Trendy exercises come and go. But some moves have been around (and will stay around) because they've proven themselves effective and have a ton of variations to keep things interesting.
Among these exercises is the burpee — and for good reason! It's a full-body exercise that requires strength, mobility, coordination and cardiovascular endurance. When performed with proper technique, burpees can be done anywhere, and the many variations will leave you with the good kind of soreness.
But while burpees have numerous benefits, they can just as quickly cause issues if they're done incorrectly. So start with the basics first before attempting any variations.
1. Standard Burpee
- Begin the movement by pushing your hips back and down while maintaining a flat back.
- When your hands hit the ground underneath your shoulders, kick both feet back and land in a proper push-up position with your shoulders, hips and ankles in a straight line.
- Perform a push-up, keeping your elbows at a 45-degree angle to your body and maintaining your body alignment.
- Jump your feet back underneath your hips and stand up with a flat back as you transition into a jump.
- Land softly with your hips back and knees in line with your feet and hips.
At its core, the burpee is a combination of three exercises: a squat, push-up and jump. Before you jump into variations, you must master the standard version, remembering to engage your abs throughout the entire movement.
2. Push-Up Jack Burpee
- Begin as you would with a standard burpee.
- As you descend into the push-up, spread your legs like you are performing a jumping jack, making sure to keep your hips from sagging.
- Press yourself back up as you bring your legs back to center.
- Finish the exercise as you would a standard burpee by bringing your feet back underneath your shoulders and jumping explosively upward.
- Land soft with your hips back before you go into the next rep.
3. Spiderman Burpee
- Start by performing a regular burpee, but as you descend into the push-up bring your right knee toward your right elbow without letting your hips sag or rotate.
- Press yourself back up as you bring your leg back to the starting position.
- Finish the exercise as you would a standard burpee.
- Alternate legs with each rep, making sure to hit both legs the same number of times.
4. Renegade Row Burpee
- Begin standing, then press your hips down and back as you drop your hands straight beneath your shoulders.
- Kick your feet back into the push-up position with your feet a little wider than hip-width apart.
- Perform a proper, classic push-up.
- When you get back to the top position, lift one hand off the ground and row the arm back, making sure your shoulder blade moves toward your spine and your elbow does not go higher than your back.
- Make sure to keep the hips from sagging or rotating as you row by keeping the core engaged.
- Finish the exercise as you would a standard burpee, switching arms on each row.
Optional: You can perform this variation with or without a dumbbell in each hand.
5. Pike Push-Up Burpee
- Start with a regular burpee.
- When you get back to the top of the push-up, pike your hips up and back toward the ceiling, focusing on keeping your back straight. Imagine pushing the floor away as you allow your shoulder blades to come up toward your ears. Keep your eyes looking in between your feet and your chin tucked as you pike.
- Return to the starting position of the push-up.
- Finish the exercise as you would a standard burpee.
6. Single-Leg Push-Up Burpee
- When you first jump back into a push-up, lift one foot about six inches off the ground, keeping your core engaged to prevent your hips from sagging or rotating and the lower back from arching.
- Descend into the push-up without allowing your alignment to change or your weight to shift.
- Return to the top of the push-up and put your foot back down before your complete the burpee.
- Alternate legs with each rep.
7. Mountain-Climber Burpee
- Go through the standard burpee first steps.
- When you get to the top position of the push-up, perform a mountain climber, alternating the legs twice per side.
- Keep the hips flat and keep them from sagging or rotating by keeping the core engaged.
- Return to the start position of the push-up before completing the burpee.
8. Side-Plank Burpee
- Go through the standard first steps all the way through performing a proper, classic push-up.
- When you get back to the top position, lift one hand and rotate your hips and shoulder into a side plank, raising your top hand to the ceiling so that your body is in a T shape. Make sure to keep your core engaged to prevent the hips from sagging.
- Rotate back to the push-up position before rotating to the other side.
- Complete a standard burpee, alternating sides for your plank with each rep.
9. Power Push-Up Burpee
- This variation is almost identical to a standard burpee, but instead of coming back to a squat after the push-up, you'll push yourself up from the floor as explosively as possible, leaving the ground as you simultaneously bring your feet back under your hips.
This is a very advanced variation and requires an adequate amount of strength and power to complete. It may not be right for you — yet — but if you want to give it a try, consider elevating your hands to start.
10. Tuck-Jump Burpee
- Complete a burpee all the way through the push-up.
- Then bring your feet back under the hips and jump up as explosively as possible as you tuck your knees in toward your chest.
- Make sure to land softly with your hips back and knees out before you go into the next rep.
11. Rotational-Jump Burpee
- Again, you'll complete a burpee up through the push-up.
- Bring the feet back under the hips and jump up as you rotate your body 180 degrees in one direction so you land facing the opposite way.
- Land softly with your hips back and knees out before you go into the next rep, where you'll rotate the opposite direction from the previous rep 180 degrees.
- Continue to alternate directions with each rep.
12. Broad-Jump Burpee
- Perform a standard burpee.
- When you jump, go forward, covering as much distance as possible.
- Land softly with your hips back and knees a little more bent than usual before you go into the next rep.
For this jump variation, you’ll want to make sure you have plenty of space. If you don’t have a long runway, you can turn to face the other direction with each rep.
13. Single-Leg Jump Burpee
- Perform the burpee as you did with the single-leg push-up burpee from the previous slide. But this time you'll jump back into the push-up position with only one leg in addition to performing a one-legged burpee.
Make sure to keep the hips back and the knee soft during the landing. Focus on not allowing the knee of the working leg to cave in toward the big toe at any point during the movement.
14. Box-Jump Burpee
- Perform the burpee as you normally would with a plyometric box about a foot in front of you.
- When you get to the jumping portion of the burpee, explosively jump onto the box, landing softly with your hips back and your knees out.
- Step off the box and repeat.
Make sure that you can complete a standard box jump with the box you are using before performing a box-jump burpee. To increase the intensity of the exercise, you can jump back off the box as long as you make sure you land softly and with good technique.
15. Weighted Burpee
- For the weighted burpee, you're applying more resistance to the standard burpee, which increases the challenge. The best way to do so is with a weight vest. Don't overload the movement with a large amount of weight. For most individuals, 10 to 20 pounds of extra resistance will be sufficient.
The safety of your joints is paramount here. Make sure that you are not sacrificing technique for extra resistance and that you are still able to be explosive throughout the entire movement, especially the jump portion.
16. Medicine-Ball Burpee
Using a medicine ball, perform a regular burpee holding the ball. Perform the push-up of the exercise with your hands on the ball. This will increase the demand on the core as well as the shoulders. During the jump, you will have two options.
- Option 1: Jump as you would with a regular burpee, bringing the ball overhead.
- Option 2: Do not jump but instead explosively "fake toss" the ball towards the sky (i.e., do not let go of the ball).
Both options provide an additional challenge to the core as you work to prevent your lower back from arching as the ball goes overhead. If you really want to take it up a notch, try performing a slam between each rep.