The dreaded burpee is an exercise feared by many in our industry. For such a simple technique it can leave even the toughest of exercisers gasping for breath.
So what actually is a burpee? We will define the burpee as a movement that consists of a floor based movement followed immediately by a standing exercise, this is then performed as a super-set for a desired number of repetitions or length of time.
The common burpee is a squat thrust combined with a standing jump or jumping jack, and in this original guise is a hard enough exercise, however we can further exploit the brilliance of this movement to create a whole compendium of burpee possibilities.
Targeting both upper and lower body musculature, and with a major cardiovascular demand due to the fast nature of the movement and also through varying between upright and floor bound positions the burpee is truly a total body workout.
Here are 20 burpee variations to get you started, perhaps try 50 reps of each and go for the 1000 burpee challenge!
- Squat thrust burpee: The accepted standard of burpee, a full powerful squat thrust back and then a jump up in the air or jumping jack before repeating
- Star jump burpee: A simple variation, instead of a vertical jump or jumping jack, perform a full height star jump on every rep
- Drop set burpee: Instead of one of each for the upwards jump and squat thrust, start with five reps of each phase and then reduce through four, three, two and one of each.
- 1 arm burpee: For the squat thrust perform on one arm only, with the other arm in the small of you back, alternate arms every rep
- 1-leg burpee: Alternating sides, jump your squat thrust back onto one leg only and on the upwards phase perform a high hop jump
- Superman burpee: Replace the standard squat thrust with a full range squat thrust whereby you place your whole torso on the floor and reach both arms off the floor over head in a superman flying pose
- Bumpee: My favourite burpee variation! Instead of performing a squat thrust in a prone position, on the downwards section of the exercise simply sit down first and then lie backwards into a supine position
- Breast-stroke burpee: Very similar to the superman burpee but performing a breast-stroke styled arm action whilst floor bound
- Commando roll burpee: A great fun tweak, perform a superman burpee, then whilst your arms are outreached do a full roll to one side until you are prone again and continue onto your next repetition
- Press up burpee: Perform a full press up or perhaps a plyometric press up after every squat thrust before you jump back up
- Lizard/Spiderman burpee: Once in the squat thrust position perform a lizard walking or walking Spiderman press ups for 4 steps then jump up for your next repetition and continue
- Forwards to backwards roll burpee: Replace each squat thrust with an alternating forward or backwards roll. Can be performed with the squat thrust and the floor roll also.
- Chin up burpee: Position yourself under a high bar and then perform a standard burpee however on every upward jump perform 1 chin up repetition
- Muscle up burpee: Just as in the chin up burpee, try to swap the chin up for a muscle up action
- Star Crump burpee: Replace the squat thrust phase with a star crump where you jump both hands forwards and then back whilst in a full arm plank position, if you really want a challenge try the star crump thrust where you try to perform this and the squat thrust at the same time
- Sandbag burpee (overhead throw on up section): Holding a heavy sandbag throughout, lean on the bag during the squat thrust and then when you jump up launch the back overhead behind you – run to where it lands and repeat for your next repetition
- Broad jump burpee: On the move, include a full length broad jump (long squat jump) forward after the squat thrust in every repetition
- Deadlift burpee: Using a barbell perform your squat thrust either leaning on the bar or just behind it and then instead of the upwards jump perform a single rep of a barbell deadlift
- Clean burpee: Exactly like the deadlift burpee but perform a full clean each repetition instead
- Snatch burpee: Another progression from the deadlift burpee but this time perform a full barbell snatch instead of the upward jump phase on every repetition
Premier Training International Demo Team Manager