6 Burpee Variations To Keep You On Your Toes

Burpees are one of the best exercises you can do. Burpees work all muscle groups: arms, legs, core, back, etc. One of the best ways to do burpees is a tabata style. Do as many burpees as possible for :20 seconds on, :10 seconds off for 3-4 minutes.

The good thing about burpees is that you can do them from just about anywhere. So if you are in a hotel room at the next circuit party or you don’t have enough time to get to the gym, all you need to do is move the coffee table out of your way and you can these with little to no room.

The way to do a burpee is to first squat down, with your legs shoulder length apart, keeping the legs bent at a 90 degree angle. Make sure that your chest is lifted and you are not staring at the ground. From there, put both hands down and jump back into a plank/pushup position. Be sure that your hands are directly under your shoulders and your back is in one straight line. From here, jump back into the squat position, trying to keep your feet on the outside of your hands and then jump up in the air as high as you can. This is your standard burpee.

Let’s talk about some other variations of burpees you can do to challenge yourself and make them harder.

Burpees with a Tuck Jump:

  • Stay with the standard variation of the burpee except when you come up into the squat from the plank, jump up and bring your knees into your chest. This causes your legs to work a bit harder and give you some extra calorie burn.


Skater Jump Burpee:

  • Skater jumps are a great exercise to help work the outside part of the legs and keep your balance. To do a skater jump, you will leap laterally, landing on the outside foot and bring the inside foot behind you. Once you jump laterally both ways, then drop down to a burpee. This will give your legs an extra shock around the hip area and burn those calories.


High Knees/Butt Kickers Burpees:

  • A good warm up move I do when I train clients is that I have them do high knees and butt kickers. High knees warm up both the upper and lower legs working the front of the leg. Butt kickers, where you kick your legs back and try to literally kick your butt with your legs, work the back of the legs. For this burpee, do a 4-count of high knees and a 4-count of butt kickers and then drop down into a burpee. The extra cardio will keep your body moving and start bringing on the sweat.


One-handed Burpees:

  • The first time I ever had to do a one-handed burpee, was during my Insanity days. I thought I would fall flat on my face when I had to do it. This is just like a regular burpee except you are only throwing down one hand and stabilizing yourself with that hand. Your entire upper body is being supported by your hand and to do it, switch hands each rep.


One-legged Burpees:

  • Just like the one handed burpees, this is a good way to build up muscle in your legs. Do the same squat to plank move but land only one foot and keep the other leg up in the air. This stabilizes your lower body and builds your strength up in your legs but forcing all of your body weight onto one side.


Eight-count Burpees:

  • The mother of all burpees. This is my favorite one to really test my client’s endurance and strength. To begin, you jump back from a squat to a plank. From the plank, kick your legs out and in like a scissor (picture a jumping jack on the ground). Once you come back to plank, then add a tricep pushup (pushup where you elbows nearly graze your rib cage as you go down. You go back instead of out). From here jump back into a squat and jump into the air at full speed. If you want to make it even harder, make the jump a tuck jump and make it a nine count burpee.

If you’re like me and love to travel during the warmer months (I’m on the East Coast so during the winter, I hibernate), you don’t always have time to hit the gym. Think about these in the interim to keep your body in shape and to get you a good calorie burner in a short amount of time.

Let me know your thoughts and if you have a certain body part or area that you want to train, let me know and I will write up some moves to show to help get you beach ready.

CT Kerney – Fitness Instructor, Social Media Manager, and Personal Trainer in Belleville, New Jersey
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