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The dreaded burpee!!  Some of us hear this word and shudder in fear…others may be asking, what is a burpee???

We will all cross paths with a burpee or some version of it in our exercise lives… so we might as well break it down and talk about the mechanics behind it.

This way you will have a familiarity of how, when and why we program these into workouts 🙂

If we “deconstruct” the entire movement, it comes down to these steps:

    1. Jump with arms overhead
    2. Land and squat
    3. Bend over and place hands down on the ground
    4. Kick or step your legs out (to a plank position)
    5. Push up

Follow the opposite path back up to standing

  • Jump or step each foot back up towards your chest
  • Hands off the floor
  • Stand up tall


We get a lot of bang for our buck out of a burpee, working our legs, hips, abs, butt and arms.

Burpees are often programmed in an endurance style workout to increase cardio activity or as part of a HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout.

In addition to fat burning, including burpees in your workout routine can help you reap many other cardio benefits such as:

  • stronger heart and lungs
  • improved blood flow
  • lower risk of heart disease and diabetes
  • improved cholesterol levels
  • improved brain function

Other considerations when doing burpees:

  • Controlling your knee alignment is important as you lower your hips down, and maintain your back position. (this requires good hip and ankle flexibility as well as hamstrings and calves)
  • Jumping or stepping your legs back up requires good low back and hip flexibility, abdominal strength and glutes strength to help drive yourself up
  • If during the movement, you lose stability or control, or you have pain, you will want to stop and consider doing more stability work to prevent injury
  • If the standard movement is too difficult for a beginner, it can be regressed step by step so you have the opportunity to practice it at that level
  • If the standard movement is too easy for an advanced exerciser, it can be progressed by adding weight or other types of equipment, or using single arm and leg variations

While this compound movement sounds scary, when performed properly, it can be a great tool for any workout. And once mastered, you’ll feel stronger, increase your endurance and enhance mobility.

What do you think of burpees now?