How To Do a Proper Burpee

September 20, 2021

Perhaps more than any other move, burpees are an exercise that people love to hate.

While they tend to conjure up dreaded gym class memories and images of extreme CrossFitters, the truth is that burpees really are for everyone. We mean it! Even if a traditional burpee feels too challenging, there are plenty of variations you can try to build up your strength and reap the benefits of this strength-building, calorie-torching exercise.

Need more convincing? Consider the fact that burpees are convenient and versatile — you can add them into any  workout with zero equipment needed. Read on to learn more about how to add burpees to your fitness routine.


Benefits of burpees

First things first: What exactly is a burpee? Essentially, it’s a squat + plank + jump move with room for many, many variations. Here’s a quick look at the top benefits burpees offer:

  • Builds strength in your upper body and lower body
  • Boosts endurance
  • Raises your heart rate
  • Burns calories 
  • Works most of the major muscle groups in your body
  • Revs up your metabolism 
  • Improves cardiovascular capacity 

How to do a proper burpee 

There are two parts to a burpee. Essentially, you move from a vertical position to a horizontal one, and then pull yourself back up again.

Here’s the full breakdown:

  1. Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms down by your sides. 
  2. Lower yourself into a squat: hips back, butt out, knees over toes. 
  3. Place both your hands on the floor, directly in front of your feet. Shift your weight into your hands.
  4. Jump both legs back so that you land in a plank position. Option: Take a push-up here for a challenge.
  5. Jump your legs forward to return to your squat position (feet land right outside your hands).
  6. Reach your arms overhead and jump up into the air as high as you can with explosiveness. 

Rachel Kemp, CA personal trainer, demos a burpee (with the push-up included) below.




Burpee variations 

If you’re a fan of TRX straps, you can always embrace them to freshen up your burpee. Make no mistake, though — it’s still a pretty challenging move! In fact, placing one leg in the strap adds a new balance component that may even give the traditional burpee a run for their money.



Or, you can also try a burpee without the push-up (below). It’s still a full-body strengthener that will raise your heart rate, and in time, you can challenge yourself to add the push-up as you build strength.


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