At TheHealthBoard, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.

Learn more...

What is a Burpee?

B. Miller
B. Miller

A burpee is a type of exercise used for both strength-training and aerobic benefits. It combines a squat, a push-up, and a jumping jack into one exercise, and is generally done in a series of sets. A burpee is a great exercise for working many different muscle groups, including the legs, arms, abdominal muscles, and chest.

To perform a burpee, begin in a squat position with both hands flat on the floor. Kick the legs back into a plank position, readying for a push-up; then, lower the body into a push-up and come back up. As quickly as possible, bring the feet forward into the squatting position again, and leap into the air as high as possible with the arms overhead. One may also choose to clap the hands together as in a jumping jack.

Burpees combine push-ups with squats and jumping jacks.
Burpees combine push-ups with squats and jumping jacks.

One may choose to do a set of ten burpees at once, or more or less depending on one's existing level of physical fitness. This type of exercise is very beneficial because it can burn fat and promote weight loss by getting the heart rate up and delivering aerobic benefits, while increasing overall strength and endurance by using the weight of the body to strengthen the muscles. Personal trainers at gyms frequently encourage their clients to incorporate burpee exercises into workout routines.

Burpees can be made more difficult by only using one arm.
Burpees can be made more difficult by only using one arm.

There are many modifications of the burpee exercise. Beginners may choose to skip the push-up portion of the exercise, and simply squat, kick the legs back, come back into a squat, and then jump up. Burpees done against the wall are often done in this manner. As strength increases, the push-up may then be added.

Conversely, athletes may choose to modify the burpee and make it more difficult by doing the entire exercise using only one arm, and then alternating the arm used throughout the set. One might also choose to replace the jump with a pull-up, or with a long jump forward, which may be beneficial to those who play sports. As strength and fitness increases, the amount of burpees done per set should increase as well.

Keep in mind that though a burpee is an excellent exercise and can help one to get in shape, it is important to vary the workout to avoid boredom. Sustained aerobic activity such as jogging, biking, or swimming is important as well. In addition, remember to always warm up and cool down before doing any workout, particularly a strenuous one that contains exercises such as burpees.

Discussion Comments


I would never be able to do 20-30 minutes of just burpee exercises only. One of the biggest reasons I don't work out regularly is because I get bored easily.

The best way for me to exercise on a consistent basis is to keep my workouts around 30 minutes and switch them up a lot.

It is easy to include a few burpee exercises with every workout routine I do though. I started out doing them against the wall and eliminating the push-up.

Once I built up more strength I added the push-ups. Doing push-ups are one my least favorite exercises, but I have found that by including them in a burpee, I don't dread them as much.


Since I added burpee exercises to my workout routine, I can tell a difference. It really helps me increase my heart rate quickly.

I had read several articles that recommend spurts of activity during your workout for better results.

I had to start out slowly with these exercises though. At first, I could only do a few of them before I was worn out. This is something you have to work up to gradually, but they have made a big difference in strengthening my muscles.

I don't have a lot of upper body strength, so can't imagine doing the push-ups with just one arm.


Being an avid gardener, I thought this article was going to talk about Burpee vegetables. For years, I have used this company to order my garden seeds from.

I guess you learn something new every day! I am not very good at exercising on a regular basis. It sounds like doing very many Burpee exercises in a row would wear me out very quickly.

I think I will stick to my gardening for my exercise. I end up doing a lot of squatting down when I am working and pulling weeds.

The neighbors might think it a little strange if I started doing a push-up and a jumping jack every so often after doing a squat.


My husband does the push-up portion of the burpee with one arm, and I don't see how he does it. I can't even do a regular push-up with two arms, and it amazes me that he is that much stronger than I am.

When I'm doing my regular workout, I do “girl push-ups,” where I squat on my knees and just lift my upper body. It's hard to incorporate this into a burpee, though, because it would disrupt the flow of the movements. So, when doing a burpee, I skip the push-up part and just go to a plank position and back to a squat.

Undoubtedly, my husband is getting a much better workout with his one-arm push-up burpees, but I have to stick with what I can do. If I push myself too much, I will injure myself and be unable to do any burpees for a long time.


I get really hot and sweaty when doing burpees in the summertime. That's why I like to do them by the pool.

As soon as I complete as many reps as I can handle, I jump into the cool water. I float on my back to rest awhile, and then I do some swimming for my aerobic exercise.

A set of burpees is a great tool for building your strength, but you simply can't do burpees for twenty minutes at a time. That is how long I swim to give my heart and lungs a good workout. In the winter, I take brisk walks instead, but it is very nice to jump in the pool and cool down after a burpee workout.


@shell4life – My sister is a fitness trainer, and I had the same question for her when I heard the term “burpee.” She told me the exercise is named after the fitness expert Royal Burpee, because he developed the routine to assess army recruit's physical fitness levels.

My sister is just full of information like this. She said that since the burpee involved several different types of exercise that had to be done very quickly, one right after the other, it was the perfect test of agility and strength.

She made me do burpees during my training session with her, and they are very hard to do. Oh, I could get through the first one or two with no problem, but the difficulty lies in keeping it up. I eventually managed to do ten in a row, but it took a few weeks.


I wonder why it's called a burpee. That is a strange name for an exercise.

I had never heard of this before. I know that squats are a great workout for your buttocks and the back of your thighs, so a burpee routine could probably build muscle quickly. I can only do a few squats before feeling the burn in my thighs, and my muscles get fatigued quickly.

If I were to do a burpee, I would probably replace the push-up with a kickback. I don't have a lot of arm strength, so it is hard for me to do push-ups.

Post your comments
Forgot password?
    • Burpees combine push-ups with squats and jumping jacks.
      By: Alliance
      Burpees combine push-ups with squats and jumping jacks.
    • Burpees can be made more difficult by only using one arm.
      By: Andres Rodriguez
      Burpees can be made more difficult by only using one arm.