This 7-Day Burpee Challenge Helps You Build Up to a Flawless Burpee in a Week

You don't have to be intimidated by burpees thanks to this 7-day burpee challenge, which will help you build up to the move.
Image Credit: Getty Images/LIVESTRONG.com Creative

Healthy habits are built one day at a time. Our monthly fitness challenges can help you stay on track all year long.

It's entirely normal to feel a little intimidated by burpees. The notoriously challenging exercise combines full-body strength and mobility with high-intensity cardio — and that's a lot to get right all at once.

Advertisement

"One of the reasons people may shy away from burpees is because they don't know how to do them properly," says Brittany Hammond, CPT, National Academy of Sports Medicine-certified personal trainer and host of our 7-Day Burpee Challenge. "It's important to get your burpee form perfect before executing a lot of them, because it can reduce the risk of injury."

How the 7-Day Burpee Challenge Works

From time to time, we host the LIVESTRONG.com 7-Day Burpee Challenge in our Challenge Facebook Group — but you can start on your own at any time! (We started complete most recent session in July.)

Advertisement

Each day, you'll do one of seven exercises (see below for those) for the given amount of sets and reps. By the end of the week, you'll have built up the strength and proper form to perform a full burpee (or one of the modifications Hammond demonstrates for Day 7).

The Challenge Calendar

To stay on track, print out or save the 7-day calendar below.

Advertisement

Image Credit: LIVESTRONG.com Creative

Get a printer-friendly version of the challenge calendar here!

Learn These 7 Moves to Build Up to Burpees

Image Credit: LIVESTRONG.com Creative

When building up to burpees, it makes things easier to break the exercise down into its essential elements: a squat, push-up and jump. If you can do these moves flawlessly, you can string them together to build the perfect burpee — even if you're doing a lot of them.

Advertisement

"As fatigue sets in, that's when we start to let our form slack," Hammond says. "Having a strong foundation for your burpee will help you execute burpee number one with the same efficiency as burpee number 10."

There are several exercises that will enable you to do better burpees. Here, Hammond explains how to boost your burpee skills with these seven moves and some helpful modifications and variations.

Advertisement

Day 1: Reverse Plank

JW Player placeholder image
Sets 3
Time 30 Sec
Region Core
  1. Sit with your legs extended and place your hands slightly behind you.
  2. Lift your hips into alignment with your legs and chest so you're supported by your palms and heels. Keep your fingers spread and pointing toward your feet.
  3. Your body should form a straight line from shoulders to hips to heels. Your hands should be directly under your shoulders.
  4. Gaze straight up toward the ceiling. Keep your chin off your chest, but make sure that your head isn't collapsing toward the floor.
  5. Hold for 30 seconds, rest, then repeat twice more (for a total of 3 sets).

"Having a strong back is important when doing a burpee," Hammond says. "A big mistake people make when coming out of a burpee is rounding the back. Building the muscles in your back will help prevent this from happening and protect you from injury."

Another option is the tabletop position: Instead of extending your legs straight out, bend your knees to 90 degrees with your feet under your knees and your hands under your shoulders.

Day 2: Plank

JW Player placeholder image
Sets 3
Time 30 Sec
Region Core
  1. Lie face down on your stomach with your palms on the floor underneath your shoulders and your feet flexed with your toes on the floor.
  2. Take a deep breath and press through your palms to lift yourself up into the top of a push-up position. Your body should make a straight line from your heels through your hips to the top of your head.
  3. Draw your navel toward your spine and squeeze your glutes.
  4. Look at the floor directly below your head to keep your neck in a neutral position and breathe normally.
  5. Hold for 30 seconds, rest, then repeat twice more (for a total of 3 sets).

"When jumping out into the bottom of a burpee, your plank position is essentially what catches you before your push-up," Hammond says. "Though you move out of this position quickly, working that core strength will help you complete the full burpee."

You can also drop to your knees to make the move easier or set your hands on a step, bench, countertop or wall for an incline plank.

Day 3: Plank Jump (or Step) Back

JW Player placeholder image
Sets 2
Reps 10
Region Full Body
  1. Start in a high plank, balancing on your palms and toes. Your body should make a straight line from head to heels, and your hands should be under your shoulders or slightly wider.
  2. Bend your knees slightly and jump them up toward your hands. You should land with your feet just outside shoulder-width and slightly behind your hands.
  3. Raise your chest up and bring your hands in front of your chest so you're in a squat position.
  4. Lower your hands to the floor between your feet.
  5. Hop your feet back into a high plank. That's 1 rep.
  6. Repeat for a total of 10 reps, rest, then do your second set.

"The plank jump or step back is what I like to call a baby burpee," Hammond says. "Learning how to jump up with your feet wide keeps pressure off of your knees and helps you get up without rounding your back."

To reduce the impact, step your feet back into a plank one at a time. Then step your feet into a low squat position one foot at a time.

Day 4: Squat Jump (or Squat and Reach)

JW Player placeholder image
Sets 2
Reps 10
Region Lower Body
  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes facing forward or outward slightly.
  2. Keeping your feet flat on the floor and back straight, brace your core and push your hips back and down until your thighs are parallel to the floor (or as low as you can comfortably go with good form).
  3. From the bottom of your squat, push through your feet to jump explosively off the ground. Extend your arms up overhead as you jump.
  4. Land gently with your knees slightly bent. That's 1 rep.
  5. Repeat for a total of 10 reps, rest, then do your second set.

"It’s important to build your leg strength to get power into your burpee," Hammond says. "Burpees require leg strength not only to jump at the end of the move, but also to jump yourself back into the plank position."

For a lower-impact version, take the jump out and instead reach your arms overhead and lift onto the balls of your feet. Lower your heels and arms, then go into the next rep.

Day 5: Push-Up

JW Player placeholder image
Sets 2
Reps 10
Region Upper Body
  1. Start in a high plank, balancing on your palms and toes. Your body should make a straight line from head to heels, and your hands should be under your shoulders or slightly wider.
  2. Bend your elbows at a 45-degree angle to your body and lower your body to the floor.
  3. Make sure to keep your body in one straight line as you press into your palms and push the floor away to come back up to a high plank.
  4. Repeat for a total of 10 reps, rest, then do your second set.

"You want to be able to control your body movement on the way to the floor," Hammond says. "Having a solid push-up will prevent you from slamming to the ground."

You can also drop to your knees to make the move easier or set your hands on a step, bench, countertop or wall for an incline push-up.

Day 6: Slow Burpee

JW Player placeholder image
Sets 2
Reps 8
Region Full Body
  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms by your sides.
  2. 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.
  3. Pause briefly to check your form.
  4. Reach your hands forward, placing them on the floor shoulder-width apart.
  5. Jump or step your feet back into a high plank. You should be in a straight line from head to heels with shoulders over wrists, back flat and hips level.
  6. 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.
  7. Take a quick pause.
  8. Jump or step your feet back to your hands, landing in a low squat position.
  9. Press through your heels to jump straight up with arms overhead.
  10. Land gently with your knees slightly bent so you're ready to go into the next rep.
  11. Repeat for a total of 8 reps, rest, then do your second set.

"It's helpful to practice your burpee slowly before you take them on full-speed," Hammond says. "When you do the slow burpee, pay attention to your form and make corrections and adjust where you need to."

You can take the jumps out, stepping into and out of a plank and doing a squat and reach at the end of each rep. You can also take out the push-up or opt for a modified push-up on your knees or an incline.

Day 7: Burpee

JW Player placeholder image
Reps 5
Region Full Body
  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms by your sides.
  2. Bend your knees to lower into a squat.
  3. Place your hands on the floor shoulder-width apart.
  4. Jump or step your feet back into a high plank.
  5. 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. Press back up to a plank.
  6. Jump or step your feet back to your hands.
  7. Press through your heels to jump straight up with arms overhead.
  8. Land gently with your knees slightly bent so you're ready to go into the next rep.
  9. Repeat for a total of 5 reps (or 10 if you're feeling up for it).

As with the slow burpee, you can take the jumps out, stepping into and out of a plank and doing a squat and reach at the end of each rep. You can also take out the push-up or opt for a modified push-up on your knees or an incline.

How to Join the 7-Day Burpee Challenge

1. Print and/or Save Your 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 what to do next.

Advertisement

Our community of more than 54,000 members is here to support and motivate you through this challenge. Tell the group how the day's exercises went, post photos or videos or share your favorite meme or motivational quote.

3. Celebrate Your Success

Making it to the end of the 7-Day Burpee Challenge is an accomplishment worth celebrating! We think it deserves some not-so-humble bragging in our Challenge Facebook Group.

Want Even More Burpees?

Join our 30-Day Burpee Challenge to build full-body strength.

You can do any of our challenges on your own whenever you want, or you can visit our Challenges page to see what we have planned for the full year.

Advertisement