How To Perform Burpees Correctly And Maximize Benefits

Burpees are a powerhouse exercise that can boost your strength and cardiovascular fitness if done correctly.

To perform burpees properly, follow each step with precision: start in a standing position, squat down, kick back into a plank, do a push-up, return to squat, and jump up explosively.

Keep reading for a detailed guide on perfecting your burpee form and maximizing their benefits.

Performing Burpees Correctly

Performing burpees correctly is key to reaping their full benefits and avoiding injury.

Let's break down each component of the burpee to ensure you're doing it right from start to finish.

Starting Position

Begin by standing tall with your feet shoulder-width apart.

This stance ensures stability and balance throughout the movement.

Keep your arms at your sides and distribute your weight evenly in your heels.

This weight distribution is crucial as it provides a solid base and helps prevent strain on your knees and lower back.

Squat Down

From the standing position, lower your body into a squat.

Focus on bending your knees and pushing your hips back as if sitting in an invisible chair.

As you squat, place your hands on the ground directly in front of you.

Ensure your hands are flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart, to create a stable base for the next movement.

Plank Position

With your hands firmly on the ground, kick your feet back to extend your body into a plank position.

Engage your core muscles to maintain a straight line from your head to your heels.

This core engagement is vital for protecting your lower back and ensuring the effectiveness of the exercise.

Check that your shoulders are aligned directly over your wrists to avoid putting unnecessary strain on your joints.


Once in the plank position, lower your chest to the floor to perform a push-up.

Keep your elbows close to your body and maintain a straight line from head to heels.

If you're a beginner or find push-ups challenging, you can skip this step and simply hold the plank position.

Performing the push-up enhances upper body strength and adds intensity to the burpee.

Return to Squat

After completing the push-up, jump your feet back towards your hands, returning to the squat position.

Focus on landing with your feet flat on the ground and your knees bent to absorb the impact.

Make sure your squat form is correct, with your hips back and your chest up, to prepare for the final explosive movement.

Jump Up

From the squat position, jump explosively into the air, reaching your arms overhead.

Aim to land softly with your knees slightly bent to absorb the impact and prevent injury.

This jump engages your lower body muscles, particularly your quads and glutes, and adds a cardiovascular element to the exercise.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Even a well-intentioned workout can be compromised by poor form.

Here are the most common mistakes people make when doing burpees and how to avoid them.

Not Engaging the Core

One of the biggest mistakes is neglecting to engage the core throughout the exercise.

Your core stabilizes your entire body and helps maintain proper alignment.

When you don't engage your core, you risk lower back strain and decrease the exercise's effectiveness.

Always tighten your abdominal muscles, especially during the plank and push-up phases, to ensure stability and proper form.

Arching the Back Excessively

Another common error is arching the back excessively, particularly during the plank and push-up stages.

This can lead to unnecessary strain on your spine and reduce the effectiveness of the exercise.

To prevent this, focus on keeping your body in a straight line from head to heels.

Engage your core and glutes to maintain this alignment, and avoid letting your hips sag or rise too high.

Incorrect Hand Placement

Improper hand placement can throw off your balance and put undue stress on your wrists and shoulders.

Your hands should be flat on the ground, shoulder-width apart, with fingers pointing forward.

If your hands are too close together or too far apart, it can lead to discomfort and potential injury.

Check your hand placement before kicking your feet back into the plank position to ensure stability.

Inadequate Squat Depth

Not squatting deeply enough is another frequent mistake.

A shallow squat doesn't engage your muscles fully and reduces the workout's effectiveness.

When squatting, ensure your hips drop below your knees, as if you're sitting in an invisible chair.

This depth engages your glutes and quads more effectively, contributing to a more robust exercise.

Improper Landing Technique

Landing improperly from the jump can lead to knee and ankle injuries.

It's essential to land softly with your knees slightly bent to absorb the impact.

Avoid locking your knees or landing flat-footed, as this can cause joint stress.

Aim to land on the balls of your feet first, then roll back to your heels, maintaining a slight bend in your knees to cushion the impact.

Maximizing the Benefits of Burpees

To get the most out of burpees, it's essential to focus not only on performing them correctly but also on how to integrate them into your workout routine effectively.

Here's everything you need to know to maximize the benefits of this powerful exercise.

Consistency and Volume

Creating a regular burpee routine is key to building strength, endurance, and cardiovascular fitness.

Aim to incorporate burpees into your workout schedule at least three times a week.

For optimal results, try performing 3-4 sets of 10-15 repetitions per session.

If you prefer time-based intervals, consider doing burpees for 30 seconds on and 30 seconds off, gradually increasing the duration as your fitness improves.

Consistency helps build muscle memory and enhances overall performance.

Increasing Intensity

As you become more comfortable with basic burpees, increasing the intensity can help you continue to progress.

Variations such as box jump burpees or weighted burpees (using a weight vest) add a new challenge and can significantly boost your strength and power.

Incorporating additional movements like mountain climbers within the burpee sequence can also increase the workout's intensity and engage different muscle groups.

These variations keep your routine dynamic and prevent plateaus.

Proper Rest and Recovery

Rest and recovery are crucial for maintaining high-quality reps and preventing injury.

Ensure you take adequate rest between sets, allowing your muscles to recover and avoid fatigue.

This rest period helps maintain proper form and reduces the risk of overuse injuries.

Additionally, focus on post-workout recovery techniques such as stretching, hydration, and proper nutrition to support muscle repair and growth.

Gradual Progression

Starting with basic burpees is essential for building a solid foundation.

As your strength and endurance improve, you can gradually progress to more challenging variations.

Begin with modified burpees if you're a beginner—skip the push-up or the jump until you build enough strength and confidence.

Gradual progression ensures steady improvement and reduces the risk of injury from overexertion.

Core Engagement

Keeping your core engaged throughout the exercise is crucial for stability and effectiveness.

Techniques such as consciously tightening your abdominal muscles during each phase of the burpee can enhance core activation.

Engaging your core not only protects your lower back but also maximizes the workout's impact on your abdominal muscles.

Strong core engagement leads to better overall performance and functional strength.

Integrating Burpees into Your Fitness Routine

Incorporating burpees into your fitness routine can provide a versatile and effective workout that targets multiple muscle groups and boosts cardiovascular health.

Here’s how to seamlessly integrate burpees into your regimen for maximum benefits.

Sample Workout Plans Incorporating Burpees

To start, consider adding burpees to your existing workout sessions.

For a full-body workout, you can include a set of burpees between other exercises.

For instance, after completing a set of squats, do a set of burpees before moving on to push-ups.

You could also dedicate specific days to high-intensity interval training (HIIT) where burpees play a central role.

A sample HIIT routine might include 30 seconds of burpees followed by 30 seconds of rest, repeated for 10-15 minutes.

This approach keeps your heart rate up and maximizes calorie burn.

Combining Burpees with Other Exercises

Burpees can be effectively combined with other exercises to create a comprehensive workout routine.

For example, you might pair burpees with strength training exercises like lunges or kettlebell swings to build muscle while also enhancing cardiovascular endurance.

Alternatively, you can use burpees as part of a circuit training session, alternating between burpees, planks, jumping jacks, and other bodyweight exercises.

This not only adds variety but also targets different muscle groups, ensuring a balanced workout.

Tracking Progress and Setting Goals

Tracking your progress is crucial for staying motivated and seeing improvements.

Start by recording the number of burpees you can do in a minute and set incremental goals to increase this number over time.

Use a fitness journal or an app to log your workouts, noting how many sets and repetitions you complete each session.

Setting specific, measurable goals, such as “I want to do 20 burpees in a row without stopping,” can provide a clear target to aim for and help you stay focused on your progress.

Staying Motivated and Overcoming Plateaus

Staying motivated can be challenging, especially when progress seems slow.

To keep your enthusiasm high, try varying your burpee routine by incorporating different variations or increasing intensity.

Partner workouts can also be motivating; having a workout buddy can make the exercise more enjoyable and add a level of accountability.

If you hit a plateau, reassess your routine and make adjustments, such as increasing rest intervals or trying new burpee variations.

Celebrating small milestones along the way, like completing a certain number of burpees without stopping, can also keep you motivated.


Mastering burpees and integrating them into your fitness routine can significantly enhance your strength, endurance, and overall fitness.

By focusing on proper form, consistency, and progressive challenges, you'll maximize their benefits and avoid common mistakes.

Keep practicing and stay motivated to achieve your fitness goals with this versatile and effective exercise.