How to do a Burpee

What is a Burpee?

The real question is, what isn’t a Burpee? A Burpee is the Megazord of bodyweight movements. It takes a High Push-Up Position Hold, a Body Squat, a Push-Up, connects them all together, adds a jump in there for extra power, and creates a bodyweight super monster that can stand up to any evil and malicious opponent that wants to stop you for staying in shape. The burpee will engage all of your muscle groups and is also an excellent exercise for strengthening your cardiovascular system. There are several variations of a burpee that can make this difficult exercise even more challenging (see progressions at the end of the post), as well as variations that can make it easier for beginners (see regressions at the end of the post). Admittedly, this is my favorite bodyweight exercise, and is an excellent movement that once learned can be a great addition to your exercise tool belt. 

The Burpee is a full-body exercise with an emphasis on the following muscle groups:

  • Core
  • Chest
  • Shoulders
  • Triceps
  • Legs

How to Do a Burpee (Instructions):

Start by standing with your feet a little more than shoulder-width apart, with your hands by your side. From the standing position, squat down with your legs, then transition to an upright push-up position and perform a push-up. When you return to the top of the push-up position, bring your feet forward to the ground behind your hands, then jump up into the air with your arms down by your sides. Repeat.
For video instructions on how to perform a Burpee with your arms down, see here.

Trainer Tips for the Burpee: 

  • Progression (make harder… as if you’d want to…)
    • Perform the movement, and instead of doing a push-up, move your arms and legs side to side in a Lateral Crawl.
    • Perform the movement, and instead of jumping up in the air, jump forward as far as you can.
      • Some crazy people out in the world have put together what’s called the “Burpee Mile“, which is essentially the Burpee jump over and over again until you have completed a mile. 
    • Perform the Spiderman Burpee
    • Perform the movement underneath monkey bars or a pull-up bar. As you jump into the air, grab onto the overhead bar and perform a Pull-Up
  • Regression (make easier)
    • Perform the Burpee without a jump at the top of the movement. 
    • Perform the Burpee without a push-up at the bottom of the movement. 
    • Perform the High Push-Up Position Hold
  • Application:
    • Do 3 sets of 8-12 repetitions of Burpees as a part of any workout.
    • Perform 10-30 burpees as a part of your morning routine every day for a month.  
      • Several months ago, I did my own burpee challenge. I completed 50 burpees every morning for one month. The results, both mentally and physically, stationed burpees as my forever favorite bodyweight exercise. 
    • For an absolutely brutal workout, try doing 100 Burpees, for time. 
Burpees are used in the Layman’s Fitness 12 Week Bodyweight Program, which you can learn more about here.