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F*ck Burpees!

Literally. Please stop the madness. STOP.

We don’t burpee. Ever.

On the heels of some of the top trainers in the world, including Ben Bruno and Mike Boyle, we too are saying NO to burpees. #justsaynotoburpees

I know, I know – there are no bad exercises, only bad application. The fitness industry is awesome at fear mongering when it comes to certain exercises (squats are horrible for your knees, don’t you know??!!), but this demonizing of squats, deadlifts, or any number of other legitimate exercises is generally unwarranted and unnecessary.

However, we believe that burpees are one of those exercises that is an exception to this rule and should be retired. While ANY exercise can be dangerous if performed incorrectly, we as trainers can teach and reinforce proper technique to reduce injury risk, as well as scale the difficulty level and choose appropriate load for the trainee. But…burpees are neither coachable nor scale-able.

Simply put, there is no good way to perform a burpee! Too many things can go wrong, as instant fatigue quickly leads to a breakdown of form and feelings. Excessive fatigue leads to sloppy movement, and the resulting floundering, flapping, and flopping that is commonly observed during a set of burpees is a little bit hard to watch, if we’re being honest.

Let’s be real for a moment. There are not too many humans on this planet who actually truly enjoy doing the movement. Why push a client to do something they don’t like, when you can find something they dislike a lot less and you will get far better work QUALITY? After all, isn’t training primarily about learning proper movement and constantly improving the quality of this movement?

Why does a trainer even consider a burpee? Most trainers (and by most, I will say those that are using them regularly) use burpees to ‘punish’ or to raise the heart rate, as a conditioning tool. And of course, it works ‘every single muscle’ in the body. More bang for your buck, right? The huge downside is that as the client gets fatigued, form becomes absolutely atrocious and their risk of injury increases – especially in the lower back. All for the sake of making them tired.

Full disclosure here. Did I program burpees in the past? Absolutely. But once you know better, you do better. As a new trainer, I thought my job was to kill the souls of my clients, and what better way to do that than burpees and all the variations of burpees known to mankind!

Once I started getting more experienced and educated I thought to myself…there has to be BETTER options for the same effect (whole body movement, conditioning, energy system development). After seeing clients butcher the burpee and literally just stop having any productive or high-quality movement, I cut the exercise from my programming for good.

In summary, we free you of burpees for the rest of time. You do not have to do burpees to get in shape, to be fit and to crush goals – there are so many other options and exercises that, when programmed properly, can crush your soul all the same.

Shara Vigeant, BA, NSCA-CPT*D, CFSC