Breaking Down the Burpee
Burpees are an exercise we love to hate! They’re an efficient and super challenging exercise you can do anywhere, anytime. They work most major muscle groups and challenge coordination and balance while improving cardiovascular fitness—plus they burn a ton of calories.
Since this complex move can look intimidating, we’re going to break it down and show you how to complete your first burpee. Keep reading for what to do if you’re not able to do a burpee yet (first: DON’T PANIC!) or how to make your burpee routine even tougher.
Ready to become a burpee beast?
How to do a Burpee
- Start in a standing position. Squat down, keeping your chest elevated. Place both hands on the floor.
- Brace your core and jump your feet back, keeping arms extended so you enter a raised plank position.
- Jump your feet back toward your hands.
- Finish the move by jumping into the air with your arms up. Land with bent knees. That’s one burpee down!
Tips for Better Burpees
- Burpees have a lot going on and can put stress on your ankles, wrists and knees. Make sure you’re thoroughly warmed up before you start.
- During your squats and jumps, keep weight distributed through the balls of your feet and heels.
- There’s no need to perform high-speed burpee acrobatics. Start slow and focus on perfecting your form. Proper form prevents injuries!
Building to a Burpee
If you’re struggling to complete your first set of burpees or recovering from an injury, try one of these low-impact variations. Make sure to listen to your body and focus on form.
- Step Back Burpees: Start in a standing position. Squat down with your hands on the floor, then step back with one leg at a time to reach plank position. Step your feet back to your squat position and stand.
- Inch Worm Burpees: Start in a standing position. Lower your hands to the ground, then walk them forward until you reach the plank position. Walk your hands back until you reach your feet, then stand and lift your hands above your head.
- Supported Squat Thrust: Stand in front of a plyo box with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees gently, lean forward and place both hands on the box. Jump both legs back so your body forms a straight line in a standing plank. Immediately jump forward to your starting position and stand back up.
Bonus Burpee Challenges
Okay, fitness fiend…looking for a way to make burpees burn even more? Try these variations and challenges to keep your muscles guessing.
- Burpee with Push-Up: Perform the burpee as usual, but once you’re in the raised plank position, add in a full push-up.
- Burpee with Tuck Jump: During your jump at the end of your burpee, raise your knees to your chest. This will increase the cardio benefits of your burpee.
- Burpee to Box Jump: Perform the first three steps of a traditional burpee next to a plyo box. When it’s time for your jump, jump onto the box with both feet, then jump down and repeat.
- Kettle-Burpees: Do 10 kettlebell swings. Do 1 burpee. Repeat.
- 100 Burpee Challenge: Take as long as you need to complete 100 burpees. If you can do this within 10 minutes, make sure you clap at the top of your last jump—because you should definitely high-five yourself.