Burpees: the exercise you love to hate. But you're never going to get better at them — or love them any more — if you don't actually do them (funny how that works). They're an incredibly efficient full-body exercise that tone every major muscle group. Essentially, they're three exercises in one — a squat, a push-up and a jump.
If you do enough of them, your heart rate will skyrocket and you'll get a great cardio workout to boot. No wonder they're so hard! Need help getting started? We have just the thing for you! A 30-day burpee challenge.
How the Burpee Challenge Works
Every now and again, we host the LIVESTRONG.com 30-Day Burpee Challenge in our Challenge Facebook group, but you can start it on your own any time the mood strikes. Each day, you'll do the prescribed number of reps (see the printable calendar below).
Next, find your fellow challengers and share your daily progress on our special Facebook Challenge Group. When you join the group, you'll be in prime position to participate in all of our future monthly challenges as well.
Before you begin, check out the video below from your hosts Mike Donavanik and Vanessa Villegas to learn the proper form for burpees. They can be tricky and require a good bit of coordination, but keep doing them and you'll have them mastered before you know it.
How to Perform a Burpee
- Start standing.
- Squat down with your hands between your feet.
- Jump your feet back into a plank.
- Jump your feet back to your hands.
- As you stand, jump up with arms overhead.
- Landing softly with knees slightly bent.
Modifications: There are several ways to make burpees a bit easier. Try these suggestions to reduce the impact of the exercise:
- Skip the jump at the top of the burpee.
- Instead of jumping your legs back, step back one leg at a time. Then step forward instead of jumping forward.
- Place your hands on a bench or sturdy chair when you step back into the plank position.
Advanced: Take the intermediate variation and add a push-up when you're in your plank. If a full push-up is too difficult, you can drop to your knees and do a knee push-up instead. (Tip: Place a mat or folded towel under your knees to make dropping to your knees more comfortable.)
And if you're one of those crazy people who thinks, "50 burpees? That's nothing!" Well, then it's time to amp up your burpee game. Once you've progressed beyond the "regular" advanced version, we have 15 burpee variations that'll kick your butt. Add a box jump, do a clap push-up instead of a regular one, hold dumbbells, get creative! Then, share your favorite burpee variations with us.
So even if you still hate them at the end of the month, at least you'll have shown them who's boss — you!
The Burpee Challenge Schedule
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 (hallelujah!).
Finally, get ready for day 30, when you'll do 50 burpees in one day! It might sound like a lot at the start, but if you work up to it, it's totally doable. You can also scale them to your ability level (see above for suggestions).
You can also break them into as many sets as needed or try different variations to find what works for you. The point is to get off your butt and get moving! Keep track of your progress with this handy 30-day calendar.
Each week, we'll have a different focus, as well as lots of tips and motivation to help you through the challenge. Here's what you can expect:
How to Join the Burpee Challenge
Ready to get started? Here's your pre-challenge checklist:
- Print out the calendar (or keep it accessible on your phone or computer) so you can refer to it every day.
- Warm up for the challenge by practicing your burpee form. Look in the mirror if you need to make sure everything looks nice and aligned.
- Join the LIVESTRONG.com Challenge Facebook group to find support and motivation from your fellow challengers.
- Follow your hosts — Mike Donavanik and Vanessa Villegas — on Instagram for additional workout motivation.
- Get ready to start the challenge with us or on your own!