The burpee is the exercise many of us love to hate. But you're never going to get better at burpees — or love them any more — if you don't actually do them. (Funny how that works.)
Burpees are really three moves in one: a squat, a push-up and a jump. Which makes them incredibly efficient full-body exercises that strengthen every major muscle group while increasing endurance. And if you do enough of them, your heart rate will spike for a dose of cardio, too. No wonder they're so hard.
We put together this month-long challenge to help you build up your burpee stamina and perfect your form. Keep scrolling for everything you need to know.
How the 30-Day Burpee Challenge Works
Once a year, we host the LIVESTRONG.com 30-Day Burpee Challenge in our Challenge Facebook Group. You can start on your own at any time, but our next official round begins Thursday, April 1, 2021.
Each day, you'll do the designated number of reps in the challenge calendar below. The first day will be your warm-up: You only have to do one burpee. Every day after that, you'll add two burpees. And every six days, you get a rest day. (Phew!)
On Day 30 — the very last day of the challenge — you'll finish with 50 burpees. That might seem like a lot, but you'll work up to it throughout the month. Plus, we have suggestions below to help you scale the exercise to your ability. You can also break up your burpees into more manageable sets or try different variations to find what works for you.
To help keep you on track, the challenge calendar below can be printed out or saved to your phone so you know exactly how many burpees to do each day.
Get a printer-friendly version of the challenge calendar here.
How to Do the Burpee Challenge
Step 1: Print and/or Save Your Challenge Calendar
Keep your calendar somewhere you can see it so you never forget what day you're on. Cross off the days as you complete them so you always know how many reps you have to do the next day.
Step 2: Join Our Challenge Facebook Group
Our community of more than 48,000 members is here to support and motivate you through this challenge. Tell the group how the day's reps went, post photos or videos of your burpees or share your favorite burpee meme or motivational quote.
Step 3: Focus on Proper Burpee Form
Before you begin, make sure you nail your form. Poor form means you won't get as much of out an exercise — and it could put you at risk for injury. Burpees require a good bit of coordination, but with some careful focus you'll master your form fast. Let's take a minute to go through proper burpee form, step by step.
How to Do a Burpee
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms by your sides.
- Bend your knees to lower into a squat, keeping your back straight. Make sure your hips hinge back without arching your lower back or letting your knees extend over your toes.
- Reach your hands forward, placing them on the floor shoulder-width apart.
- Jump or step your feet back into a high plank. You should be in a straight line from head to heels — shoulders over wrists, back flat, hips level.
- If you want, add a push-up here, bending your elbows at a 45-degree angle to your body and lowering yourself toward the floor. Keep your shoulders over your hands, abs engaged and hips level. Press back up to a plank.
- Jump or step your feet back to your hands, landing in a low squat position.
- Press through your heels to jump straight up with arms overhead.
- Land softly with knees slightly bent so that you're ready to go straight into the next rep.
Check that you're not holding your breath — or making any of these other common burpee mistakes.
Step 4: Know How and When to Modify Burpees
There are several ways to make burpees a little easier. Try these suggestions to reduce the impact of the exercise:
- If the push-up is too hard:
- Lower to your knees for modified push-ups.
- Place your arms on a step, bench or chair to elevate your upper body.
- Skip it entirely.
- Lower to your knees for modified push-ups.
- If you have wrist pain: Do the plank and/or push-up on closed fists.
- If you have back pain or prefer lower-impact exercises: Step one foot at a time back and forth from the plank position instead of jumping.
- If you have knee pain or prefer lower-impact exercises: Instead of jumping up from the squat, reach your arms overhead and lift onto your tiptoes.
Fun fact: Over these 30 days, you’ll do 675 burpees. Impressive! As the daily total increases, think about spreading them out in smaller sets throughout the day.
Step 5: Try Variations for Every Fitness Level
This challenge is for everyone: Beginners can modify with the tips above, while more advanced exercisers can try doubling the push-up or the jump, switching to single-arm push-ups or adding a box jump.
Experiment with the best burpee variations to keep challenging yourself.
Even if you're not at the advanced level yet, you can try doing just a few reps each day of a harder variation.
Step 6: Enjoy Your Rest Days
Days off give your muscles and mind a chance to rest, recover and get stronger.
If you're feeling sore, a rest day is a great time for stretching or foam rolling. Focus on wherever you're tight or achy; because the burpee is a full-body exercise, there are many muscles that might need some relief.
Step 7: Celebrate Your Success
Making it to the end the 30-Day Burpee Challenge is a major accomplishment! Spend some time savoring that sweet, sweet victory.
Then, consider trying a new challenge next month, like:
You can do any of our challenges on your own whenever you're ready, or you can visit our Challenges page to see what we've got planned for the full year.