Small gains can make a huge difference. In 2% Tougher, a Spartan Fit franchise, we ask our industry-leading experts to share their approaches to getting incrementally fitter. Every gain matters! Next up: Work some yoga into your routine.
People love to hate burpees. But that hate may actually be a sign you need more—and better—burpees in your exercise routine.
“Oftentimes, when there’s a movement we don’t like to do, the truth is that it’s a movement we really need to do,” says Spartan Fit master coach Chelsea Potter.
Why? The high-intensity move builds total-body strength, power, and even aerobic capacity and endurance. It’s also key for cultivating overall athleticism and sports performance. “As non-complex as the burpee may seem, it is actually very complex,” Potter says. She explains that proficiency requires head-to-toe coordination, with the entire body operating as a strong, cohesive unit.
Plus, all you need to get in a hard, effective burpee workout is your body and a few square feet of floor space. So there’s no reason not to devote the next 10 weeks to burpees.
At the end of this burpee training program, you’ll be stronger, fitter, and more prepared for any athletic feat that comes your way.
Start the plan off strong by doing your half-burpees with Chelsea in her HardCORE Tabata workout on the Spartan Fit app.
Burpee Workouts: The 10-Week Training Plan
Step 1: Test Yourself
Knowing your current burpee abilities lets you gauge your progress and stay motivated, which is key to progressing, Potter says.
TIP: Set a timer for 1 minute, then perform as many max effort burpees as you can. Focus on moving as quickly as possible during the first 30 seconds, and then on keeping your technique strong through the homestretch.
To do a Spartan burpee, place your hands on the floor, jump your feet back, do a push-up, and then jump your feet forward to stand up. As you raise your hands to stand, explosively drive through your legs to jump up. Once you land, lower your hands back onto the floor for the next rep.
If you’re new to burpees, retest after 5 weeks and at the end of the 10-week burpee program. More experienced burpee-ers can skip the midway retest and do it after 10 weeks.
PHASE 1: CORE STABILITY (weeks 1, 2)
A strong core is a requisite for performing burpees with good, safe form, according to Potter. It also allows for the most efficient transfer of forces between the lower and upper body, which will allow you to better build strength and power in following phases of this plan.
TRY IT: At least three times per week, do as many quality half burpees as possible in 1 minute.
To do a half burpee, place your hands on the floor, jump your feet back to get in a plank position, and then jump your feet forward to land underneath your hips. Repeat. Focus on keeping your core braced and not dipping into your lower back.
For an additional core challenge, try a half burpee to tabletop. As you jump your feet forward with each rep, keep your hips elevated and your back parallel to the floor, as opposed to letting your hips sink toward the floor. You’ll move back and forth from a plank to a tabletop position with your knees off of the floor at all times.
PHASE 2: UPPER-BODY STRENGTH AND POWER (weeks 3, 4)
When performing burpees, a lack of chest strength is a limiting factor for a lot of people. Start out stronger with this arm-and-chest-specific burpee variation.
By using a controlled push-up tempo during these weeks, you’ll increase your chest and arm muscles’ total time under tension for increased strength. Exploding out of each push-up will build plyometric power and speed.
TRY IT: Do burpees with tempo push-ups three times per week on non-consecutive days.
From plank position, lower your chest slowly to the floor over the count of three seconds. When you reach the bottom, explosively drive through your chest and arms to return to the top of the push-up before jumping your feet in and standing up.
Do three sets of 45 seconds, resting between sets as needed to recoup your energy and upper-body strength.
PHASE 3: LOWER-BODY POWER AND ENDURANCE (weeks 5, 6)
Progress your burpees with these burpee and lower-body plyometric moves. They’ll build strength, power, and as your workouts approach the 10-minute mark, you’ll build muscular and aerobic endurance.
TRY IT: Do this 9-minute EMOM (every minute on the minute) workout three times per week on non-consecutive days. At the top of each minute, do the following three exercises for 45 seconds each. Repeat for a total of three rounds, or 9 minutes.
Minute 1: frogger + squat
Place your hands on the floor, jump your feet behind you to a plank position, then jump your feet forward to land just outside of your hands. Raise your hands from the floor so that you’re in a wide squat. Stand up, then lower back into the next rep.
Minute 2: squat jump
Squat down, and as you reach the bottom of the squat, explosively jump up. Swing your arms for momentum. Land with your knees slightly bent and immediately descend into the next rep.
Minute 3: full burpee + tuck jump
Place your hands on the floor, jump your feet back, do a push-up, and then jump your feet forward to stand up. As you raise your hands to stand, explosively drive through your legs to jump up, bringing you knees in toward your chest at the height of your jump. Once you land, lower your hands back onto the floor for the next rep.
PHASE 4: INTENSITY (weeks 7, 8, 9, 10)
Put it all together, then crank up the intensity with (EMOM) every minute on the minute full-burpee workouts. Perform each of the week’s 10-, 8-, and 5-minute workouts one day per week, on non-consecutive days. At the top of each minute, do 45 seconds of burpees at the specified intensity level and repeat for the entire workout.
To do a burpee, place your hands on the floor, jump your feet back, do a push-up, and then jump your feet forward to stand up. As you raise your hands to stand, explosively drive through your legs to jump up. Once you land, lower your hands back onto the floor for the next rep.
10-minute EMOM, 50% of max effort
8-minute EMOM, 60% of max effort
5-minute EMOM, 70% of max effort
10-minute EMOM, 60% of max effort
8-minute, 70% of max effort
5-minute EMOM, 80% of max effort
10-minute EMOM, 70% of max effort
8-minute EMOM, 80% of max effort
5-minute EMOM, 90% of max effort
10-minute EMOM, 75% of max effort
8-minute EMOM, 85% of max effort
5-minute EMOM, 95% of max effort