the CrossFit message board, someone brought up an old quote from Coach Glassman. Coach himself had some reservations about the movement, but conceeded that they were very popular. For some people the aggressive driving of the knees forward from the pushup position is a risk. The dynamic spinal flexion puts the lower back at risk. While watching burpees done en masse, or in the midst of a nasty metabolic mix, its easy to see the posture go downhill quickly.

So, how do we improve one of our “favorite” moves? The first step is to break it down, and explain that it requires precision, like any of the other exercises. Last night we did a warmup of PVC overhead squats and burpees, to work on the form. After that we went to the main session, incorporating the same movements, but at pace and under load.

OHS (75 lbs) burpees

All burpees done as: squat, reach to floor, jump back, pushup, jump to squat (arching back as you come up, jump from squat.



  1. Curious Mai(ko) says:

    I guess I’m a bit curious…what other exercises would some have reservations about? I never had much problems with burpees although that was the needle that broke the camel’s back in regards to my knees (did as many burpees as possible in 10 mins; awesome workout but knees swelled badly, followed by a 3month break).

    I feel like this can be applicable to almost any exercise, it’s just that burpees are popular since it very effective. Is it because it’s easier to correct your form on other exercises than it is with burpees?

    Yeah, excuse the novice question…but I thought I’d ask.