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The Calories Burned With Burpees

by
author image Rhonda Alexander, MS, MA, CFT
Based in Chicago, Rhonda Alexander has written health-related articles since 2006. Her work has appeared in publications owned by the Sun-Times Media. She holds two master's degrees from DePaul University in addition to certifications in personal training and fitness nutrition. Her first book, "Green Smoothie Bliss," will be released 2014.
The Calories Burned With Burpees
Burpees burn major calories but will leave you gasping for air afterward. Photo Credit Travis McCoy/travismccoy.com

Everyone who knows what burpees are has a very strong opinion of them -- and not always a positive one. A burpee is a calisthenic exercise that combines several simple movements, including a squat, push-up and jump, that use your bodyweight for resistance. They're designed to build endurance, so expect to run out of breath while you're performing this exercise. You may run out of strength, too, but if you persist, the calories burned (about 240 to 355 calories in 30 minutes) will be worth the effort. Plus, as a full-body exercise, you'll ton all your major muscle groups with a single exercise.

How to Do a Burpee

The Calories Burned With Burpees
Proper form for doing burpees. Photo Credit Demand Media Studios

Start by reaching both hands in the air over your head, and then come down into a squatting position. Reach your hands to the floor and kick your legs behind you, coming to the top of a push-up position, with your arms shoulder-width apart. Here you have the option of doing a full push-up before continuing. Jump your feet back to the squat position before pushing off your feet into an explosive leap with both hands directly above your head.

Feel the Burn With Burpees

Your weight, metabolism, duration and intensity are determining factors for the number of calories you'll burn while performing this exercise, but according to Harvard University, a 125-pound person can burn 240 calories in 30 minutes doing vigorous calisthenics, similar to burpees. Similarly, a 155-pound person can burn almost 300 calories in the same amount of time, while a 185-pound person burns 355 calories.

How Do Burpee Measure Up to Other Exercises?

While burpees do burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time, there are plenty of other exercises that do the same (or more). If you just can't stand burpees or are just curious to see how the calorie burn stacks up to other exercises, here's a list of similar exercises and how many calories they burn.

Weightlifting: 112
Walking: 186
Yoga/Stretching: 149
Stair Stepper: 223
Swimming: 223
Cycling: 260
Rock Climbing: 298
Rowing: 316
Elliptical: 335
Running (6 mph): 372

*Based on a 155-pound person doing the activity for 30 minutes.

Burpee Variations

The Calories Burned With Burpees
Try a Spiderman broad jump burpee. Photo Credit Travis McCoy/travismccoy.com

Like many other body-weight exercises, there are a variety of variations you can add into your workout when you're bored with the standard burpee. Give some of these a try the next time you hit the gym.

Spiderman Burpee
Rotational Jump Burpee
Mountain Climber Burpee
Box Jump Burpee
Renegade Row Burpee
Side Plank Burpee
Weighted Burpee
Pike Push-Up Burpee
Tuck Jump Burpee
Medicine Ball Burpee
Single-Leg Push-Up Burpee
Broad Jump Burpee

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