Who else wants to know, “Why Do Burpees Make Me Dizzy?”
Burpees are without doubt one of the best strength and conditioning exercises you can do.
Love them or hate them, you know that if you’re regularly performing burpees you’re going to be in great shape.
However, for some of you burpees can be extremely off-putting, as you typically feel dizzy whenever you perform them.
So, what exactly is going on here?
Why Do Burpees Make Me Dizzy?
The most common reason that you feel dizzy when doing burpees is due to not breathing correctly. Burpees are an intense strength and conditioning exercise, so it’s important to have control over your breathing throughout every rep and set. There is a tendency to hold the breath at certain stages, which unfortunately can lead to you feeling nauseous and dizzy.
1. You’re Not Breathing Correctly When Doing Burpees
Burpees are hard enough at the best of times, but if you’re not breathing while performing them you’re just asking for trouble.
I think with the vast majority of exercises we typically know when to breathe.
I mean, you extend and contract a muscle, which allows you the perfect opportunity to inhale and exhale.
However, when it comes to more cardio and conditioning-based exercises, breath control can become somewhat skewed.
Surely, I’m not the only one who’s felt my heart rate go through the roof and then struggled to get my breathing under control.
There is even a tendency for many of us to hold our breath at the most inopportune of moments.
Unfortunately, this just leads to us getting more out of breath and either have to stop or slow down an exercise.
I think running is a great example of this.
We all know that we should be breathing in a controlled and rhythmic fashion while running.
But, as we fatigue there seems to be far less control over how we breathe.
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Burpees are no different.
Now, how and when you should breathe when performing burpees will obviously depend on various factors.
But, mainly this will be down to the speed at which you perform them, as well as how many total movements you make when doing a burpee.
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By this I mean that some may perform a push up and a jump, whereas others may go with a standard squat, plank, stand up.
How to Breathe During Burpees
There are a number of ways of breathing during burpees that I have come across over the years.
I guess it’s just a case of finding what works for you.
Firstly, there’s the two-time breathing out technique whenever you push.
So, you breathe out when you push with your arms and again when you push with your feet to jump.
Then there is the three-time breathing technique.
This involves breathing out when your chest touches the ground, once again when you get back onto your feet, and another time when your feet touch the ground after the jump.
I have also known people to download a metronome application to their smartphone or PC.
So, you choose the number of burpees you’re going to do, how many reps or how long for, and then breathe in and out in time to the beats.
Finally, there is the burpee breath ladder workout.
You are only allowed to breathe through your nose during your set and recovery.
As soon as you breathe through your mouth the workout is over.
So, the burpee ladder will involve doing one burpee, rest, two burpees, rest, three burpees, rest, and keep going up until you eventually breathe through your mouth.
What this does is to show just how bad your breath control during burpees is.
The further you can get through this workout with additional attempts will show that your breathing technique is improving.
Iron Wolf’s Guide to Breathing During Burpees
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2. Keep Your Eyes Fixed on One Position
Firstly, I have to say “I’m not a dancer”.
So, how and when I learned the following tip, well let’s just say I have no idea.
However, I recall learning at a very young age that when dancers spin around they typically have their eyes fixed on a certain position with each spin.
I guess this is even more important for ice skaters who perform their spins at a death-defying pace.
They typically choose two different points, and their eyes will always be fixed on one or the other as they spin around.
Now, when it comes to burpees, luckily we’re not having to spin around at 360 degrees over-and-over again.
However, there is a lot of body movement going on, so you could end up looking in all directions when performing burpees.
So, it makes a lot of sense to fix the eyes on one spot throughout a set.
This way you won’t get that “spinning sensation” from having your eyes divert in a multitude of directions.
I have heard people say that they like to stare at one point on a wall directly in front of them.
However, this is not for me.
I think this could cause neck issues as you drop down to the ground, and when you perform a push up.
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So, for me, I pick one spot on the ground just slightly ahead of my feet.
And my gaze never shifts from this position until the set is over.
Try it and see what you think
3. Hydration, Nutrition and Sleep
When it comes to any form of exercise, not just burpees, hydration, nutrition and sleep play a huge role.
Firstly, I should say that I prefer to complete my main workout of the day first thing in the morning.
This is something that I have now become accustomed to and I find it works well for me.
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I even perform all my workouts fasted, but still have bundles of energy to do so.
For me, I have a cup of coffee first thing, plus I’ll consume approximately one litre of water.
Then I’m ready to start working out.
However, I have noticed on days when I haven’t slept particularly well the previous night, things feel very different in the gym.
So, I will still typically complete my workout, but I also stock up on some fruit, porridge oats, and an extra cup of coffee first.
Plus, I’ll probably increase my water intake before I hit the gym.
So, realistically the reason burpees make you feel dizzy could have something to do with one or all of these points.
Firstly, if like me, you prefer to exercise first thing in the morning, and while fasted, it is still extremely important to properly hydrate before exercise.
I will also add that you should keep well hydrated during and after exercise too.
If you’re someone who takes a while to get going in the mornings, and therefore prefer exercising a little later in the day, then food is important.
Your body only has so much “fuel and energy” available once you’ve awoken from your “fast”.
So, it is important to “break” this “fast” to replenish your energy levels.
Therefore, if you’ve been awake for more than one hour prior to your burpees (or any form of exercise for that matter) then ensure you have something to eat.
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Sleep is So Important
As for sleep, well this is just about one of the most important functions of being alive.
And yet, it’s something that so many of us take for granted.
Look, we will typically spend one-third of our lives sleeping.
So, this should tell you just how important sleep is to us.
However, just one poor night’s sleep can be literally impossible to catch up on.
Plus, it affects just about every single thing you do the following day, be it physical, mental, or emotional.
So, be honest with yourself.
Do you specifically feel dizzy when doing burpees after a poor night’s sleep?
If so, then there’s your answer.
Are you doing your burpees on an empty stomach or has it been a long time since you last ate?
And finally, have you been drinking enough water prior to, during, and after exercise?
Once again, all these clues should provide you with an answer.
4. Could This Be a Case of Orthostatic Hypotension?
Something else to potentially consider is orthostatic hypotension.
This involves a sudden drop in blood pressure when you stand up from either a seated or lying position.
The only way to correctly diagnose this would be to visit your doctor or other professional medical practitioner.
Hypotension is basically low blood pressure.
It is estimated that 6% of the population have orthostatic hypotension.
So, it is more common than you may think.
I wouldn’t immediately point towards a potential medical condition, which is why I have left this till last.
However, if you typically adhere to all the tips I’ve already mentioned, and still feel dizzy when doing burpees, this is definitely a consideration.
This may be even more obvious if you often feel light-headed whenever you stand up.
Dizziness: What is Orthostatic Hypotension?
So, hopefully you now have a better idea of why burpees make you dizzy.
The most common reason will be down to not breathing correctly, or basically just not breathing in a controlled manner.
You are performing an intense exercise, so the importance of breathing is heightened.
As you can see there are other issues that could be causing your dizziness, so certainly try to fix these first.
If you find that burpees still make you feel dizzy, even once you’ve followed all these cues, it could be time to visit your doctor to get a professional opinion.
If you want to take your burpees to the next level then you’ll want to take a look at Lane Goodwin’s workout program.
Burpees are one of just 8 bodyweight exercises that Lane includes in his workout program.
And he claims that these 8 exercises are all you will ever need to produce a lean, muscular, and athletic physique.
You can see what I thought of Lane’s workout program in my Ripped With Bodyweight Review.
Hi, I’m Partha, the founder of My Bodyweight Exercises. I’m someone who’s been passionate about exercise and nutrition for more years than I care to remember. I’ve studied, researched, and honed my skills for a number of decades now. So, I’ve created this website to hopefully share my knowledge with you. Whether your goal is to lose weight, burn fat, get fitter, or build muscle and strength, I’ve got you covered.