Burpees combine pushups, squats, and jumps to give you a full-body calisthenic exercise designed to build muscle strength and endurance simultaneously. It’s one of the best calisthenic exercises for calorie burn, using up to 355 calories for each 30-minutes spent performing the exercise. You also get to tone muscles all over your body with each rep.
Factors like the number of reps you perform, the intensity of your workout, your metabolism, and your current weight determine how many calories you burn when performing burpees. For example, studies conducted by Harvard show an average 125-pound person burns up to 240 calories every half hour performing burpees, while a 185-pound person burns up to 355 calories.
Performing burpees burns more calories compared to activities like weightlifting (112 calories per 30 minutes), swimming (223 calories per 30 minutes), and cycling (260 calories per 30 minutes). To maximize your calorie burn, consider adding martial arts or high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to your routine. These activities burn up to 500 calories per 30 minutes while giving you a full-body workout.
Adding bodyweight exercises like burpees to your fitness routine provides various health benefits. It’s an effective way to increase your functional strength, reduce blood pressure, and lower your resting heart rate. Exercises that push your cardiovascular endurance to the max also reduce your risk of health issues like heart disease, diabetes, and strokes.
Burning lots of calories also makes it easier to maintain a healthy weight, protecting you against issues caused by obesity, like higher mortality rates, high low-density cholesterol, and coronary heart disease.
Ten Burpee Exercises That Burn Lots Of Calories
We’ll start our list by going over how to perform a conventional burpee, then going over some of the more popular variations.
1) Standard Burpee
Think of a burpee as a combination of a high plank followed by a jump squat. Here’s what the exercise looks like:
- Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart, with both arms at your sides.
- Lower your body by pushing your hips back and bending at your knees as if you were performing a squat. Keep your weight on the heels of your feet.
- Lean forward, place your hands on the ground, and keep your palms flat. Keep your palms closer together than your feet are.
- Jump your feet back, stretching your legs out, so your weight is now on the balls of your feet. You’re simply transitioning from a squat with your hands on the ground to a high plank. Keep your abs tight and your back straight when in the high plank position.
- Jump your feet forward, so they are now next to your hands. Reach over your head with your arms, jump up, and reach back down to get into the high plank.
2) Spiderman Burpee
The spiderman burpee is a more challenging variation of the traditional burpee. It involves adding spiderman pushups to the movement, which leads to additional muscles like your obliques being engaged during the exercise.
Here’s how to perform a spiderman burpee:
- Get into the starting position, standing up straight while your feet are slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Keep your arms extended down by your sides.
- Take a deep breath as you enter a squat by dropping your hips back and bending at the knees. Keep your back flat in this position.
- At the bottom of your squat, place your hands on the ground, keeping them shoulder-width apart. Your hands should be directly beneath your shoulders.
- Exhale as you kick your legs back behind you so you’re now in a high plank position.
- Raise one leg to the side, bend it, and bring it towards your torso as you perform a pushup. Extend your leg back to the high plank position as you complete a pushup rep. Perform another pushup while doing the same thing with your other leg.
- Jump your legs forward after the second pushup so you’re back in a squat position with your hands still on the ground.
- Take your hands off the ground, stand up, and jump to complete a rep. Perform three to five sets of as many reps as you can get.
3) Rotating Burpee
This exercise targets your quads, triceps, shoulders, lats, hip flexors, hamstrings, glutes, forearms, abdominals, and chest. Here’s what the exercise looks like:
- Stand upright with your arms at your sides and your feet a bit more than shoulder-width apart.
- Drop into a squat by bending at the knees and hips, then reach down and place your hands on the floor.
- Kick your legs out behind you so you end up in a high plank position.
- Drop down to the floor and perform a pushup. Jump your feet back towards you to end up in a squat with your arms on the ground.
- Jump up as high as you can while raising your hands to the ceiling. Rotate about 180 degrees clockwise before starting another rep.
4) Mountain Climber Burpee
Combining mountain climbers with burpees takes this already challenging exercise to the next level. It also engages your core, obliques, and inner thigh muscles to a greater extent. Here’s what it looks like:
- Stand upright with your feet a little more than shoulder-width apart and your arms down at your sides.
- Get into a squat position by pushing your hips back and bending your knees.
- Reach down and place your arms on the ground about shoulder-width apart.
- Kick your legs out behind you, so you end up in a high plank.
- Move your right foot off the floor and bring your right knee towards your chest as close as possible. Return your right foot to the high plank position. Repeat the movement with your left leg. Repeat the movement two to four times on each side.
- Return to the high plank position and kick your legs in so you’re back in a squat. Hop as fast as you can to complete a rep. Aim for three to five sets of as many reps as you can.
5) Box Jump Burpee
The burpee box jump combines the movements used in box jumps and burpees. It helps to build explosive strength in your lower body while giving you a full-body cardiovascular workout.
To perform box jump burpees:
- Get into the starting position, standing in front of an exercise box with your feet slightly more than shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Keep your chin tucked as if you were holding onto a ball with it.
- Keep your arms down by your sides with your elbows slightly bent. Keep your weight evenly distributed between your feet.
- Drop your hips back and bend at the knees to lower yourself to the ground. Keep your back neutral.
- Place your hands on the ground about shoulder-width apart and kick your legs back, so you end up in a high plank.
- Push through the ground as you explosively jump on the exercise box. Swing your arms forward during your jump. Land softly on the body, bending your knees and hips to absorb the force. Your landing posture should look just like your jumping posture. You should be in a squat with your chest over your knees and your knees over your toes. Aim for three sets of five to ten reps.
6) Renegade Row Burpee
Here’s one of the more complicated variations of the burpee that takes your calorie burn to the next level. You get a more intense variation of the burpee that engages your biceps and back muscles while giving your entire body a more intense workout that leads to more significant calorie burn.
Here’s what the exercise looks like:
- Stand upright with dumbbells in each hand. Keep your feet a little more than shoulder-width apart.
- Drop your hips back and bend at the knees as you lower yourself into a squat. Reach out with your hands and place the dumbbells on the floor shoulder-width apart.
- Kick your legs back, so you end up in a high plank position with your hands posting up on the dumbbells.
- Perform a row with your left hand, bringing your elbow towards the ceiling as far as you can. Return to the high plank and do the same thing with your left hand.
- Lower yourself to the ground to perform a pushup and return to the high plank. Kick your legs in towards you and return to a squat. Jump up as high as possible with the dumbbells still in your hands to complete a rep. Aim for three sets of five to ten sets.
7) Side Plank Burpee
The side plank burpee is another variation that takes the movement to the next level. Adding side planks to burpees engages your core muscles more, especially your obliques. You get to burn lots of calories while sculpting your abdominal region.
Here’s what the movement looks like:
- Stand upright with your hands down by your sides. Shift your hips back and bend your knees, so you drop into a squat.
- Reach out with your hands in front of you and place them on the ground shoulder-width apart. Your shoulders should be directly over your hands.
- Kick your legs behind you, so you end up in a high plank position. Shift your weight into the heel of your right hand and raise your left palm off the ground. Rotate your body upward so your left hand points to the ceiling. Pause for a second, then rotate back down to a high plank. Perform the same movement with your left hand, so your right hand is now pointing at the ceiling.
- Kick your legs back in so you’re back in a squat, and jump up as you swing your arms forward to complete a rep. Aim for three sets of as many reps as you can perform. You can add a pushup after your side planks to make the exercise more challenging.
8) Dumbbell Burpees
Dumbbell burpees are one of the variations you should try once you feel you need more of a challenge than the conventional burpee. The mechanics are the same as the conventional burpee; you just hold dumbbells in both hands to increase the intensity of the movement.
Here’s what it looks like:
- Stand upright with a dumbbell in each hand. Start with light weights and gradually work your way up.
- Move your hips back and bend your knees as you drop into a squat. Reach out with your hands and place the dumbbells in your hands on the ground. Your shoulders should be over your hands.
- Kick your legs back to get into a high plank. Perform a pushup and kick your legs forward so you’re back in a squat.
- Return to standing upright and raise the dumbbells over your head. You can make the exercise more challenging by jumping with the dumbbells in your hands.
9) Bosu Ball Burpee
This variation of the burpee involves working with a Bosu ball. It gives you all the benefits that come with burpees, and it makes your core and stabilizer muscles work much harder. Here’s what the exercise looks like:
- Stand upright with your hands holding the outer edges of a Bosu ball and the flat side facing you
- Shift your hips and bend your knees to get into a squat. Lower your hands on the floor ahead of you while holding on to the Bosu ball.
- Position the Bosu ball directly under you and place your hands on the flat surface to perform a pushup.
- Grab the edges of the Bosu ball and carry it over your head as you return to a standing position to complete a rep. Perform three sets of as many reps as you can handle.
10) Barbell Burpee
The barbell burpee is the most intense variation of the burpee on our list. It combines two intense full-body movements: the deadlift and the burpee. It’s an excellent exercise for muscle building and fat burning, and it never gets too easy since you can always add more weight to the barbell.
Here’s what it looks like:
- Get into the starting position with a loaded barbell in front of you and your feet shoulder-width apart. Half of your feet should be on each side of the barbell.
- Drop your hips back and bend your knees slightly as you reach down to grab the barbell. Your arms should be just outside your arms. Keep your chest pointing forward and your back straight.
- Deadlift the bar rolling it up your body as you stand upright. Lower the weight to the ground.
- While still holding on to the bar, kick your legs back so you’re in a pushup position. Perform a pushup and jump your legs back up so you’re back in a deadlift stance to complete a rep. Aim for three sets of five to ten reps.
Get Max Calorie Burn With Burpees
Burpees are an intense exercise that gets your heart rate up quickly, so combine them with low-intensity exercises to create calorie-burning routines. For example, you can combine burpees with short runs or cycling sessions. You can also combine burpees with other calisthenic exercises to build calorie-burning workouts that also improve muscle strength and endurance.
Some simple circuits you can build with burpees include:
- Calisthenic Circuit: Burpees, sit-ups, and air squats. Try not to take any breaks until you’re done with the circuit.
- Burpee Sprints: Perform as many burpees as you can from one of the variations listed above, rest for a minute, then sprint for 30 seconds. Alternate until you can’t do any more.
- Burpee Strongman circuit: Barbell hangs, bent-over rows, and deadlifts with burpees as a penalty. The key is to perform the first three exercises without dropping the barbell. Pump-out ten burpees any time you do.
- Burpee Insanity circuit: You can target muscles all over your body from various angles by performing variations of burpees. For example, you can start at the top of our list by performing ten reps of standard burpees and working your way down the list, performing one less rep of each variation.
As you can see, the possibilities are endless when it comes to building circuits with burpees. Add them to any circuit to push your cardiovascular endurance.
You may also like:
Improve Your Cardio & Fitness With These 4 Skipping Rope Workouts