Exercise Spotlight: The Burpee

4 min read
Tuesday, 13 September 2016

If you’ve been watching our Fitness Friday broadcasts, you know that the burpee is one of our go-to exercises to propel our heart rates into the YELLOW and RED zones!

While we have a love-hate relationship with this incredibly dynamic total-body exercise (burpees are NOT easy!!), it’s quickly become one of our favorites to incorporate into our workouts. In this post, we’ll cover reasons why we can’t get enough burpees, how to perform the perfect burpee, how to modify and progress a burpee, and some fun burpee variations to try.

Let’s jump right in (yes, pun intended)!


Why We Love Burpees:

  • You can do them almost anywhere.
  • They involve many major muscle groups (more bang for your buck).
  • They quickly elevate our heart rate.
  • They increase caloric expenditure.
  • They are easily adaptable to various fitness levels.
  • They may improve cardiovascular endurance, muscular endurance, muscular power, and muscular strength!


How to Perform a Burpee:

  • From a standing position, squat down so your hands are flat on the ground.
  • From a squat position, hop your feet behind you to a full plank (or pushup) position.
  • Hop your feet forward toward your hands.
  • We prefer to hop our feet wide – outside of our hands – to ensure that our back stays flat.
  • Return to a standing position.


How to Modify a Burpee:

  • Step instead of hop.

Instead of connecting positions through hops, try stepping your feet out to the full plank position and back in next to your hands. This will allow you to slow the movement down if the stress of hopping is excessive.

  • Elevate the position of your hands.

Instead of lowering your hands all the way to the ground, try placing them on a bench or step instead. This will decrease the distance from the up to down position, thus decreasing the strain on the body. We have been able to successfully teach burpees to our 90+-year-old group fitness attendees with this modification. If a bench or step is still too low, you can even practice burpees with your hands on a wall.


How to Progress a traditional Burpee:

  • Add a hop/jump from the standing position between reps.
  • Add a pushup from the full plank position.
  • Increase your speed!
  • Try a variation (see the list below).


Burpee Variations:

Let’s add some spice to the traditional burpee with these variations! Check out a demo of the following exercises here.

  • BOSU Burpee

Hold a BOSU during your burpee. Perform a pushup from the full plank position on the flat side of the BOSU and add an overhead press of the BOSU from the standing position.

  • Rower Burpee

Hold dumbbells or a barbell during your burpee. From the standing position between burpees, hinge forward and perform a bent-over row.

  • Burpee with Broad Jump

Make sure you have plenty of space for these burpees – add a powerful broad jump in between each burpee.

  • Burpee with T-stand

Add some rotation – from the full plank position, rotate to your right and raise your right hand toward the sky. Repeat on the left side before hopping your feet forward.

  • Burpee with Lunge

Between burpees, add a forward or reverse lunge - one on the right and one on the left.

  • Lateral Hops Burpee

When pressing yourself up to the standing position, hop to the left. Perform another burpee, then hop to the right.

  • Hopscotch Burpee

From the full plank position, hop your feet out wide (farther away from one another – wider than hip width). Then, hop your feet closer together (back to hip width apart).

  • Slammin’ Burpee

Hold a medicine ball or slam ball throughout the burpee. In standing position, slam the ball to the ground. Catch it and perform your next burpee.

  • Around the World Burpee

Change the direction of the hop between burpees. Try a 90-degree turn between each burpee so you face forward, left, back, and right during a set of four burpees. Make sure you have plenty of space to perform this one!

We want to see how you’re incorporating burpees into your workouts. Be sure to post photos or videos of your workouts to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter using the hashtags #myzonemoves and #effortrewarded so we can see how you’re doing!

For more exercises and tips on using MYZONE workout tracker in your training, check out our #FitnessFriday Facebook Live broadcasts on the MYZONE Facebook page every Friday at 8 am PST, 11 am EST.

Keep Moving Forward!

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