Top Five British Military Fitness Exercises

We bring you BMF's five favourite gut-busting exercises

Posted: 20 September 2010
by Dominique Brady

 1 of 5 

1. The Burpee


The burpee is the ultimate exercise for your chest, arms, front of shoulders, thighs and and abdominals - if you only have five minutes to spare, then this is the exercise to give you total body conditioning. Your bodyweight provides plenty of resistance for a workout that improves your strength, stamina and aids fat loss.


1. Stand with your feet just under shoulder width apart, bend your knees and reach down and place hands on the floor. You should be sitting on your heels in the crouched position of a squat thrust.

2. Transfer all your weight onto your hands and thrust your legs out and back as you would during a normal squat thrust.

3. From the squatting position jump up with hands above your head, feet leaving the floor before hitting the ground again and returning to the squatting position. Then start again.


Three sets of 15 burpees.

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Discuss this article

Who writes these articles?

- the description of how to do Burpees is awful, if you haven't done burpees or squat thrusts before you would have no idea from this article how to perform them.

- the description of squats tells you to squat till your legs are at 90 degrees, yet the picture shows the instructor clearly squatting much further than 90 degrees (which isn't a bad thing but is misleading)

- The crunch description states it is a great exercise "to gain a flat stomach" where in reality everybody has a flat stomach unless they have fat there, and no exercise will specifically target exact areas of body fat.

I have no issue with the actual exercises, they are all good but the descriptions etc are poor.

Posted: 22/09/2010 at 22:26

hell yeah fight the power!
Posted: 22/09/2010 at 22:39

You don’t run by hopping both feet at the same time, so why squat that way.  Single legged squats simulate the running action more closely and involve more stabiliser muscles in the move.Lest face it most accomplished runners could do double legged squats till the cows come home.
Posted: 22/09/2010 at 23:41

Hi Yorkshire Rob et al,

The exercises were supplied to us by the team at BMF, and I think the descriptions are how they teach the exercises in their classes.

Sorry you don't think they're quite right - we wanted to give the 'BMF experience' in this article which is why we published the organisation's own descriptions of the exercises.

Hope that clears things up!


Posted: 23/09/2010 at 14:29

I too think the descriptions are poor and not being familiar with some of these excersices would have found it both useful and more interesting to have included video descriptions with each or at least a set of photos for each excersice to show the movement progression.

 I accept that this may be the way the BMF describes them but that is alogside a coach demonstrating and possibly correcting the beginners.

I also appreciate that by putting videos on there is the additional server and bandwidth load to consider but it wouldn't have taken a lot of effort for the writter to have taken a flip camera with them to give a better feel.

With more and more magazines offering a distinct but complimentary offering from their paper based offering and accepting that subscribers and more casual purchasers of the magazine are subsidising the site, surely making the online version more attaractive can help attract advertisers to the site and assist you in monetizing your online offering.

I'll stop rambling now

Posted: 24/09/2010 at 10:14

I think the descriptions are good and all the people criticising them should either stop being so pernicity or offer a better description themselves!

As for runners being able to do double leg squats till the cows come home, what a heap of rubbish!  You need more core stability to do double leg squats than single leg squats because you don't have the other leg to ballance on.  And you need to have a strong shoulder girdle to support your body wieght.  If you only want to practice the movements needed for running then just go for a run!  There's a lot more to burpees than just the squat so it's the whole thing put togher that makes it so hard and therefor good for you!

Posted: 25/09/2010 at 12:03

I commented because I was interested in the article and wasn't impressed by the brief instructions. Like festerfeet said, they would be fine with an instructor on hand but on your own it would be confusing to work it out.

shona clark 2 wrote (see)

... You need more core stability to do double leg squats than single leg squats because you don't have the other leg to ballance on...

What? I think you have that the wrong way. Single leg squats are performed balancing on one leg and hence require much more core stability.

shona clark 2 wrote (see)

There's a lot more to burpees than just the squat so it's the whole thing put togher that makes it so hard and therefor good for you!

One of the other exercises mentioned was the squat, nobody said anything about burpees not being any good.
Posted: 25/09/2010 at 16:26

Please remember this is a commerical company and not the British Army. The company says some have done the PTI's course. I dont know any ex Army Physical Training Corps who work for them. BMF say they must have served in the services and been a PTI's well they may have done a basic course with the regulars 10 weeks and a Two weeks course with the TA. The APTC instructors have to serv years in the Army first then do the basic course and then do an advance course. Then after years of further training and after being recommended they can go on selection most will not be put forward for a minimun of 12 months training to transfer from their Regiments or Corps into the Army Physical Training Corps (they get promoated to Sergeants) they are the full time professionals which there are only 450 members of this corps to get the Army fit to FIGHT.

I hope this is clear for RW readers. I wish RW would mention that it is a commerical company so every one is clear. 

Posted: 25/09/2010 at 21:51

The bit about "thrusting your legs out and backwards" from the squat position is confusing for the burpee movements.  You would end up in something like the plank!  Better to say move the knees apart by rotating the legs outwards I think.
Posted: 26/09/2010 at 16:36

I diagree that these exercises can primarily produce flat stomachs or reduce fat.  These kind of exercises tone and strengthen muscles, they do not flatten stomachs or remove fat.  In fact the muscle mass will start to be increased depending on how many reps are done and for how long. Only burning more calories than you eat can reduce fat.  If the reps are done strenuously and quickly in a way that significantly increases calorie burning, then they can be a factor in weight loss of course.  Doing the exercises can also motivate you to keep in shape in terms of body weight.  Once the excess fat disappears the muscle can be toned.  Obviously toned muscles look more attractive than flabby ones with or without fat.

It attracts people's attention to say muscle toning exercises reduce fat etc because that is often what people want to hear.

Posted: 26/09/2010 at 16:57

The 'walking plank' I must try it (sounds painful).  Karen keep you bum down!
Posted: 28/09/2010 at 23:05

if everyone is so confused on how to perform any of these exercises try something like a search on u tube?? failing that, if u belong to a local gym ask there and the personal trainers will help you.....
Posted: 13/12/2010 at 17:18

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