Burpees – The Perfect Exercise

Possibly one of the most deceiving exercises, burpees are quite easily the perfect exercise. Giving you a full body workout, when it comes to functional fitness training, burpees will make you stronger and fitter. Guaranteed!


What is a Burpee?

If you’re asking this question, then we’d like to introduce you to the humble and deceiving lung and body burner, which has all functional fitness and CrossFit enthusiasts cringing at the thought of doing them in bulk.

A single burpee is a combination of a squat, push-up and jump. You start from standing, drop into a squat with your hands landing on the ground, transition into a push-up (chest to ground), quickly move/jump back up into a squat, and then jump up to finish (clapping your hands above your head is best practice).

This video below is a great demonstration of a burpee.

Benefits of Burpees

Burpees work your entire body, using almost all of your joints, your legs, arms, chest and core. Burpees are also a great application of an aerobic exercise, which is a high-intensity workout – see our running feature on high-intensity interval training for other examples.

Because it is an aerobic exercise, it will boost your metabolism for longer than long slow training does (like an hour-long moderate run). You will reap the benefits all day long after an intense short burpee workout.

Burpees increase your motor fitness – which is the interaction between your nervous system and your muscles. It requires balance, agility, coordination and proprioception (i.e. awareness of the position of one’s body).

Burpees are often seen in major functional fitness routines, like CrossFit, proving they are uniquely positioned to be effective and essential.

They require no equipment, making them easy to do anywhere and anytime, regardless of any excuses you could come up with. To see more great ideas for exercises that require no equipment, see our feature on no equipment workouts – for functional fitness and CrossFit.

Burpee Challenges

A common benchmark is doing 100 burpees for (best) time. Try it, but be strict on your form – ensure your chest hits the deck and you jump straight up and clap your hands for each repetition.

There’s the 100 Day Burpee Challenge, where you do one burpee on day one, two on day two, and so on until 100 days and 100 burpees. You can shorten its duration and do them in increments of five per day.

For the CrossFit Games Open 2012 you were required to complete as many burpees in seven minutes as possible, touching a target/marker six inches above your maximum standing reach. It looked simple, yet completely floored so many…


As burpees are a no-nonsense and highly efficient exercise, you know that you can’t go wrong with adding it to your training routine. If you haven’t already, start banging out your burpees regularly and reap the rewards!


Do you incorporate burpees into your routine? What burpee workouts have you done that are challenging?

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