The burpee is one of the most popular full-body exercises. The functional movement, beloved by the Crossfitters, requires a lot of energy, strength, and speed, and at the same time, involves no gym equipment. It’s also a great exercise for a HIIT routine. Here’s the secret of the classic burpee’s effectiveness, plus 5 ways for upgrading the classic movement.

What does the burpee do?

  • It improves strength, speed, coordination.
  • It works all the main muscle groups.
  • It pumps the heart rate up.
  • It burns fat.

Here’s the movement sequence of the classic burpee:

  1. Start in standing position, feet shoulder-width apart.

  2. Squat down, put your hands on the floor.

  3. Thrust the legs back to the push-up starting position.

  4. Lay the chest on the ground by bending the elbows.

  5. Push back up to get back to the squat with the hands on the ground.

  6. Jump up with your arms up.

The idea is to join all the phases of the sequence into a fluent movement, performed as quickly as possible. As you squat down, you work your quads, hamstrings, and glutes. Jumping your legs back, forth, and up you engage your calves. The push-up in the middle works the whole core, plus the chest,  arms, shoulders and back . It’s a real all-in-one combination.

The 6 burpee variations to try out

BURPEE TUCK JUMP

As you jump up I the final phase of the movement, drag your knees towards your chest, and hold it with your hands. Spread out to land back on your feet, and get into another rep.

WHIRLWIND BURPEE

In the final jump phase, add a 180 degrees turn, so that you’re facing the other way with each rep.

BURPEE TO ROLL BACK

Do one full classic burpee, and then roll back taking the legs over your head. Get up, and do another burpee followed by the roll back. If you need more challenge, add the roll back after the push-up phase. This way you’ll have to thrust the legs forward from all the way back, and then stand up from your back through a sit-up. A great variation if you want to work those abs some more.

SIDE BURPEE

This one is great for the obliques. It does not include the push-up phase, though. As you squat down, put the hands on one side, and thrust the legs to the other direction. Jump back to the center, jump up, and repeat switching the sides with each rep.

WIDE MOUNTAIN CLIMBER BURPEE

When you thrust the leg back to the push-up position, get your right foot beside your right hand. Next, jump to switch the feet, and drag the left foot towards the left hand. Get the left leg back to the center and jump up. You may omit the push-up phase in this burpee variation, but you may also add the mountain climbers after the push-up, if you want it to be more challenging.

SKATER SPRAWL BURPEE

A combination of ice skaters and burpees. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Jump to the left rebounding from your right foot. As you land on your left foot, squat down and sprawl to the starting push-up position. Rebound back to squat and stand up. Repeat the series of movements towards the other side. You can omit the push-up phase (as in the video), but you can of course add it as well.

That’s just several ideas for upgrading the burpee. I’m sure you can come up with more, or have tried other variations of this great exercise. Feel free to share your ideas and experiences in the comments section. Stay fit!

About Cathy Patalas

The sports soul and the alleged specialist in words of 52Challenges.com. The main 52C Blog writer. A diligent student at the English Department of the University of Wroclaw, majoring in applied linguistics. An ex-acrobat and aerobic gymnast with the 13-year long experience in „training for winning”. A multiple medallist of Poland nationals in acrobatic gymnastics, and academic nationals in aerobic gymnastics. A fan of gymnastics of every existing type. Personally, finds making everyday choices in a healthy lifestyle even more demanding a challenge than making everyday sacrifices in the athlete’s lifestyle.