Burpee – Bodyweight Cardio Exercise Guide with Photos

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Muscles Targeted: The burpee is one of the best overall bodyweight conditioning exercises you can include in your cardio workout routine! This one exercise targets several major muscle groups including the chest, shoulders, arms, legs and core. Burpees are very popular in CrossFit because they are the ultimate challenge of endurance. This exercise not only burns major calories, but it also builds up power and strength in your upper and lower body. If you’re looking for one of the best “bang for your buck” exercises that you can do anywhere without the need for any equipment, then the burpee is the go-to exercise to include in your workout!

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Burpee – Full Version


Exercise Instructions: To perform a burpee, you will start by standing straight up with an athletic stance. The first move will be to squat all the way down to the ground and place your hands out in front of you. From this position, kick your feet back behind you so you end up in a push-up position. Perform a full push-up and then bring your feet back up towards you so you end up in a squatting position with your hands placed on the ground in front of you. The last part of the burpee is to explode up with your legs and jump up towards the sky. This completes the full explanation about how to properly execute the burpee exercise.

There is also a modified version of the burpee exercise for those who do not have the strength in the upper body to perform a full push-up. With this modified version, you will simply skip the push-up portion and transition from the push-up position into the squatting position and then perform the jump as the last part of the movement. The modified version of the burpee is shown below:

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Burpee – Modified Version Without The Push-Up


The final modified version of the burpee excludes both the push-up and jump portions of the exercise. If you don’t have the upper body strength needed to perform the push-up and/or you have prior injuries or bad knees and want to avoid jumping up and down then this version will be perfect for you. You can review this modified version of the burpee exercise below:

bodyweight-cardio-exercises-burpee-modified-no-jump

Burpee – Modified Version Without The Push-Up or Jump


Why This Exercise is Important: The burpee is an important exercise to add to your workouts because it targets so many major muscle groups. It also burns a lot of calories and helps to build endurance. By doing just a few repetitions of this taxing exercise you will definitely understand why it’s considered the king of all bodyweight cardio movements. This exercise is also excellent for building strength in the upper and lower body along with improving explosive power for different sports like football, basketball and hockey.

Things To Avoid: Proper technique is critical when performing burpees, so make sure to always be spot-on with your form. When first performing this movement, go very slow so you can position your body into the correct phases of the exercise. It might be beneficial to perform the burpee in front of a mirror or even take video of yourself when first starting out so you can monitor your technique. This is an advanced movement so you want to be sure to warm-up a little and get your body ready before getting into your full working sets. Jumping rope or jogging lightly for 5-10 minutes is a great way to get your muscles warm and ready before starting your burpee workout.

Reps and Sets: The total number of sets and repetitions completely depends on your level of fitness. For beginners, it might be difficult to perform just a few burpees in a row without getting exhausted. For advanced CrossFit athletes, a set of 30-50 burpees is not uncommon. Once you’re conditioned, a killer cardio workout routine is to do intervals that consist of 5 minutes of jump rope combined with 1 minute of burpees. Do this for 5 total sets for an amazing calorie burning 30 minute cardio workout! Check out our entire exercise guides database for exclusive access to over 500 muscle building and fat burning exercises!

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