Friday, August 14, 2015

Why You Should Stop Doing Burpees

Like most people, I used to think a burpee was something you did after chugging a litre of fizzy drink (now known as SSB - sugar sweetened beverage). Now, also like most people - at least those with a passing interest in fitness - I know it is actually an exercise in which you squat, put your hands to the ground and jump your body into a plank, perform a push-up, and then perform a squat jump which takes you back to the start again, except, for most people, it isn't. Which is why, unless you have great form, you should stop doing burpees, or, at the very least do burpees slowly with perfect form.

Touted as a full body exercise, most of us, with our broken first world bodies that have spent too much time sitting in chairs and too little squatting, doing a perfect form burpee is difficult at a slow pace, and, at a fast pace, with fatigue rapidly settling in, impossible. 

For many people - and I count myself among the many - the trouble begins early with poor squat form. Either the dreaded butt wink as you try to get into a deep enough squat to get your hands to the ground with your spine neutral, or, what is seen more commonly, the back bend squat where instead of hinging at the hip and knee and maintaining a neutral spine, the exerciser simply rounds the back to get the hands to the ground because they lack flexibility, core strength and the ability to properly initiate a squat. 

 Back when I had looser hamstrings

The plank, must be the simplest, yet most poorly performed exercise out there simply because most people don't have anything approximating the core strength to actually maintain tension in the torso. Again, two variations present themselves, either the downward dog plank or the upward dog plank. Neither is a plank. Next comes the push-up, which is either a flutter in the top quarter range of motion, or the full blown collapse, whereby the lower torso collapses to the ground, rapidly followed by the upper torso - as if there is an extra hip joint in the spine - the "push-up" reverses the collapse. And, finally, the jump which virtually never starts from a nice deep squat. 

All in all, it's pretty ugly, and unless your aim is to ingrain poor movement patterns you should probably just stop and work the individual components of a burpee until you can actually do a perfect form burpee. Only then should you try pumping them out like Rich Froning.

No comments:

Post a Comment