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How to Do a Burpee — Benefits, Muscles Worked, Variations & Tips

The burpee is one of the most effective full-body exercises that target major muscle groups and improve your overall fitness. Here's how to master the move with proper form.

Luna Morin
How to Do a Burpee — Benefits, Muscles Worked, Variations & Tips
Table Of Contents

Few exercises can compete with the burpee when getting an all-around full-body workout. This powerful exercise, is one of the quickest and most effective bodyweight movements available to target major muscle groups and improve your overall fitness.

Through this blog post, you'll learn about the benefits associated with performing burpees regularly, what muscles they work best on in your body and how to modify them through various variations if you need added intensity.

We'll even touch on valuable tips to improve form and help you get the most out of every burpee rep!

History of Burpee

History tells us that the burpee exercise dates back to 1938 when Royal H. Burpee, an American psychologist, developed the 4-part bodyweight exercise. He intended it to be a physical and mental gauge of a person's fitness level.

Initially, the exercise involved performing a plank jump, standing straight up, and going down into a side plank position — all in one fluid motion. It was then, while taking part in an inter-service competition as an Army Physical Training Instructor during World War II that Corporal Russell Luther incorporated two more movements into the sequence: jumping with your feet wide apart and then bringing them back together before starting again (the 'jumping jack').

The sequence is now known as the 'burpee.' It has proven to be an effective full-body workout exercise, testing strength and conditioning while developing coordination and balance.

How to Do a Burpee

This combination of strength and cardio is one of the ultimate full-body exercises. This exercise can be done almost anywhere and requires no equipment.

  • To begin, stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Reach above your head and jump in place, then quickly squat with your hands on the floor just outside your feet.
  • Next, thrust both legs out behind you until you are in the classic pushup position.
  • Immediately reverse direction by thrusting both legs back towards your chest in one explosion - this is one repetition!
  • While doing multiple repetitions, focus on maintaining good form throughout.
  • Perform 4 sets of 10-15 reps.

What Muscles Do Burpees Work?

Burpees are one of the most challenging yet effective exercises. Completing a burpee activates almost all of your body's muscles and can add intensity to any workout.

Burpees primarily engage the muscles in your arms, shoulders, chest, legs, and core. As you jump into a squat position during a burpee, you activate your glutes and quads while hovering back engages your chest and shoulder muscles.

And as you jump up from this position to complete one repetition of a burpee, you utilize all of the major muscle groups in your legs: hamstrings, calves, and quads.

Altogether it makes for an intense full-body exercise. Burpees are worth considering if you're looking for an all-inclusive exercise targeting many of the body's muscles.

Benefits of Burpee

Burpees are a great full-body exercise that can be found in many fitness routines. They are effective for building muscle and strength, but burpees also help improve cardiovascular health, boost energy levels, and burn calories. Some other benefits of Burpees include:

Helps Gain Muscle

Burpees are a compound exercise that utilizes multiple muscles simultaneously. It makes them an incredibly efficient way to build muscle mass throughout your entire body.

Improves Cardiovascular Endurance

Burpees are known as aerobic exercise, requiring you to use oxygen during movement, which strengthens your heart and lungs over time, leading to improved cardiovascular endurance. It can increase metabolism and improve overall health by reducing stroke or heart attack risk.

Boost Energy Levels

Regularly performing burpees can increase your physical energy level because this exercise helps speed up digestion, allowing faster absorption of vitamins and minerals from food into the bloodstream and giving you more fuel for intense bursts of activity throughout the day!

Burn Calories

When done correctly, burpee exercises are a highly effective way of burning calories quickly without spending hours on conventional cardio equipment at the gym or track. It has been estimated that a single set of 10 burpees burns around 50 calories (depending on body weight), making it one of the most efficient calorie-burning exercises out there!

How to Make Burpees Easier or Harder

Depending on how difficult or easy you want your burpee routine to be, there are various modifications you can make when performing this exercise.

Beginner exercisers can minimize the intensity of burpees by reducing the number of repetitions, increasing the rest time between each set, or opting for a low-impact variation that does not require full body extension and gives you the ability to complete the exercise at an easier pace.

On the other hand, you can make them more challenging by adding extra movements to this familiar exercise, which helps you get more out of the same amount of effort.

For example, instead of simply jumping both feet back into plank when doing a burpee, try adding a push up. This will add upper body strength to this already grilling movement.

You can also add weights to traditional Burpees, putting a medicine ball between your hands during your pushup phase or simply holding dumbbells throughout each repetition. If you're looking for an even bigger challenge, consider trying box jump burpees or alternating between regular and spiderman burpees for extra intensity!

Variations of Burpee

Here are some variations that can kick up the intensity, add fun moves to mix things up, and help target specific body parts:

Pushup Burpee

The pushup burpee is a full-body exercise combining two movements: the classic burpee and the traditional pushup.

  • To perform a pushup burpee, you'll start in a plank position, then do one basic pushup.
  • Afterward, kick your legs out so you're in a high plank position with your feet wider than your hands.
  • From there, power through a jump squat before jumping or stepping your feet back into plank position to do another pushup.
  • Perform 3 sets of 12-15 reps.

Mountain Climbers Burpees

Mountain Climbers Burpees are a demanding full-body exercise to strengthen the core, condition the lower body, and improve coordination and strength.

  • To perform Mountain Climber Burpees, start in a pushup position with hands placed shoulder-width apart.
  • Quickly move one knee towards your chest in a running motion, then return to starting position before switching legs.
  • After this, jump your feet back forward to standing position and jump.
  • Bend your knees, squat back down and jump your feet back to a plank position.
  • Then again, repeat the Mountain Climbers motion until all reps are completed.
  • Perform 3 sets of 15-20 reps.

Side Burpees

Side burpees are an effective and challenging exercise to incorporate into any strength training routine. They offer a whole-body workout that engages several muscle groups at once for optimal benefit - making it ideal for those with limited exercise time.

  • To perform a side burpee, stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Squat down and jump both feet back to the right side.
  • From here, you will jump back forward.
  • As you stand, jump into the air with both hands pointing overhead.
  • Upon landing, repeat this motion on the opposite side.
  • Perform 3 sets of 10-15 reps.

Star Jump Burpees

Star Jump Burpees are a great full-body workout. It provides many benefits and can be easily incorporated into any workout routine.

  • To perform Star Jump Burpees, start in a plank position on the ground.
  • Jump your feet forward and as you come to a standing position spring up with your feet spread apart and arms extended wide; like a star.
  • Land softly, and repeat the cycle.
  • Perform 3 sets of 15-20 reps.

Critical Tips On Burpee Form

If you're new to burpees, here are some key tips to remember when working through the exercise.

  • When you jump back, don't allow your stomach to sag and your spine to drop into extension. Maintain a tight core as soon as you land the jump back.
  • While jumping up towards the sky, be sure to land softly, bend at your ankles and knees slightly to absorb the shock. Never land with flat feet or locked knees.
  • Never prioritize speed over form. Be sure to always keep tight core muscles so as not to risk injury; this also ensures maximum efficiency during each rep.


1. What are burpees good for?

Burpees are a full-body exercise that can help build strength and endurance. They are also a great way to burn calories, as they can help raise your heart rate and metabolism. Additionally, burpees can improve your balance and coordination. Finally, burpees are a great way to tone your muscles and get a workout in, even if you only have a little time or space.

2. How many burpees are good in a day?

Burpee exercise is a great way to get a full-body workout and stay in shape. Generally speaking, experts recommend that you aim to do up to 3 sets of 15-20 repetitions of burpees per day for optimal benefits.

3. What are 4 types of burpees?

Four types of burpees are Push Up Burpees, Mountain Climber Burpees, Side Burpees, and Star Jump Burpees. They all are effective, have multiple benefits, and can easily be incorporated into any workout routine.

4. Can you get fit just by doing burpees?

Burpees are a great full-body workout and can help build strength and endurance, but you need other exercises to get fit. It's essential to include a variety of exercises in your routine that target different muscle groups to see significant results.

You should also focus on eating a healthy diet that provides your body with the nutrients it needs to perform at its best. Burpees are a great way to start your fitness journey, but remember, there is more to it than just this exercise!

The Bottom Line

Beyond being a great way to get your heart rate up and break a sweat, burpees offer many benefits that make them worthwhile. They're full-body exercises, so they work muscles all over, and they can be done anywhere since you don't need any equipment. Plus, they help improve coordination and balance while toning your core, legs, arms, and back.

There are endless variations of this move to keep things interesting (and challenging), so there's truly something for everyone. And last but not least—burpees are excellent for helping you build stamina and endurance. So what are you waiting for? Give them a try today!

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Luna Morin

Luna is a freelance writer, passionate about bringing a positive change in people’s lives by producing well-researched content related to health and fitness. She makes sure that her content is relatable to her audience by exploring the latest trends in fitness.

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