How to do burpees: master this much loved/hated full-body cardio exercise easily

Want to know how to burpee like a boss? We’ve got a guide to doing burpees right and all the best burpee variations

How to do burpees
(Image credit: Getty Images)

It’s very useful to know how to do burpees. Love them or hate them, you must admit they can be pretty intense to perform and require good form if you want to avoid injury. How to do burpees right is not hard to learn, there are a few key areas you must pay attention to, though, if you don't want to end up with a sprained wrist or a painful lower back. Or, even worse, looking foolish.

Just like knowing how to do push ups, learning to burpee right is thankfully not rocket science.

Burpees can be included in HIIT workouts and they also work well as a warm up exercise for running and/or cycling as this exercise elevates heart rate quickly and gets you using most of the muscles in your body. 

There are also numerous burpee variations that can introduce more muscle activation in certain areas of your body. They range from simple-but-strenuous to really bloody hard. Something for everyone, then. 

How to do burpees correctly

Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, shoulders open, core engaged, head facing forward, spine aligned. Raise your hands and jump as high as you can; remember to keep your core engaged to stabilise your body during the jump. At the apex of the jump, get ready for a soft landing by pointing your toes down: you want to land on the balls of your feet to soften the impact of the jump on the joints.

As you land, go down in to a squat position with your hands touching the ground in front of you, placed shoulder width apart. Then, you want to use your shoulders as hinges and kick your legs back and up slightly, like a donkey kick. Land on the balls of the feet and take up a high plank position. Core fully engaged in this pose in order to keep the body straight. Try not to let your hips sag or push your bottom up too high.

From here, you want to reverse the process: jump back into a squat position then kick your body up high and reach up with your arms then repeat from the start.

Best burpee-variations

Half burpee

This variety concentrates on the core and takes the jumping element out of the equation. Make no mistake: this is still a pretty intense exercise that will put your core to the test.

Push-up burpee

This version introduces a push up to burpees and therefore works your triceps and pecs more. Full body workout at its best!

Walkout burpee

Try this without the push up/jump to make it easier. Walkout burpees are also great as hamstring stretches: make sure you keep your legs straight as long as you can as you reach down to really stretch those hamstrings. Start walking out with alternating arms at each repetition.

Navy seal burpees combine burpees, push ups and mountain climbers. Neither of those are easy to perform on their own so mixing them together will result in guaranteed burn!

How to do navy seal burpees: the HARDEST burpee variation will build muscle and burn fat at the same time

Burpee tuck jumps

Burpee tuck jumps are a more explosive variety and really work the quads/glutes. Guaranteed DOMS the day after!

T3's how-to exercise guides

Matt Kollat
Section Editor | Active

Matt Kollat is a journalist and content creator who works for and its magazine counterpart as an Active Editor. His areas of expertise include wearables, drones, fitness equipment, nutrition and outdoor gear. He joined T3 in 2019. His byline appears in several publications, including Techradar and Fit&Well, and more. Matt also collaborated with other content creators (e.g. Garage Gym Reviews) and judged many awards, such as the European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance's ESSNawards. When he isn't working out, running or cycling, you'll find him roaming the countryside and trying out new podcasting and content creation equipment.