Let’s talk burpees. As funny as the name sounds, the exercise can be extremely challenging and elicits quite a few groans from fitness newbies and pros alike.
This calisthenics exercise uses your body weight as resistance to complete a rep. Essentially, a burpee is a combination of a squat thrust and a squat jump, and sometimes, it includes a push-up, plank or a move to drop your body to the floor.
The focus here is to build muscle strength in your legs, hips, buttocks, abdomen, arms, chest and shoulders, and endurance in both your lower and upper body. There are different variations to make the exercise easier or step it up, but having proper form is the key to all those muscle-strengthening benefits.
Let’s jump into the correct way to do a burpee and its benefits to your overall shape and health.
Benefits of Burpees
Burpees boost cardio fitness & burn fat: A great way to get your heart rate going is to engage in High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), where you perform short bursts of intense exercises followed by a short rest period. Research suggests that HIIT helps burn fat around your belly, and burpees target those areas perfectly. Adding burpees to the mix can help improve heart and lung health.
Convenient & versatile: Burpees don’t need equipment (unless you’re levelling up on the challenge) or a large space. You can bust a move in your apartment and get your blood pumping just as you would in the gym.
Improve mobility, posture and balance: Since burpees target major muscle groups in your body, including strengthening your core, they help improve your balance, coordination and posture.
Vary it to suit your needs: When you’ve mastered the basics, you can level up the move by adding plenty of variations to your routine.
How To Burpee
- Start in a squat position with your knees bent, back straight and keep your feet about shoulder-width apart.
- Lower your hands to the floor in front of you so they’re just inside your feet.
- With your weight on your hands, kick your feet back so you’re on your hands and toes in a push-up position.
- Keeping your body straight from head to heels, do one pushup. Remember not to let your back sag. Don’t stick your buttocks up in the air.
- Do a frog kick by jumping your feet back to their starting position.
- Stand and reach your arms over your head.
- Jump quickly into the air so you land back where you started.
- As soon as you land with your knees bent, get into a squat position and repeat.
New to Burpees?
Skip the push-up and jump: Start with a squat thrust, but instead of doing a push-up and then jumping up, kick your legs back so you’re in a push-up position and then jump forward to your starting stance.
Skip the jump: Instead of jumping into the air after the push-up, just return to the squat position.
Skip the push-up: If your chest muscle or shoulders aren’t ready for push-ups, hold a plank for a couple of seconds instead of doing a push-up. You could also do a partial push-up until you build more strength.
Up the Challenge
Burpee box jump: Use a plyometric box, bench or any solid object that will support your weight.
- Stand in front of the box in your usual squat position, but instead of dropping down to the floor, place your hands on the object to do a modified push-up.
- Instead of jumping in the air, jump on the box.
- Land gently on the floor, with your knees bent and move straight into the next repetition.
Burpee with a Bosu ball: For this, you’ll need a Bosu ball with the flat side up.
- Start in a squat position with your knees bent, holding the outer edges of the Bosu ball.
- Lower your hands to the floor, holding the Bosu ball.
- Place the Bosu ball directly beneath you, and place your hands on the flat surface while you do a pushup.
- Then grab the opposite edges of the Bosu ball and lift it above your head as you stand straight up.
- Lower it to the floor and repeat.
Burpees with dumbbells:
- Start in a squat position holding a dumbbell in each hand.
- Lower yourself to the ground, with the dumbbells beneath your shoulders. Hold onto the dumbbells while you do the push-up.
- Instead of jumping up, stand and raise both dumbbells above your head.
- Lower the weights to your side and return to the starting position.
- For an even greater challenge, you can jump while holding the dumbbells, but only if you can easily control the weights.
Regardless of how you do a burpee, the exercise turns your body into the best piece of workout equipment ever. The move is super versatile and can be tailored to any different fitness level, whether you’re trying to get through an entire burpee workout or slowly building up to doing a proper burpee.
It goes without saying that your exercise routine is only 20% of your fitness, with the remaining 80% being good nutrition. If you’re looking to improve your overall lifestyle and get fit, check out our meal prep.