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How to Do a Prisoner Burpee to Strengthen the Arms

This Burpee Variation Is All About Strengthening Your Badass Arms!

When I first saw "prisoner burpees" programmed in a CrossFit workout, I took a deep breath and prepared for the worst. But while it is a burpee variation, and by nature, burpees are hard as hell, I found it less intense than a regular burpee.

Don't get me wrong — this burpee variation is still gruelling, but in a different way. As you jump your feet back, you do three push-ups before jumping your feet forward to the hands. For push-ups in CrossFit, Jade Jenny, head CrossFit coach and owner of Champlain Valley CrossFit said to bend the elbows behind you and lower your "chest to deck," meaning all the way to the floor. You'll instantly feel this in your arms, but since you're not jumping your feet back and forth as quickly, I found my heart rate didn't jack up as fast as it does with regular burpees.

How to Do a Prisoner Burpee

  • Begin standing and lower into a crouching squat with your hands on the floor.
  • Do a squat thrust by jumping your feet back into a plank position.
  • Do three basic push-ups. If you can't do them with straight legs, rest your knees on the floor.
  • Jump the feet forward to the hands and come into a squat.
  • Do an explosive jump straight up, getting as much height as you can.
  • This counts as one rep.

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