Mastering Burpees for CrossFit®: Techniques, Scaling, and Pacing

Written By Ben  |  Burpees 

What's up! It's Ben from WODprep, and in this article, we're diving into how to get better at burpees, specifically for CrossFit®. Whether you're aiming to enhance your WODs, perform better in competitions, or just improve overall fitness, this guide is for you.

We’ll cover everything from scaling options for beginners to advanced techniques, as well as common mistakes to avoid when it comes to everything burpees.

Before we dive in, I have a free eBook available for download. It’s packed with tips on how to become an all-around RX athlete. Simply visit wodprep.com/ebook, enter your name and email, and I’ll send it to you for free.

The Burpee Blueprint Course

For those who want to dive deeper, consider enrolling in our Burpee Blueprint course. This course, taught by one of our expert coaches, covers every aspect of burpees— from standard burpees to burpee box jump-overs and bar-facing burpees. Check it out at wodprep.com/burpees

Technique: The Foundation of a Good Burpee

A standard burpee in CrossFit® involves touching your chest to the ground and then jumping off the ground. Here’s a breakdown of the technique:

  1. Chest to Ground: Lower yourself until your chest touches the ground.

  2. Jump and Clap: Jump up and clap overhead to ensure you're jumping high enough. This mimics reaching for a target, which is often required in competitions.

Types of Burpees

Depending on your pace and ability, you can perform burpees in several ways:

  1. Jump Down, Jump Up: This is the fastest method. Jump your feet back simultaneously, touch your chest to the ground, then jump your feet forward and leap up.

  2. Jump Down, Step Up: This technique involves jumping back into the plank position and stepping up one foot at a time. It’s less intense and helps maintain a steady pace.

  3. Step Down, Step Up: Ideal for when you’re exhausted. Step back one foot at a time, lower your chest, then step forward and jump.

Pacing: The Key to Endurance

Many athletes struggle with burpees because of improper pacing. To avoid gassing out, adopt a pace that you can maintain throughout your workout.

A good rule of thumb is "slow is smooth, smooth is fast." This means starting at a pace that feels almost too slow but allows you to maintain consistency from start to finish.

Scaling Options for Beginners

If full burpees are too challenging, here are two scaled versions:

  1. Up-Downs: Instead of touching your chest to the ground, drop into a plank position and then jump up.

  2. Burpee to a Box: Perform the burpee with your hands on an elevated surface like a box. This reduces the range of motion and makes it easier to perform the push-up portion.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  1. Strict Burpees: Doing a strict push-up during a burpee is unnecessary and will exhaust your arms. Focus on getting down and up quickly.

  2. Improper Pacing: Starting too fast can lead to burnout. Maintain a consistent pace that allows you to perform all your reps efficiently.

By implementing these techniques and strategies, you’ll improve your burpee performance and overall fitness.

Remember to practice regularly and pay attention to your pacing. For more in-depth training, consider our Burpee Blueprint course at wodprep.com/burpees.

Stay consistent, and happy training!

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