HEALTH & FITNESS
13 Burpee Variations That’ll Kick Your Ass
There’s a reason people have a love-hate relationship with burpees. They’re killer.
It’s an incredibly powerful, full-body move Opens a New Window. (when done correctly). And when combined with other challenging moves, burpee variations can take your fitness to the next level, blasting calories Opens a New Window. and strengthening multiple muscle groups and energy systems Opens a New Window. at once.
To get the most out of each rep, you should first master the basic burpee.
How to Perform a Perfect Burpee
Stand with feet at shoulder-width. Keep your back straight as you squat down and place your hands on the floor. Brace your weight and jump back into a pushup position. Keep your core tight as you hold the pushup, drop your belly to the floor, or perform an actual pushup, then jump your feet to your hands and stand back up. Immediately jump up as high as you can with your hands overhead and hips extended.
From there, it’s time to step up your game and try some of the most grueling, but effective burpee variations. Brace yourself. Use this rep, rest, set scheme:
Beginners: 3×10 reps with 1 minute rest between sets
Advanced : 5×20 reps with 30 second rest between sets
1. Burpee Box Jump Over
After doing a standard burpee on the ground, jump on a box, so both feet are planted on top. Step down off the other side.
“This additional height added to the jump slows the cycle time down on the burpee a bit, which changes the stimulus slightly,” explains Todd Nief, C.S.C.S., owner of South Loop Strength & Conditioning Opens a New Window. in Chicago.
While you can’t do reps quite as fast, this makes the burpee much more of a “grind” to get through, and it’ll really power your muscles.
“Move fast on these and you’ll be rolling on the ground after your workout,” he says.
2. Burpee Pullup
Underneath a pullup bar, do a burpee then, you guessed it, jump up and do a pullup.
“While the burpee mostly works the upper body’s pushing muscles, adding a pullup at the end also hits the upper body’s pulling musculature,” Nief says.
This way you’re working both aspects Opens a New Window. within one single burpee variation for a more effective, extensive workout. And while you can’t cycle through them very quickly (or for too many reps), they can result in quite a bit of metabolic fatigue.
The Badass History of the Burpee and the Legendary Man Who Created It Opens a New Window.
3. Burpee Muscleup
Do a burpee, then jump up and do a muscleup Opens a New Window. , where you transition from a pullup to a dip.
Not familiar with muscleups? Hang from a pullup bar with a false grip so your thumbs are on top of the bar (not around). Pull your chin to the bar, then ‘roll’ your chest over the bar to transition from a pullup to a dip. Press your hands down and drive your body up to perform the dip.
“This changes the dynamic of doing muscleups quite a bit,”Nief says. “The metabolic fatigue from the burpees as well as the wear and tear on your shoulders makes getting through the muscleups quite challenging.”
4. Kettlebell Upright Row Burpee
Kettlebells can torch calories and build strength, so integrating them into a burpee will really fire up your muscles.
“Stand with the kettlebell in front of you,” says Chris DiVecchio Opens a New Window. , NASM certified personal trainer and author of The 5×2 Method Opens a New Window. . “Drop down into the pushup phase of the burpee, then pop up so the kettlebell’s between your legs. Grab the handle with both hands and perform an upright row.”
This exercise works your entire upper body, particularly the front deltoids and upper traps, and will help strengthen your upper postural alignment.
Man doing med ball slam
Man doing med ball slam
5. Ball Slam Burpee
A slam ball is the best way to get out any pent up aggression at the gym. Stand tall with the slam ball in both hands. Rise up on your toes and bring the ball overhead, then slam it into the ground as you drop into a burpee. As you pop back up, pick up the ball, lift it overhead, and repeat the movement.
“This works your upper body, particularly your front and lateral deltoids, along with your transverse abdominals, which is your main core stabilizer muscles,” says DiVecchio.
3-Minute Fit Test: Chins, Pushs, and Burpees Opens a New Window.