The dreaded “b” word… burpees. If you’re anything like me, then you have a love/hate relationship with this intense cardio workout. I love the aftermath of them, but hate them while I am doing them! For those of you who aren’t familiar, a burpee is essentially a two-part full body burnout that will have your heart rate pumping, muscles working and calories burning. To do a burpee, you basically combine a push-up followed by hopping your feet forward and leaping into the air, then you repeat.
And while burpees can be tiresome, they’re worth the ache because of the calories they torch. In fact, a 125-pound person who does burpees for one minute will burn around 10 calories – of course this will vary depending on your body weight. However, the more intense the burpee is, the more calories you will burn, and who doesn’t love that?
If you’re wanting to kick your burpees up a notch to challenge yourself and work your body more, then there are different burpee variations you can try. Keep reading to find out if these alternates are in your wheelhouse.
Mountain Climber Burpee
Mountain climber burpees might be the ultimate full-body combination. In this move, you’ll work every muscle group and have the heart rate up and pumping. While this exercise works various muscle groups, it’s fairly simple to add to a traditional burpee. You may be familiar with standard mountain climbers, so you have an idea where this is heading. But if you don’t, here’s how to do them. When you’re at the bottom position of your burpee, come up to a plank position and drive your knees toward your chest one at a time. If you want to intensify this burpee variation, drive the knee towards the opposite elbow.
Leap Frog Burpee
This one comes from some of the fitness experts. According to Keith Stafford, owner of Fit Body Boot Camp, leap frog burpees change the angle of the jump. This causes more activation in the calf muscles while also getting the shoulders and chest more involved as you push the hands down and back to the leap frog position.
In doing leap frog burpees, you’ll squat down and place your hands on the ground then jump back into plank position. Then, jump your feet up to meet the hands and leap frog as far forward as you can.
Medicine Ball Burpees
I love any exercise that works the glutes, hamstrings and quads. So it’s no surprise medicine ball burpees are consistently on my workout plan. You’ll definitely need some upper body strength and a solid core to do this movement, so be prepared for a challenge.
Holding on to a medicine ball, perform a squat and lower the ball to the floor. Jump back into plank position and perform a regular burpee. After you jump the feet back up to the hands, grab the medicine ball, toss it overhead and then repeat the movement.
Burpees are typically a bodyweight exercise. But that doesn’t mean you can’t throw in some weights to spice things up! Kettlebell burpees will have you feeling brand new (and maybe a little worn out.) You’ll start with your kettlebell on the ground in front of you. Drop into your burpee and then jump up to where the kettlebell is between your legs. Grab the kettlebell with each hand and do an upright row. In a controlled motion, put the weight down and repeat the burpee movement.
If you know what plank jacks are then you can probably guess what a burpee jack entails. You’ll start in a standing position and jump back into a plank. Simultaneously jump your legs out (think jumping jacks) and then back to plank position. Repeat this five or more times then jump your feet back to the hands and jump as high as you can in the air. Keith Stafford of Fit Body Boot Camp states: “Jumping your legs back and forth laterally increases the load on your core, challenging you to remain stable during the jumping and landing.”
Box Jump Burpee
This is probably the most challenging burpee variation you can do. A burpee alone is hard enough. But adding in a box jump is a whole different ball game. You’ll do a standard burpee on the ground and then immediately do a box jump. Step down off the box and repeat the burpee, followed by another box jump. You won’t be able to do your reps as fast, but you’ll really be engaging your muscles and it will be a challenge to complete.
Tuck Jump Burpee
If you’ve completed any HIIT training or HIIT style classes, there’s a chance you have done a tuck jump. A tuck jump is a plyometric movement that is a combination of cardio and working the lower body. Tie that in with a burpee and it is a recipe for exhaustion! To do a tuck jump burpee, you will do the regular burpee movement. The difference is, at the end you’ll jump high and bring the knees as close to the chest as possible. This is the perfect exercise to do as an AMRAP (as many rounds as possible).
Ball Slam Burpee
If you have any pent up anger or need to revamp after a stressful day then medicine ball burpees have your name written all over them. All you need to do is grab a medicine ball at your desired weight, stand up tall and rise onto your toes bringing the ball overhead. From there, slam the ball onto the ground as you make your way into a burpee. When you come up, pick up the ball, lift it overhead and repeat.
Bosu Ball Burpee
If you’re needing to work on balance and stability, then a bosu ball burpee would be the perfect addition to your burpee variations workout. Start by getting a bosu ball and holding it over your head. Place the bubble side down onto the ground and jump back into plank position. Perform a push-up with the bosu ball, jump forward with both feet and then repeat the movement. You will especially feel this exercise in the chest, core, shoulders and triceps.
Burpee Pull Up
You can probably guess how this plays out! To do a burpee pull up, you will first need to find a pull-up bar. Stand underneath the pull-up bar and do a regular burpee. The difference? When you jump up, you’ll grab onto the pull-up bar and perform a pull up. Talk about a major way to burn calories and improve your upper body strength all at once.
Burpees are a killer HIIT exercise that is great for burning calories. But what if you want to take it up a level or you’re bored with the same old burpees?
In this post, we covered 10 excellent burpee variations that you can work into your workout. They are mountain climber burpee, leap frog burpee, medicine ball burpees, kettle bell burpee, burpee jack, box jump burpee, tuck jump burpee, ball slam burpee, bosu ball burpee and finally burpee pull up.