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. They can be done anywhere and, when performed with proper technique, you can build burpee muscles from head to toe.
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
- Stand with feet shoulder-width apart.
- Initiate the movement by pushing your hips back and down while maintaining a flat back.
- When your hands hit the ground underneath your shoulders, jump or step both feet back and land in a high plank with your body in a straight line from head to hips to heels.
- Perform a push-up, bending your elbows at a 45-degree angle to your body and lowering to the floor, maintaining your body alignment.
- Press back up to a high plank.
- Jump or step your feet back underneath your hips and stand up and immediately transition into a jump.
- Land softly with your hips back and knees slightly bent and in line with your feet and hips, ready to go into the next rep.
Essentially, the burpee is a combination of three exercises: a squat, push-up and jump. Before you attempt any variations, you must master the standard version, remembering to engage your abs throughout the entire movement to protect your lower back.
2. Push-Up Jack Burpee
- Begin as you would with a standard burpee.
- As you descend into the push-up, spread your feet like you're performing a jumping jack, making sure to keep your hips from sagging.
- Press yourself back up to a plank as you jump your feet back together.
- Finish the exercise as you would a standard burpee by bringing your feet back underneath your shoulders and then jumping.
- Land softly with your knees slightly bent 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 right foot 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
- Start by performing a regular burpee, all the way through the push-up.
- When you get back to the high plank, lift one hand off the ground and row the arm up to your chest/shoulder, making sure your shoulder blade moves toward your spine and engaging your core to keep your hips from sagging or rotating.
- Place the hand back down on the ground and finish the exercise as you would a standard burpee.
- With each rep, switch arms for the row.
To make this move even more advanced, you can perform this variation with a dumbbell in each hand. Instead of the jump at the end, though, perform an overhead press with the weights.
5. Pike Push-Up Burpee
- Start with a regular burpee.
- When you get back to the top of the push-up, slide your feet toward your hands and pike your hips up, focusing on keeping your back straight.
- Imagine a string pulling your hips toward the ceiling and actively push the floor away. Keep your eyes looking between your feet and your chin tucked as you pike.
- Slide your feet back to a high plank.
- Finish the exercise as you would a standard burpee.
You may want to perform this exercise with sliders under your feet to make the pike easier. Alternatively, you can do it with two pieces of paper or wearing socks.
6. Single-Leg Push-Up Burpee
- Start with a regular burpee, but when you first jump back into a push-up, lift one foot about 6 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 you 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, drawing your knees up toward your chest one at a time.
- Alternate the legs twice per side (right, left, right, left).
- Keep your hips flat and prevent them from sagging or rotating by keeping your core engaged.
- Return your feet to a high plank before completing the burpee.
8. Side-Plank Burpee
- Go through the first steps all the way through performing a proper, classic push-up.
- When you get back to the high plank, 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 high plank.
- Complete the burpee and alternate sides for your plank with each subsequent 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.
- Bring your feet back under your 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 slightly bent before you go into the next rep.
11. Rotational-Jump Burpee
- Again, you’ll complete a burpee up through the push-up.
- Bring your feet back under your 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 slightly bent before you go into the next rep, where you’ll rotate the opposite direction.
- Continue to alternate directions with each rep.
12. Broad-Jump Burpee
- Perform a standard burpee.
- When you jump, propel yourself forward, covering as much distance as possible.
- Land softly with your hips back and knees a little more bent than usual (almost a half squat) 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. But this time, you’ll jump back into a high plank on only one leg.
- Complete your single-leg push-up, then jump back and then into the air on one leg.
Make sure to keep your hips back and knees 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 plyo box, step or other sturdy elevated surface about a foot in front of you.
- When you get to the last part of the burpee, jump onto the box, landing softly with your hips back and your knees slightly bent.
- Step off the box one foot at a time and repeat.
Make sure that you can complete a standard box jump with the box you're 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're not sacrificing technique for extra resistance and that you're still able to be explosive throughout the entire movement, especially the jump.
16. Medicine-Ball Burpee
Perform a regular burpee while holding a medicine 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: Instead of jumping, explosively “fake toss” the ball toward the sky (i.e., don't 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.