What’s the best way to crank out 30 full-body blasters in a row? Strength and conditioning coach Carl Paoli has a secret: Add a bowing and piking action to conserve energy. “A less dynamic [standard] burpee style is valid if you want to focus on developing [upper- body] strength,” says Paoli, “but bowing allows you to focus on skill,” which can up your reps. So scrap everything you think you know about burpees and take it from this elite gymnast-turned-strength coach.
- Stand tall, with feet together, knees locked out, hips engaged, squeezing your butt, with abs tight, arms by sides, and back flat.
- Bend over by hinging hips and pushing them back, keeping a straight line from hips up to head, hands and arms close to body on floor, knees slightly bent but close together.
- Jump feet into the top of a plank, chin tucked in, feet close. Lower into a pushup until your body reaches the ground, elbows close to body, and neck in line with rest of body. Allow thighs, hips, and belly to touch the ground as you keep knees straight and feet flexed.
- From the bottom position, bow your body into an arched position, like an Upward Dog pose, locking elbows out and keeping hips low to the ground and knees as straight as possible. From here, create a dynamic snap to push your hips up into a pike position, jumping feet forward and landing with feet just behind hands. Maintain control, with your butt and belly engaged.
- Return to standing by lifting chest to a partial squat position. Then perform the jump, keeping your body neutral, and your arms and torso in a slight hollow body position. Land in a narrow stance to put less stress on the knees.
Burpee tips excerpted from Free+Style: Maximize Sport and Life Performance with Four Basic Moves (Victory Belt, 2015).