Burpees are a popular and highly effective full-body conditioning exercise that requires no equipment to perform.
- Primary Muscle: Quadriceps
- Secondary Muscle(s): Abdominals
- Difficulty: Intermediate
- Optional: Dumbbells, Weighted Vest
View Burpees guide
How to do burpees
The burpee described below incorporates a jump movement at the end of the exercise to increase power output and activity levels.
- Begin in a squat position with hands on the floor, slightly wider than shoulder width.
- Kick feet back to the starting push-up position.
- Immediately return feet to the squat position.
- Jump up as high as possible from the squat, and drop back down to the starting position.
- Repeat the exercise, moving as fast as possible.
- Maintain a fast pace for the burpee exercise and jump as high as you can.
- Keep movements smooth, fluid and controlled.
Burpees exercise guide
The burpee is a full-body conditioning exercise that can be performed with very little space with nothing other than your bodyweight. This makes it an excellent impromptu workout or for exercising on the road.
Burpees are a great test of agility, coordination and general conditioning, whilst promoting effective fat loss due to the intensity and speed of the movements.
Essentially the burpee movement is actually several exercises performed together in rapid succession. This simple string of movements means that the exercise can be performed for high repetitions at high intensity, making it a good choice for general conditioning.
Burpees for beginners
Try picking a number of burpee repetitions and record the length of time it takes to complete. Over time you can reduce the completion time. As a starting goal try 100 burpees in under ten minutes.
If you're not quite up to full burpees and looking for an easier variation you can skip the jump from the final part of the exercise. Instead of leaping in the air (step 4) simply drive back up to the original starting position and repeat the exercise.
Alternatively, simply scale the volume of burpees appropriate to your fitness level by lowering the target number of reps.
When you've mastered the standard burpee the simplest way to increase the intensity and effectiveness is to introduce additional weight or resistance.
You can introduce weight to the burpee by performing the exercise whilst wearing a weighted vest or holding dumbbells.
Resistance bands also offer an interesting an effective means of increasing the difficulty of the standard burpee. Try wrapping a band round each foot, then over the shoulders.
Alternatively, see the many burpee variations described below to add more complex and targeted elements to the exercise.
Burpees exercise variations
- Weighted burpees: Hold dumbbells or wear a weighted vest to introduce additional weight.
- Burpee push-up: Add an actual push-up at stage 2 of the exercise. Also try introducing the push-up clap, if you're particularly strong.
- Long jump burpee: At position 4 jump forward as far as you can, instead of upward.
- Tuck jump burpee: Whilst jumping in the air pull the knees close into the chest and extend back out upon landing.
- Jump-over burpee: During the jumping portion of the exercise jump over an obstacle.
- Box jump burpee: Jump onto a box instead of straight up (see box jump in plyometrics exercises).
- Pull-up burpee: Perform a pull-up exercise on rings or a bar when jumping (see pull-up).
- Wall ball burpee: Grip a wall ball or medicine ball during the burpee
Always consult your GP before undertaking any form of weight loss, fitness or exercise