One Perfect Move: How to Do a Rotating Iron Burpee
Jen Widerstrom, the creator of the WiderStrong method and training tribe and Shape’s consulting fitness director, created this rotating iron burpee just for Shape, and it’s the total package: a strength exercise with heart-pumping plyo and heavy lifting built in.
“It’s brain training too, with level changes and rotation coordination,” she says. Widerstrom has taken the crouch-plank-jump of the classic burpee and raised the stakes by adding a 90-degree midair twist and a dumbbell—a heavy one.
“You’ll want to go for 20 pounds or heavier because body changing happens only with enough stimulus,” she says. “But you can start with a 12-pounder to get your form down.”
To nail that form, picture doing a deadlift from the crouch—dumbbell close to the leg as it travels up—rather than just a jump. (See here for proper dumbbell deadlift form.) As you drive through your legs to jump up out of a crouch, you’re doing a plyo deadlift, really working from glutes to calves. Plus, since you're bringing the dumbbell along for the ride during the plank, you get an abs benefit: “I like the way that having an uneven plank base challenges how your core is working.”
Now, about that quarter turn: “It’s an opportunity to work your lower half with a different propulsion,” she says. “Even doing an eighth of a turn will get you where I want you to go.” (Want another tough burpee challenge? Try the Hot Sauce Burpee from Nike Master Trainer Kirsty Godso)
Try the move using Widerstrom's cueing above and the tips below (and consider adding it into this single heavy dumbbell workout that she created too).
How to Do the Rotating Iron Burpee
A. Start standing with feet hip-width apart, holding a heavy dumbbell in the right hand.
B. Bend knees and keep back flat to lower the dumbbell to the floor in a reverse deadlift.
C. Still holding the dumbbell, place the other palm on the floor and jump feet back into a high plank with feet wide.
D. Jump feet back in to crouch. Deadlift the dumbell back to standing, keeping back flat and core engaged, and jump, rotating a quarter turn to the left.
E. Repeat, jumping four times to the left to complete a full turn. Switch the dumbell to the other hand, and repeat, turning the other direction.
Shape Magazine, July/August 2019 issue