Burpee Basics

Your body must be ready for action. It doesn’t matter if you’re getting ready to practice Muay Thai, wrestling, jiu-jitsu, or if you’re about to hit the weights, your muscles and joints must be prepared. Many injuries occur when you force your muscles to work before they’re ready.

For years, athletes would warm-up by stretching, which makes your muscles relax and slows down your nervous system—precisely the reason why stretching is great after a workout to help your body recover. However, stretching before training can make you more susceptible to a muscle strain and it may decrease your performance.

A combat athlete should activate muscles instead of relaxing them. An excellent, simple way to prepare your body for action is with a burpee (named after Lieutenant Thomas Burpee). When performed correctly, this exercise will prepare your entire body for combat or weight training. There are many variations of the burpee, but I’ve found the following version to be ideal for fighters.


1. From standing, squat down and place your hands on the ground in front of you.

2. Jump your feet back so you’re in a push-up position.

3. Perform one push-up.

4. Jump your feet forward so you’re in the squatting position.

5. Jump up and reach overhead.

It’s important to do this exercise as fast as possible to fire-up your muscles and prepare your joints. Do as many burpees as you can in 20 seconds. Then, rest for 20 seconds and repeat the burpee/ rest sequence 2 to 3 more times.

The burpee is also an excellent fat burner since it’s an intense total body exercise that can be performed explosively.

Challenge your workout partner to see who can knock out the most reps in 5 minutes.

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