Over the last several years, we have had a lot of consistent messages and one of them is…
WE DON’T DO BURPEES!!
Before we jump in, with the exception of kipping exercises, no exercise is bad and we don’t want to push fear of an exercise. At Trilogy, we screen exercises. There needs to be a balance between taking training seriously by teaching and performing exercises with optimal form and pushing your body’s limits to improve. There is no place for the message that we are all frail humans that can’t push ourselves. We want a middle ground between ‘it doesn’t matter just GO GO GO’ and the ‘we need to do correctives for 6 months before your body might tolerate exercise and movement’.
Ask these questions about every exercise:
- Do l need to do this exercise?
- Will this exercise help my goals?
- What are the risks and benefits of this exercise?
- Do I have the ability to perform this exercise well and safely?
This is why we don’t do burpees at Trilogy.
- The typical application of the burpee is for conditioning during a training session, class or practice. People prescribe burpees just to get the heart rate up and suffer a bit, we are told to move fast and do them for extended periods of time. We throw our bodies to the ground and catch ourselves. People don’t rely on much muscle to stabilize at this time so all the impact goes through your wrists into your shoulders and your hips collapse as you extend your lower back before thrusting yourself back up and doing a sloppy jump. This makes it a risky exercise for most people without any specific training effect.
- More strategic training can strengthen and improve our bodies with a lot less impact through squats, some proper plyometrics and some specific conditioning at the end of a workout(this covers each phase of the burpee). We can use the specific needs of a person rather than haphazardly pushing burpees and simultaneously get a more effective training response by improving strength, cardio and range of motion.
- More often than not, we see burpees used with high school kids to condition them or in a bootcamp style class to make people tired. The fatigue will only enhance the risk factors of the exercise. People need skill development and strength first.
- Combining the higher risk of the exercise with minimal return in high levels of fatigue – we have a recipe for burnout and injury. The more extreme the approach, the less likely people will stick with it. The more stresses we have in a fatigued state the more likely somebody is going to get hurt or quit.
- Their application doesn’t make people better at anything. A young professional or middle age person in fitness, doesn’t need this exercise because it doesn’t improve their lives or abilities. In athletics, it doesn’t carry over to anything specific for the sport or benefit a developing athlete.
Every exercise in a program should have a solid, “why” behind it. The burpee doesn’t pass our test for useful application. We can do almost anything to condition you and make you stronger before we resort to burpees. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do them and should fear them. It simply means that a Trilogy program won’t have them and we believe there are better training options for you.