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January 07, 2022 8 min read

Burpees are an explosive, fat-blasting, muscle-toning full-body exercise. It is a killer bodyweight exercise that works all your muscles from your shoulders to the ankles.

An all-in-one strength training and cardio exercise, the burpee is easily adapted to all fitness levels and is a great exercise to increase total body strength and conditioning.

The Benefits of Performing Burpees

The burpee is one exercise that is powerful, challenging, rewarding, and would leave you breathless. Burpees work the major muscle groups that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also extremely functional. It activates and strengthens muscles in the arms, shoulders, back, core, glute, and legs, and it a fantastic exercise to build an excellent HIIT workout around.

As a high-intensity workout, burpees are a great way to get your  heart pumping and increase your resting metabolism.

This is not only a method of keeping your heart healthy, but also an easy way to get rid of body fat by burning extra calories.

Burpees also give your core muscles a incredible workout.

This means it provides  beneficial functional effects in your daily tasks, sporting activities, and in the gym by increasing stability, providing a healthy back, and enhancing your posture. Essentially, burpees are a great muscle strengthening and endurance exercise that provides you with better joint mobility, balance, and muscle coordination. They are extremely convenient body exercises that can be done anywhere because they do not require any equipment.

Burpees tick all the boxes regarding improving your health, and it's because of all these reasons that some say that burpees are the perfect all-around exercise.

Burpees are easy to learn, and provide enormous total-body benefits.

10 Burpee Variations You Should Try

One of the most difficult bodyweight exercises there is, it gets more difficult with each variation. Burpees are versatile and can be made into any variation to suit your fitness needs. Although most of its variations are simple movements, they require some level of muscle strength and balance.

1. Standard Burpee


Think of the standard or basic burpee as a fluid movement that takes your body from squat to push-up to big jump. Although it sounds like a lot, the Standard burpee is one of the simplest burpee variations that acts as a foundation to other burpee variations. To learn how to do more challenging burpee variations with perfect form, you first need to master  the form of the standard burpee.

The standard burpee leaves no muscle untouched. It activates and engages muscle groups in the lower and upper body, like the quads, glutes, hams, shoulders, chest, triceps, quads, and core muscles. It increases total power output, muscle endurance, stability, and body strength.

To do this variation:

  • Stand proud with your spine erect, chest forward, and feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Begin by hinging your hips back and pushing downward, keeping your spine neutral.
  • Drop your palms to the floor with your arms straight and your wrist underneath your shoulder. 
  • Push out both feet till they are straight behind you and you end up in a high plank position. Ensure that your body is in a straight line.
  • Engage your abs by pulling your abdomen in. From this position, lower yourself into a push-up with your elbows. Keep your form perfect.
  • Push back into a high plank position.
  • Kick your feet back under you and between your palm and immediately move into a big stationary jump.
  • Repeat.

    2. Half Burpees

      The half burpee might provide a shorter range of motion but it is an equal tasking option. The trick to engaging all the primary and secondary muscle groups is coordination, muscle balance, and strict adherence to proper form and technique.

      Half burpees work the upper and lower body muscle groups from the arms, back, chest, and the entire posterior chain. It is a muscle-strengthening exercise that doubles as a cardiovascular workout. 

      To do the half burpee:

      • Position yourself in a low squat. Your legs should be shoulder-width apart, elbows flexed slightly in front of you, and your toes angled forward.
      • Keeping your spine neutral and arms at your side, place your hands on the floor in front of you.
      • Engage your core. Kick your legs straight behind you and lower your body into a push-up position.
      • Push through your arms and kick your feet up underneath your feet.
      • Bring your legs back and return to starting position. 

        3. Superman Burpee

          The Superman burpee provides a super hero’s super strong core. Although it works the same muscles as the conventional burpee, this variation also strengthens the erector spinae muscles, glutes, and hamstrings. Besides your muscles being sculpted, the Superman burpee improves your posture, muscle endurance, mobility, and explosive power.

          To do the Superman burpee:

          • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, chest forward, and shoulders over the hip.
          • Assume the conventional burpee stance by dropping your palms to the floor, keeping your spine straight.
          • Lower yourself into a push-up position, keeping your body aligned. Lay prone on your chest, spreading your arms straight in front of you.
          • Keep your neck neutral and lift your legs above the ground until you feel a slight rounding and contracting on your lower back.
          • Engage your core by contracting your abs. Pull your shoulder blades together and squeeze your glutes. 
          • Hold this position for 2 seconds. 
          • Lower your limbs and explode upright by pushing through your heels straight to a jump. 

            4. Star Jump Burpee

              The star jump burpee is a variation fit for individuals with intermediate fitness levels. This variation primarily activates the quad while also chipping in on your abs, hip abductors, back muscles, chest, delts, forearms, shoulders, glutes, and triceps sure, among others. Like other burpee variations, the star jump is high impact and a major player in increasing leg power. The star jump burpee can be mastered by simply starting slow and adjusting your jumping height.

              To do the star jump burpee:

              • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, shoulders drawn back, and arms at your sides.
              • Hinge backward on your hip, bending at your knees until your palms are on the floor.
              • Simultaneously kick out your feet back and lower yourself into a push-up position. 
              • Kick your legs underneath your hip and push to a standing position. All at once, jump quickly and bring your hands above your head, and spread your legs laterally as far as you can.
              • Land softly and repeat.

                5. Burpee Leapfrog

                  For this version, make sure you have as much room as possible. The burpee leapfrog is the combination of the traditional burpee and a leapfrog jump. It requires more jump power and so targets the calf, shoulders, and chest more.

                  To do this variation: 

                  • Assume the stance of the conventional burpee. 
                  • Lean down, place your hands on the floor, and kick your feet out backward.
                  • Retract your feet and push your body weight into your heel. Immediately leap forward as far as you can. Land softly on your feet and repeat.

                    6. Mountain Climber Burpee

                      This burpee variation combines a burpee with core-crunching mountain climbing. It is both calisthenics and photometric exercise that works the muscles in the chest, back, shoulders, triceps, forearms, hip flexors, hams, quads, and, of course, core. This variation is a great muscle endurance exercise.

                      To do the mountain climber burpee:

                      • Stand erect with your feet shoulder-width apart. 
                      • Lower yourself into the usual squat position with your palm on the floor.
                      • Push your legs straight out behind you into a high plank.
                      • Engage your core. Do a push-up and return to a high plank position.
                      • In this position, perform 4 mountain climbers, alternating 2 on each side while keeping your spine straight.
                      • Return to a high plank. Push up to your feet and straight into a jump.
                      • Land softly on the balls of your feet and repeat.

                        7. Burpee To Tuck Jump


                          Tuck jumps are a famous plyo exercise favored by powerlifters and weightlifters for their ability to help develop increased muscle power output. This makes the burpee tuck jump the ultimate workout to put your muscle in overdrive and improve overall athletic performance.

                          The burpee tuck jump or tuck jump burpee variation is also a taxing exercise that torches calories and burns unhealthy body fat. Paired with  SHREDDED-AF, you are well on your way to having a great lean muscle to fat ratio.

                          To do the burpee tuck jump:

                          • Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart and arms by your side.
                          • Keeping your back straight, hinge your hips, and bend your knees. Reach your palms to the floor.
                          • As you touch the floor, kick your legs straight out behind you. Bring yourself into a low pushup position.
                          • Push your body back up, jerking your feet back underneath your hip.
                          • As you move to a standing position, jump and bring your knees towards your chest as far up as you can go.
                          • Land with your knees flex, reach down to the floor, and repeat.

                            8. Burpee Box Jump


                              The burpee box jump puts a nice twist on the conventional burpee. This variation involves jumping on an elevated surface. It is a plyometric exercise that strengthens the quads, hams, glute, and calf muscles, providing a stronger posterior chain for explosive strength. The Burpee box jump builds overall muscle strength, speed, and sprinkler jumps. It is a scalable exercise that provides additional cardio benefits.

                              To do the burpee box jump:

                              • Choose a sturdy elevated surface like a box or a step. Make sure it's of comfortable height, as a lot can go wrong if you aim to go too high.
                              • Perform the usual burpee; go down into a squat and lower yourself into a high plank position.
                              • Lower your entire body to the floor while still supporting yourself with a flexed elbow.
                              • Push your body back up with your elbow and hope your legs beneath you until you are in a standing position.
                              • Jump on the box and lower yourself into a squat. 
                              • Step off the box and repeat.

                              The burpee box jump requires muscle power and might be tasking to perform.

                                9. One-legged Burpee

                                  The one-legged burpee, also popularly known as the single-leg burpee, is the ultimate burpee test of muscle balance, endurance, stamina, and mobility. Because it is a unilateral exercise, this variation helps to correct muscle imbalances on your left and right side.

                                  The one-legged burpee workout fires up the chest muscles while also activating similar muscles as the traditional burpee. It is not beginner-friendly, so unless you wish to risk your face connecting with the floor in a jarring fall, skip this version altogether and focus on practicing simpler burpees first.

                                  To do the one-legged burpee:

                                  • Start with both feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your left knee at a 90-degree angle or lesser, shifting your weight to your right leg.
                                  • Bend your knee and lower yourself as you would in a regular burpee. Kick your right foot out behind you.
                                  • Now in a high plank, do a push-up while still keeping your left foot off the floor.
                                  • Push with your arms and hope your right foot is underneath your body. 
                                  • Jump and land gently on your right foot. 
                                  • Repeat for as many reps as you can and alternate to your left leg.

                                    10. Weighted Burpee


                                      The weighted burpee is an advanced variation that makes most gym-goers cower in fear. Left for the athletes who dare to take up the challenge, this variation applies more resistance to the already difficult standard burpee. This resistance, however, triggers all the major and some of the minor muscle groups, helping you to bulk up to achieve a more shredded look.

                                      To do the weighted burpee:

                                      • Hold one dumbbell in each hand with a pronated grip, keeping your arms on your side.
                                      • Progress into the standard burpee movements; down to a squat, legs kicked back into a high plank, and body lowered into a push-up.
                                      • Keep your body aligned, spine straight, and core engaged.
                                      • Bring your legs underneath you and drive yourself up by pushing through your heels.
                                      • Keeping your arms at your side, push yourself into a jump.
                                      • Land softly and repeat.

                                      The weighted burpee can be done using kettlebells, dumbbells, weighted vests, medicine balls, or weighted plates. Regardless of the choice of resistance, it is important to not go over your limit as this can cause you to get snapped up.

                                      The Best Burpee For Your Routine

                                      The burpee is one of the  best HIIT exercises that can take your workout routine from zero to hero. All burpee variations help you win on all fronts. Incorporating any burpee variation into your bro-split is introducing your body to a one-size-fits-all exercise that brings cardio workout, endurance, and muscle hypertrophy to the table. 

                                      The best burpee variation for you depends on your fitness goals and physical condition. To help you on your fitness journey, pair the burpee variations with the  Fierce 5 Workout Program for the ultimate 'get shredded' training program.