Burpee Workouts for a Fit and Functional Physique

Burpee Conditioning

Forget about all the expensive fitness gimmicks and gadgets you are bombarded with on a daily basis. The truth is if you want to melt away fat like there’s no tomorrow and build a FIT and ATHLETIC physique than all you need is your own bodyweight to perform an intense burpee workout.

After performing a few reps of the burpee you will soon realize the effectiveness of this exercise. In fact intense burpees are used all over the world in boxing gyms and prisons to build fit and functional physiques. Burpees will literally blast your stamina through the roof and morph you into ‘ready’ shape.┬áNo other exercise on its own stands close to the burpee!

Everyone has different views on how the burpee should be performed.  Some say with a pushup and others say without a pushup. Well I believe it depends more on your current fitness levels. Here are the burpee progressions

Beginner Burpee

how to do a burpee

In this variation you will start standing then squat to the ground and kick your feet back into a pushup position. You will then bring your feet back to your chest and stand-up.

Intermediate Burpee

Prison Burpees

This burpee is the same as the ‘beginner burpee’ but this time your going to add a jump at the top of the movement.

Advanced Burpee

greg plitt push ups

This variation is the same as the ‘intermediate burpee’ only this time your going to add a pushup. This variation is only for people who can perform at least 20 consecutive pushups.

The Ultimate Burpee

tuck jump burpees

The ultimate burpee is performed with a pushup and a tuck jump. Therefore you will squat to the ground, kick your feet back, perform a pushup, kick your feet back up, than jump in the air bringing your knees to your chest. This is the most advanced variation and only suitable for those who are in excellent shape.


Burpee Workout #1 – Tabata Burpees

Burpees x 20 seconds

Rest x 10 seconds

Complete 8x for a total of 4 minutes

– this workout may be brief but it is highly effective. You can perform this workout as a finisher to a strength training session. Or you can perform it on its own if your short on time.

– If your in peak physical condition you can perform a plank during the 10 seconds of rest. I will warn you this is extremely challenging and not for the faint of heart.

Burpee Workout #2 – Boxer Burpees

Burpees x 30 seconds

Shadow Boxing x 30 seconds

Burpees x 30 seconds

Shadow Boxing x 30 seconds

Rest 1 minute

Complete 4 rounds

– This is an awesome conditioning workout. This will burn tons of fat and get you into fighting shape fast. For the shadow boxing you want to focus on throwing as many punches as possible in the 30 seconds. Make sure to keep your hands up and stay on your toes. If you don’t want to do the shadow boxing you can perform jumping jacks or jump rope instead.

Workout #3 – Prison Burpees

This is probably the toughest burpee workout known to man! This workout earned the name ‘prison burpees’ as it was first utilized in prisons. In some of these correctional institutes prisoners were only allowed to exercise 3 times per week for 20 minutes. The prisoners didn’t have access to any fancy equipment so they resorted to the effectiveness of the Burpee and created a challenge out of it. The challenge involved performing burpees for 20 reps, 19 reps, 18 reps, 17 reps all the way down to 1 rep. This totaled 210 burpees and those that could complete the entire workout in 20 minutes were not to be messed with.

The goal is to rest as little as possible between sets. Obviously you shouldn’t try and do the complete workout for the first time. What I do recommend is starting at 10 reps and working down to 1 rep. The next workout you can start from 11 reps and work down to 1 rep. Overtime you can gradually build up to 20 total reps.

Burpee Workout #4 – Kettlebells Swings and Burpees

Burpees x 10 reps

Kettle Bell Swings x 20 reps (use a challenging weight – 35-52 lbs)

rest 30-60 seconds

Complete 5 total rounds

– If you don’t have a kettlebell you can perform dumbbell swings instead.

Kettlebell Swing

Dumbbell Swing

Which burpee variation to use with the workotus?

I recommend starting with the burpee variation you are the most comfortable. Once your fitness levels improve then you should opt for the more challenging variations. Everyone who can perform 20+ pushups should at-least use the advanced burpee variation.

When to perform these workouts?

You can perform a burpee workout 2-3x per week. Burpee workouts are a great ‘no equipment’ replacement to interval training. If you want the maximum fat burning effect you should finish off your burpee workouts with 20-30 minutes of additional low intensity exercise. This is because intense burpee workouts (much like intervals) trigger the release of fat cells into your blood stream. So by performing low intensity exercise after the burpee workout you maximize fat burning.

Note: For a complete bodyweight program that teaches you how to melt fat, gain muscle and is loaded with exercises, workouts, and instructional videos than checkout Bodyweight Exercise Revolution

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  • http://www.mikenavin.com Mike Navin

    I love Burpees and use them in the classes that I teach (and they hate them!).

    Thanks for the tip on adding the tuck jump at the top of the movement. I’m going add that into my routines.

    • admin

      The tuck jump at the end is brutal.

      When I perform burpees like this I pretend that I’m in some video game where I have to duck under a moving object and then jump over another moving object.
      This makes it somewhat more fun and bearable.

  • http://trickingyourmetabolism.com Kyle – Tricking Your Metabolism

    Have you seen the video on YouTube of the guy that does like 100 burpees in 5 minutes or something? It’s insane! By the end, he’s barely hopping up off the floor, but every pushup is all the way down. It’s so nuts, but you gotta be blown away by that guy’s stamina. Great post to expand on this!


  • http://www.bloomtofit.com Srdjan – Bloom to Fit

    Have you ever seen the burpee mile workout? Basically you make 2 laps around the track with ONLY burpees. The jumping portion is jumping forward as far as you can.

    You can youtube it I can’t wait to give it a try!
    Srdjan – Bloom to Fit recently posted..Ultimate Upper Body Workout for Women

  • leanandmuscular

    I have been training for years and have always had access to gym equipment, but I have been working abroad the last 6 months and have not been able to get to a gym, I have been doing really intense bodyweight and burpee workouts as part of my interval training, doing the prison-style descending burpee ladder, and I must say I am probably in better shape now than I have been in a long time, all thanks to the burpee!

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  • Ronnie L. Wyrick

    Any workouts that are easy on the wrist-carpel tunnel.

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