Up your intensity with burpees

I remember hearing about a burpee early on in my fitness career. I was like, “What the heck is a burpee?!” Once I did my first burpee, I understood what all the fuss was about. Burpees are an impressive exercise and very effective — you don’t need anything except your body. If you are on a path toward your resolution to lose weight and/or exercise more, burpees are your ticket. Here’s why burpees get the reputation that precedes them:   

What burpees do for you:

  • They work your legs and hips when you squat down, jump back, jump forward and then jump up. (Can’t jump? No worries, there are modifications).
  • They strengthen your core by supporting your body when you are jumping back into plank and then forward again.  
  • Your shoulders, chest and back get stronger to support you. Burpees give great joint stability, as well as muscular strength.
  • Improve agility and the range of motion in your hips.
  • They will definitely get your heart rate pumping — burning calories and strengthening your heart.
  • They are a great addition to your HIIT (high intensity interval training) or strength training routine.
  • Fun variations keep you on your toes or even upside down 🙂

Okay let’s get the cat out of the bag. What the heck is a burpee? (Be sure to warm up before jumping into a burpee — do some high knees or light squats)

How to do a burpee: 


  1. Stand tall with your feet shoulder distance apart
  2. Squat down low and then place your hands next to your feet.
  3. Step or jump back into plank.  (Option – add a pushup)
  4. Step or jump back with your feet between your hands.
  5. Squat back up to standing. (Option – add a jump)

Your challenge: Do burpees for a minute. If you are new to exercise, aim for 5 burpees.  If you are up for a challenge, try to do 10 burpees.  


  • If you have knee or hip issues, use a bench so you don’t have to squat down as far.
  • Walking your feet back into plank and then walking them into a squat position is still an effective burpee.


  • Ball slam variation – if you have access to a slam ball, use it before you squat down and then come into a squat and grab the ball before standing up.
  • Core variation – when you are in plank position, bring your right knee to dab your right elbow, then left knee to dab your left elbow. Then jump back into your squat.
  • Dumbbell variation – grab a pair of light dumbbells (5-10 lbs) and squat down. Jump back into plank, holding on to the dumbbells as they rest on the floor. When you jump back into your squat, bring your arms overhead while standing tall.
  • Medicine ball variation – if you have good upper body and wrist strength, hold onto a medicine ball (MB), jump back while holding the MB on the floor with both hands.  You can add a pushup if you like. Then jump back into a squat and bring the MB to your chest or overhead.
  • Handstand burpee?  Yep … instead of jumping back, you jump up into a handstand.  

Read more about burpees and the benefits of strength training as an effective way to lose weight:




Cynthia Miranda

About Cynthia Miranda

Cynthia Miranda has been in the fitness industry over 20 years including a degree in Sports Medicine, certifications with spinning, yoga, TRX, CrossFit and even Zumba! She has worked and is working with clients with all different levels of health & fitness from cardiac rehab patients to athletes to workaholics. Cynthia is an avid mountain biker and loves to be outside hiking and camping when she can. She is a mother of three girls ranging from 9 to 16.

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