Burpees, love them or hate them.
And while they may seem like a complex movement, almost anyone can do them.
That’s because, though burpees may seem both athletically challenging and physically draining, there are so many different ways to do them that they are accessible at all levels of fitness.
Benefits of Basic Burpees
There’s no other way to put it: the burpee is the total-package.
For starters, you get cardio. Burpees increase your cardiovascular capacity, burn fat, and build lean muscle mass.
You also get strength in both your upper body and lower body, and everything else in between.
So now, let’s talk about the traditional burpee, a.k.a, the “base variation” form.
Basic Burpees: Form and Motion
- Stand upright with your feet hips-width apart.
- The first movement, both hands to the floor in a forward-fold position bending your knees in a squat-like form. From there, hop both feet back into the plank position.
- From the plank, perform a push-up, returning to the plank position.
- Then, hop your feet up under your hands back to a squat position and stand upright, throwing your hands above your head and jumping.
That’s a burpee. If you think it sounds easy, you’re in for a surprise!
Some burpee purists will note that to be a true burpee, the chest must hit the floor. They also might claim you must stand completely upright (no slouching, sagging head, etc…) and that your hands must go above the head in your jump.
But let’s also note that the original burpee created by Royal Burpee did not include a push-up or a jump.
So if you do a push-up and a jump, you’re already ahead of the game.
Now that you understand the basic burpee, let’s explore the variations.
Elevated burpees are a great way to modify the full burpee. If you’re just not up to doing full burpees yet, then the Elevated Burpees are for you. They are a bit easier and more accessible, meaning you can do more reps.
You can do any version of burpees on an elevated surface like a bench, step, or even your couch. Rather than going all the way to the floor, use the elevated surface to do the pushup part of the exercise.
The Elevated Burpee is a great way to work your way up to the full burpee. It still gives you the effect of a burpee, while helping build essential strength and stamina needed for the full burpee.
The half burpee is another great way to ease yourself into burpees.
You can choose to omit really any piece of the full burpee. But traditionally, the half burpee looks like a plank to a standing position then back to the plank, eliminating the push-up and standing jump portion.
Broad Jump Burpees
The burpee broad jump gives you an additional challenge with respect to agility.
In place of the standing jump, you jump forward for distance. You can do these across a room or in place by turning around immediately after your broad jump.
Box Jump Burpees
Once you’ve mastered the broad jump burpee, welcome to the next level.
The box jump burpee consists of replacing the jump in the burpee with a box jump.
You can experiment here with box height and box jump types galore. This one will really get your blood pumping.
Tip: make sure to step far enough away from the box as you come down to give space to do the chest to floor. If you have to add an additional step back, go for it.
The Final Word
We want to end this with our three essential rules for burpees
- Don’t be afraid to modify it to make it accessible and fun.
- Don’t be afraid to add variety to keep it fresh.
- Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself!
Who cares if you cannot do a full push up yet? Try it elevated. Or, on your knees.
Like all things in exercise, it’s your commitment to it that matters.