How to do Burpees for Beginners

The Burpee is an effective and simple exercise that will help you build muscle, shift some fat, and improve general conditioning and strength. Now you might have heard of the burpees reputation as being an unforgiving exercise.

Yep, it's tough. By design, this is not an easy exercise for many people. But here's our guide to achieving burpee perfection for beginners. I recommend having a personal trainer or fitness expert evaluate your form once you've figured out the basics of this deceptively challenging exercise.

What Is A Burpee?

The exercise known as a Burpee is a full-body exercise that increases cardiovascular fitness as well as building muscle. The original 4-count-4-repetition movement was first developed by Royal H. Burpee in 1939, who used the movement in fitness tests at Columbia University.

Over the years this exercise has become increasingly popular, thanks in large part to CrossFit, boot camps, and fitness challenges on social media.

Today, the Burpee includes 5 separate movements:

  • Squat
  • Jump
  • Push-up
  • Jump
  • Squat
  • Explosive Jump to end the exercise

It's a very effective and challenging bodyweight exercise that includes most muscle groups. The lungs are also challenged as the aerobic challenges in moving your entire body up off the floor over and over kick in.

The Bottom of the Press up position of the Burpee Exercise
The starting position of the press up of the Burpee

Burpee Benefits

  • Works almost the entire body
  • Improves upper body strength, balance, explosive power in the legs and other major muscles, and your core muscles.
  • Burns a lot of calories
  • Improves cardiovascular fitness
  • Can boost endurance
  • Can lower blood pressure and improve blood flow
  • Modifiable to match the individual's fitness levels

Beginner Level Burpee Exercises

Level One

Squat down to a depth that you feel comfortable with. Position your hands in front of you on the ground, and place one foot at a time behind you. When you have managed to stabilize the top part of the push up position, move your feet forwards until the knees are next to your elbows.

Now push backward until your feet are flat in the squat. Press your feet towards the ground until you reach a standing position.

Burpee Squat Jump Preparation Position
Burpee Squat Jump Preparation Position

Level Two

Squat down to a level that you feel comfortable with. Place your hands in front of you on the ground. Now put your knees down and your legs back one foot at a time. Now use a 1 knee push-up, extending as low as you can possibly go.

Follow this by moving your feet into a forward position, moving into a squat position, and continue into a standing position.

Level Three

Squatting down, make sure you reach a rock-bottom squat. Now moving your upper torso forward, move your feet backwards and position your body at the top part of the push up-position. As soon as you are stabilized bring the feet forward into the flat-foot squat-stance. Stand up.

Level Four

Squat down and throw your feet back, hands on the floor shoulder-width apart. You'll be in a plank position with your core tight and back straight.

Perform a push-up and then bring your feet forwards into flat-foot squat stance. Stand up.

Fully Extended Press Up Position of the Burpee Crossfit Exercise
Fully Extended Press Up Position of the Burpee

Level Five – The Classic Burpee

Squat, then explosively throw your feet back while putting your hands on the ground, shoulder-width apart. Perform a push-up, crunch and bring your legs back into squat position once again and jump upwards. This movement is called a squat jump. At the top of the jump clap your hands overhead.

Burpee Jumping and Overhead Clap Position
Burpee Jumping and Overhead Clap Position

Burpee Mistakes

The Burpee is only safe and effective when it has been performed correctly. Below are a few mistakes you need to avoid:

❌ Arching Your Back

Your torso needs to stay in a plank position when lowering your body downwards, and when pressing back-up. Make sure that your abdominal muscles are engaged and modify the exercise by dropping the knees if you need to.

❌ Too Many Reps

A 100-Burpee challenge may seem enticing, but it is typical that your original form will start to degrade as you increase your repetitions. Slow down the moves if you need it to become easier and always prioritize your form over your repetitions until you feel comfortable with the mechanics involved in this movement.

❌ Losing Your Posture

It becomes easy to forget that a solid plank is vital for the Burpee movement. Make sure your shoulders are always over your wrists when you jump your feet out and in, and do not allow them to move back and forward.

❌ Not Taking the Easy Options

If calorie-burning is your goal with a burpee workout, you need to move quickly. Performing basic burpee movements with speed will increase your heart rate quickly. This ‘MetCon‘ style workout can keep your metabolism running high throughout the day.

If your “ending jump” or your push-up is what slows you down, omit these movements and find a regression until you feel you can complete the entire movement quickly.

Choose the easier version of the movement, move fast, and get used to it before progressing on to the more advanced burpee variations or modified burpee options.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many burpees should you do a day?

Great question. And with all great questions, the answer is “it depends”. It depends on your goals, your current fitness levels, and your tolerance for pain. Be careful to avoid repetitive strain injury in the shoulder from overdoing it on the reps.

Is 30 burpees a day a good number to aim for?

Yes. 30 burpees a day will help improve your fitness while avoiding fatigue and overtraining. Again, this will depend on your current level but as a ballpark figure, thirty reps is a good number.

How do burpees change your body?

The jumping, crunching, and pushup movements will define your quads, calves, abs, triceps, and chest muscles. Your heart must work extra hard when moving the body from prone position to jumping position, This will make you much fitter.

Burpee vs running – Which is better?

While running is an excellent exercise, burpee exercises work more muscles and can be as intense as sprinting. Burpees are better for full-body conditioning.

Are burpees good for weight loss?

Burpees are great for weight loss Anything that elevates the heart rate for an extended period of time will help with fat burning and weight loss. Keep the burpee intensity in the range of low to medium to benefit from its potential for weight loss.

Do Navy Seals do burpees?

Navy Seals do lots of burpees. You know an exercise is fitness-approved when elite military forces use it as part of their training. Ex-Navy Seal Jocko Willink says that burpees are a key to fitness. Seals use a burpee variation that involves a sort of mountain climber with the knees while pressing. This is an advanced technique and not recommended for beginners.

Beginner Burpees Guide

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