If you've ever done any kind of circuit or HIIT training, you've most likely had to do a burpee before. Are you someone who despises burpees, or are you someone that can't get enough of them? Whichever side you're on, you should know that they make for a pretty awesome workout. They help you build muscles and strength, burn fat and calories, and get your heart rate up, up, and up. Burpees deliver results and require zero equipment whatsoever. Seriously, what's not to love?
What is a burpee?
What's in a name? In this case, burpees got their name from their inventor, Royal Huddleston Burpee. It's him you'll have to thank (or curse) next time you do your burpees. The physiologist invented them in the 1930s as a fast way to test the fitness level of non-active adults. During World War II, the U.S. military picked up the exercise as part of its required fitness assessment, leading it to becoming a popular conditioning workout.
Does even the thought of a burpee make your muscles sore? Burpees sound scary, but they don't have to be. Let's break down exactly what a burpee is—it might just become your new favorite workout.
Why do we love burpees so much? For one thing, they're a great all-in-one exercise. What makes a burpee so special is that it's one of those movements that engage nearly all of your muscle groups in one go. Burpees involve both cardio and strength training, on-the-ground and on-your-feet movement, as well as balance and coordination. In other words, they pack a punch. Burpees are a fantastic way to get in shape quickly. And, because they're a bodyweight exercise, you can practice them any time, any place.
Essentially, a burpee is a full-body workout combined in one flow. It's a simple sequence of movements: a squat followed by a raised plank followed by a jump. Already sounds less daunting, right?
How to do a burpee correctly
Before you jump right in, always make sure you've thoroughly warmed up. Burpees can be stressful for ankles, knees, and wrists, so include some mobility work like squats and lunges to loosen up the joints.
Once you've finished your warm-up, here's how to get started on your burpee:
First off, start with a straight standing position. So far, so good.
Lower down into a squat position.
Place your hands on the floor in front of you.
Kick your feet back into a high plank position.
Return your feet back to the squat position.
Jump as high as you can.
Remember, it's important to get your form and posture right before adding speed and power. Be aware of each of the muscle groups that you're engaging for a challenging and rewarding workout.
For a proper burpee technique, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Keep your feet together as you lower into a squat and kick them back
Keep your chest upright when in the squat position
Extend your arms as you enter the hand plank position with your shoulders above your hands
Contract and engage your core throughout the movement
Raise your arms above you as you leap into the air for extra momentum
Because burpees are such a high-intensity movement, you may end up sacrificing your form the first few times you try. When you first start out with burpees, it's important to check-in with your body every once in a while to verify that you're doing each movement correctly. This will not only allow you to reap all the benefits of burpees, but it will also help you avoid any injuries incurred from improper positioning. Once you have your form right, you can add speed to the mix. Burpees are meant to be performed fast!
Burpee benefits (there’s plenty!)
Burpees are seriously useful and a favorite among many athletes. Why? Because they pack so many benefits into just one movement. Burpees are fast-paced, dynamic, and never dull. Here's why you should consider including them in your next workout.
Raise your pulse
Need more cardio in your life? Burpees might be the perfect match for you. Burpees are a high-intensity, plyometric exercise, and a great cardio endurance workout that will be sure to get your heart pumping fast.
Want to turn your body into a fat-burning machine? Try burpees. Since burpees are an intense full-body exercise, they burn plenty of calories. Plus, research shows that high-intensity exercises like burpees burn twice as much fat than moderate exercising. What are you waiting for?
One of the great advantages of burpees is that they build muscles while they burn calories. Because you're engaging all of your muscle groups, burpees will help you develop strength and gain body definition. Every rep is a full-body strength training exercise where you get to work everything from your arms and abs to your quads and glutes.
Burpee workout examples
So, you're finally convinced that burpees are worth a try? Check out the exercises below to find out a few of our favorite burpee workouts that'll be sure to push you to your limits.
Do eight rounds of burpees – 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest
The 100-burpee challenge
Just do 100 burpees as fast as you can. If you manage to keep it under 10 minutes, that's amazing. Is 100 way too many? Then try 50. Still too much? Start as low as five or ten. Everyone starts at different levels and that's totally ok. Plus, it may take a while until the movement becomes more natural. Practice makes perfect!
The burpee ladder
Start with 10 burpees, have a quick rest, then do 9, 8, and so on. Once you're done, work your way back to 10.
Burpee variations (to keep your body guessing)
Ready for a change? You're in luck—there isn't just one version of a burpee so there's no way you'll get bored!
The push-up burpee
If your regular burpee is becoming too easy, try this variation. Once you are in the plank position, bend your elbows to perform a push-up instead.
The chest-to-floor burpee
Still too easy? Once you have kicked back your feet, drop your chest and hips to the floor (so your stomach is lying flat on the ground).
The weighted burpee
Try wearing a weighted vest or use dumbbells as you perform your basic burpee. This alone will add an extra layer of difficulty.
The half burpee
If you want less bouncing around but still want to feel the burn in your thighs, start your burpee in a deep squat position instead of standing and cut out the jump at the end.
Give them a go
There are so many more burpee variations out there that you can choose from. For low-impact versions, try simply walking your feet back instead of kicking them back, or do a squat thrust instead of a jump. Up for an even bigger challenge? Try the one-legged burpee, or add a tuck jump or a box jump instead of a regular jump. The choice is all yours!
So there you have it, our burpee secrets and tips uncovered. Want more burpee workout examples? Head over to the 8fit app for plenty of fun and challenging exercise routines that we're sure you'll love.