There’s a reason that, in Spartan races, you have to “burpee-out” of obstacles you miss. And it’s not just because they’re brutal.
Rather, race burpees—the ones that you churn out as quickly as possible to get back on the course—are a great test of all things Spartan—strength, power, agility, stamina, and crazy cardio conditioning, says Spartan SGX L2 coach and obstacle specialist Ryan Boubelik.
However, your race burpees won’t take you very far unless you use a second kind of burpees that he calls ‘training burpees,’ to build your fitness prowess. What’s the difference? Unlike race burpees, training burpees are all about perfecting your form in each stage of the compound exercise. By breaking your burpees down into each individual movement, and taking the time to master each one before moving onto the next, you’ll build far greater strength, power, and endurance with every burpee you do during your training, he says. Plus, you’ll reduce your risk of injury in a big way.
“The most common mistake people make with their burpees is letting their backs arch due to a lack of core engagement, which ends up putting a lot of strain on their lower backs,” he says. “Doing reps without keeping perfect form means that your body will compensate elsewhere, and you’ll end up hurting yourself.”
The point: Every Spartan can benefit from perfecting their burpee technique. Lean how with these six steps from Boubelik. Move slowly and with control through each one, and practice linking just a couple together before doing all six moves back-to-back for a full-blown burpee.
Burpee Tutorial: 6 Steps to the Perfect Training Burpee
1. Start Standing Tall
Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart, and brace your core to point your ribs straight down toward the floor.
2. Squat with Your Hands to the Ground
Hinge your hips back behind you and place your hands on the floor right in front of your knees.
3. Hop to High Plank
Hop your feet back behind you to get in a high plank position with your hands directly under your shoulders and core still braced.
4. Lower Down Into a Burpee Push-Up
Row your chest to the floor, letting your elbows flare out diagonally from your sides, then then press through your chest and triceps to raise out of the push-up, focusing on maintaining a rigid core the entire time.
Related: How to Do a Burpee Like a Champion
5. Jump Your Feet to Your Hands
Jump your feet back toward your hands so that you are again in a hip hinge with your hands on the floor.
6. Jump Into Full-Body Extension
Raise your hands from the floor and drive through your legs to jump up as high as possible. As your feet hit the floor, soften your knees and immediately descend into the next rep.