Burpees are already bad news (in a good, tone-every-inch-of-your-body way!), but if you’re ready for even more of a challenge, variations on the dreaded move are favorites of elite CrossFitters everywhere. Add some to your next workout to burn even more calories, sculpt your muscles, and challenge your limits. Ready to be sore tomorrow? Learn how to do the classic burpee and which variations CrossFit athletes love to hate below.
First, if you’ve never done a burpee before, it’s time to learn the basics. After all, the classic move is what 2014 Reebok CrossFit Games winner Camille Leblanc-Bazinet calls, “the worst one of all,” which is reason enough to see if you can tackle it. Here’s how to do a classic burpee:
- Lower into a crouching squat with your hands on the floor.
- Do a squat thrust by jumping your feet back into a plank position.
- Do one basic push-up, bending the elbows and then straightening back to plank.
- Jump the feet forward to the hands, and come into a squat.
- Do an explosive jump straight up, getting as much height as you can.
- Start with 10 burpees, or see how many you can do in a minute.
Burpee Box Jump
CrossFitter Amanda Douglas calls the burpee box jump an “integral part” of her workout routine. “It combines my favorite and least favorite CrossFit moves,” she tells Self. Get ready for toned arms, legs, and core with this explosive move.
Sources: CrossFit, Amanda Douglas
- Start in a push-up position with your chest to the ground, in front of a box (learn more about finding the right size for box jumps here). Push up using your arms and core, while jumping your feet in towards the spot where your hands were (above).
- Swing your arms back and jump on the box. Stand up tall on the box, fully extending (above). Jump down (or step down) and back into a plank position. Repeat!
Reverse Burpee Box Jump
“If you add anything to a burpee, you’re just making a bad thing worse,” says CrossFit ambassador Josh Everett, but that doesn’t stop him from sharing his favorite burpee variation, the reverse burpee box jump. Like the previous move, the exercise ends with a plyometric jump onto a box, but instead of starting on your stomach, you start on your back.
- Lay on the ground in front of your box or step on your back, with the box a few inches from your feet. Make sure you find a nonslip, sturdy box or step at a height you feel comfortable jumping on.
- Raise up in a sit-up and continue the motion until you are standing. Try not to use your hands to push yourself off the floor as you raise to standing.
- Once you are in standing position facing the box, perform a squat, swinging your arms back to help propel you into the jump.
- As you raise up from your squat in a swift motion, jump up onto the top of the box so that your entire feet are on the box. Land softly in a squat and slowly raise to standing. Step or jump down.
Blair Morrison, owner of CrossFit Anywhere, favors this variation not only for its backside-toning effects, but also its mental ones too. “It requires you to think in the middle of it,” he says. “You have to pay attention. You just can’t zone out.”
To do a burpee lunge, perform a classic burpee, but instead of jumping with your legs together at the end, land with your legs split into a lunge. Alternate which leg is in front each time you land, like you are doing a split lunge jump. Don’t worry, “you’ll mess up,” says Blair, but the important part is that you’re keeping your mind engaged while you perform the exercise.