Most people have a love-hate relationship with burpees. When you first start doing burpee workouts, you will hate them, and maybe even yourself. Thankfully, as time goes on, your hate for burpees...will never waver…
No, but in all seriousness, you will start to love them for the benefits they provide and the results you can see and feel. No matter what though, if you are a normal human, you will hate them every time, but love yourself for pushing through.
When standard burpees get to easy for you, there are tons of variations to increase difficulty.
Conversely, if standard burpees are too difficult, there are regression burpees to make things easier until you can work up to the more difficult burpees.
In this post, we are going to discuss all of the above.
As much as we hate burpees, we love them equally as much. They offer a way to be creative, as there are so many ways you can do burpees to make it more fun so things never get stale, and they are brutally effective. It’s a lose-win situation with burpees because they will kick your ass, just to make you stronger. It’s like a hard-ass father who is tough on you growing up and you “hate him” but later in life, you realize just how important his tough love and chores were, as you are a better human for it.
Let’s start by discussing the Benefits of Burpees
There is a reason why military forces, NFL players and extreme athletes all do a lot of burpees, regularly…they are super beneficial.
Burpees aren’t just for the elite, they turn you into the elite.
If you want to take your fitness to the next level and get into the best shape of your life, get your burpee game on.
1. Burpees burn calories like crazy.
Burpees turn your body into a fat burning machine. This intense full body exercise burns up to 50% more fat than performing regular moderate-intensity workouts. Keep in mind, most “bodybuilding” gym workouts and cardio are low-intensity. So that fat burning increase is even higher for most.
The best part is…not only do burpees burn fat during the workout, but they also speed up your metabolism throughout the day, allowing you to burn calories all day long. You might hate life when you are doing the burpee workout, but you will love the fact that you are burning fat after the fact for the rest of the day.
2. Burpees make you stronger and more explosive.
Burpees are a full body exercise. With every rep you will be working your legs, core, arms, and chest. The nature of the movement also leads to improved explosiveness, which is the true nature of athletics and functional fitness. Moreover, being strong and explosive is ideal and beneficial for all aspects of life.
3. Burpees are incredible for developing endurance and conditioning.
After just a few burpees, your heart rate will skyrocket. Endurance and stamina are key in sports, which is why burpees are a top priority in athletic training. They are truly the best for developing incredible conditioning. If you can take on countless burpees, you can take on anything.
4. Burpees make you look great.
With all of the above benefits, the byproduct is a good looking body. Burpees will get you shredded, and shredded looks good. And who doesn’t want to look good?
5. You can do Burpees anywhere and they can be added to any workout!
This is a workout that can be done anywhere and can fit into any existing program.
Do burpees outside, at home, at the gym, while traveling. They are the toughest portable exercise you can do. All you need is your body.
Moreover, burpees make for a great addition to any workout. Do sets of burpees as a burnout after a workout. Do them in-between sets to keep your heart rate up.
6. There are so many burpee variations that you can do.
There are so many ways to change up your burpees so that you can increase or decrease difficulty, target different muscles more, or simply do something fresh. This means burpees don’t ever have to be boring.
Tips when performing a standard burpee:
How to do burpees:
1. Squat down and place your hands down with your shoulders directly over your hands on the floor in front of you and just outside of your feet.
2. Jump (or step) both feet back so that you are in a plank position on your hands (keep your back straight).
3. Do a push-up (go as low as you can - chest to floor). To make it easier, if you can’t perform a push up, you can also drop to your knees then do a push up from the knee position.
4. Push up back to plank position. Ideally you want to do a strict push up, but if you can’t, simply push yourself up as you would if you weren’t working out.
5. Jump (or step) your feet forward towards your hands.
6. Explosively jump into the air while reaching your arms straight overhead. Try to get as much air as you can.
How to do burpees for beginners?
A half burpee is essentially the same movements above, without the push up. So it’s the same instructions as above but without step number 3 and 4.
Option 2: To make it even easier, you can forgo the explosive jump. So essentially you are just squatting down and jumping back into a plank position then back, squat up, and repeat. A push up can be added in or not.
Also, remember, the slower you move through a burpee, the easier it will be. The more explosive you move through it, the harder it will be and the more calories you will burn.
Tips for a better burpee
Before you move on to more advanced burpees and burpee variations. Make sure your burpee form is on point.
Here are some tips that make a good burpee:
How do I make burpees harder?
Just like making burpees easier (which is a type of variation), you can make burpees suck a lot more (i.e. much harder). There are tons of variations you can do. This is a good video showing many different burpees variations. Many of them are advanced burpees, so be careful trying these. If you don’t have the capacity, you shouldn’t attempt them.
Burpee Pull Ups. Why? Because when you add the pull up into the burpee, you are targeting every single muscle group. In our opinion, this is the ultimate burpee.
Second and third favorite advanced burpee variation goes to Burpee Box Jumps and Burpee Lateral Jumps.
With burpee box jumps, you are forcing yourself to be more explosive and jump higher as you need to get your feet on top of the plyobox. Plyo Box Jumps are already hard enough. These are killer and you need to be in great condition to pull these off.
Burpee Lateral Jumps require a box or some kind of object (like a bench) to jump over laterally. These are just as killer as burpee box jumps and they add an extra athletic dynamic to an already tryingly athletic movement.
If you want to take the difficulty level up even further, you can add weights to them. Dumbbells and weighted vests are the most common.
That being said, we want to talk about another tool that makes for a challenging burpee and is really fun...
This tool is the Steel Mace. A steel mace is an ancient weapon turned powerful fitness tool. The weight of the mace is offset, with most of the weight being in the ball of the mace. The mace is generally used for swinging and targeting the core and transverse plane of motion. However, it has tons of applications. When using a steel mace for burpees, you will be challenging your core stability like crazy and your heart rate will go through the roof. As challenging as it is, it’s super fun and it feels badass. It’s got a warrior and military nature to it.
Traditional Style: 5 sets of 20 burpees
Descending Ladder: Set of 10, rest, Set of 9, rest, Set of 8, rest, and so on until you are down to a Set of 1. Rest should be minimal.
100 Burpee Challenge: This one is simple. Do 100 burpees in as little time as possible. Note: depending on the type of burpee, you can adjust the amount accordingly. Also, adjust the amount according to your fitness level.
Timed Drill: Do as many burpees as you can within a set period of time, i.e. 2-5 mins.
Can I do burpees every day?
Yes, burpees are a type of exercise that can be done every day if you are in the right condition. That being said, you need to consider recovery. You don’t want to overwork your body. So listen to what your body is telling you, but don’t make excuses! Every other day is probably best for those who are not in good condition.
How to do burpees when overweight?
Revert to the burpees for beginner section. You can do half burpees if you are overweight. Also, remember, moving slowly through your burpees is better than not doing them at all.
Are Burpee-only workouts beneficial?
You can get in great shape from only doing burpees (especially using burpee variation) as it is a full body exercise…however, it’s best to have a well-rounded training program and workout in all three planes of motion, targeting each muscle group evenly.
What muscles do burpees work?
Burpees are a full body exercise. They primarily work your legs (quads, glutes and calves), core, and arms.
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