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How to do Burpees

Updated on March 31, 2011

What's a burpee?

Burpees are a combination exercise that works out many muscles in the body and can be done without any equipment. You start at the standing position, legs spread about shoulder length apart. Do a proper bodyweight squat, but put your hands down at your sides. Kick your legs back, putting yourself in a pushup position. Do a pushup all the way down with your face forward (not down at the ground). Pull your legs back in so you're back in the lowered squat position. You want to do this in one quick motion, like a horizontal jump with your hands on the ground. If you find yourself walking or crawling your legs back to this squat position, you're out of shape. Do a vertical leap from this squat position and land back in the standing position. Repeat. Seems simple, right? Bwahahahahaha!

The burpee motion can seem really easy at first, but try doing a dozen of them in a row. Even people who think they're in shape will find they can really feel the burn on this exercise.

Burpee variations

There are many different variations of the Burpee:

  • Long jump burpee - Do a long jump instead of a vertical leap. You'll need some room to do this, as you'll be moving forward (the long stretch of a high school track works great).
  • Tuck jump burpee - During your jump, pull your knees up to your chest. This is great parkour practice.
  • Parkour burpee - This one is a little complicated. You need to have a table in front of you. During your vertical jump, jump up on the table. Do another burpee on the table and jump down. Not for beginners.
  • Dumbbell burpee - Hold a dumbbell in each hand as you do a burpee. It's best if they are squared on the sides, since they'll be supporting your body during a pushup (I love Ironmaster dumbbells).

The benefits of burpees

Burpees work several different large muscle groups in the body. You'll notice the burn in your abs, your quads, your pectorals, and even in your forearms. There are very few other exercises that offer a more diverse workout


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