Intensify Your Workout With These 7 Burpee Variations

If you’re always looking for the toughest moves to incorporate into your HIIT workouts, then we’re willing to bet you add a minute or two of burpees into your routine to get your heart pumping and blood moving. Burpees aren’t just great for raising your heart rate — they incorporate your legs, abs, and arms so you receive benefits to your whole body in one swift exercise. After multiple reps, you can really feel the burn.

To perform the perfect burpee, you’ll need to incorporate endurance, strength (especially on those push-ups when you’ve reached the floor), agility, and balance. You start this classic exercise by jumping up with arms overhead and then quickly squatting down to the floor, placing both hands on the floor in front of you. Then, jump your feet back into a push-up position in one swift motion, and perform a push-up. Jump your feet back in toward your hands, and jump from the ground, raising arms overhead once again. Familiar with this signature move? Try taking it up a notch with these seven burpee variations that are even tougher than the original.

1. Push-up jack burpee

Athletic build women in sports clothes

Burpees are an incredibly challenging exercise. | iStock.com/Milan Markovic

Want to add a little more cardio intensity to the already-tiring burpee? This variation from Livestrong.com incorporates different footwork as you go down into your push-up position, so you’ll be working your abs from a slightly different angle. Start this move as you would with a standard burpee. As you jump down to the floor and place your hands on the ground in your push-up position, jump your legs out wide as if you’re performing a jumping jack on the ground. From this wide-leg stance, perform your push-up, and then jump your legs back in toward your hands and under your shoulders. Complete the rest of the move and repeat.

2. Staggered feet burpee

close-up of a man's legs as he lunges

Incorporate these burpee variations for a seriously intense workout. | iStock.com

You’ll really feel this burpee variation by Men’s Health in your legs, as the staggered stance will burn your thighs, calves, and glutes like few other exercises you’ve ever done. Start with your traditional burpee and go down into your push-up. Perform your push-up, and as you bring your feet back in, stagger them into a lunge with one leg in front of the other. As you jump up to complete the move, push off with your front leg, and bring your legs back together as you land. Repeat the move and alternate the lunge so both legs get an equal workout.

3. Plank row to burpee

Young man doing planking exercise

Try out this plank row to burpee for added intensity. | iStock.com

You’ll get a little more muscle power out of this move from FitbodyHQ, as you’ll be incorporating light weights to really help shape your back and shoulders. Begin with light weights (five to eight pounds here works well, but choose what works best for you), and hold one in each hand. Start your burpee with your jump, but keep your hands controlled and by your side while holding the weights. Then, go down into your push-up position while you’re still holding your weights. Instead of performing a push-up, you’re going to perform a row here with each hand, keeping elbows pinned to your side as you work your back. You might want to lift your hips here, but stay in your plank position while you row to get the most out of the exercise. After you’ve rowed with each arm, jump your feet back in, and jump back to standing. Repeat.

4. Candlestick burpee

Woman doing abdominal exercise

The candlestick burpee variation really works your core. | iStock.com/undrey

If you’re ready to incorporate two core moves in one burpee, then you have to try this candlestick variation by Lifting Revolution. To complete this move, start your burpee with your jump, and instead of coming down into your push-up position, you’re going to sink down into your hips and roll onto your back, keeping your arms extended overhead the whole time. Lift your hips and keep your legs straight and together to go into your “candlestick,” pushing your toes upward as you roll all the way on to your upper back. Your goal for the candlestick is to form as straight of a vertical line as possible from your hips to your upper back. Then, roll forward out of the candlestick and place your hands on the ground in front of you. Jump your legs back into your push-up position, perform your push-up, and complete the move.

5. Mountain climber tuck jump burpee

Man getting ready to do mountain climber

Mountain climbers and burpees are tough together. | iStock.com

This burpee from Daily Burn involves some serious calorie burn, as it’s one of the most intense cardio variations yet. To start this move, you’re going to perform a tuck jump. As you jump up, tuck your knees up toward your chest and hit your hands on your knees. Land gently with knees slightly bent, and go down into your push-up position. Instead of a push-up, perform mountain climbers in this position, quickly bringing an alternating knee into your chest. After you’ve alternated knees twice, jump your feet back in toward the center, and perform your tuck jump once again to complete one rep. Repeat for as many times as you can before tiring out.

6. Burpee with squat hold

Burpees with squat holds make for a killer leg workout

Burpees with squat holds make for a killer leg workout. | iStock.com

Squats are awesome for building strength in your glutes and thighs, and this burpee variation by Women’s Health incorporates an extra workout for your legs. You don’t have to start with a jump for this one — start by dropping down to the floor into your push-up position, and perform your push-up. Then, bring your legs back in as you would normally. Instead of pushing off into a jump, lift your hands off the ground and hold this squat for a couple of seconds. Bring your hands back down to the ground to start up another rep.

7. Pike push-up burpee

Man performing push-ups

This burpee works your shoulders and abs. | iStock.com

If you’ve wanted to give your shoulders and abs that extra boost during your workout routine, then try this burpee variation by Livestrong.com. Start with your traditional burpee, and complete your push-up. As soon as you’ve completed your push-up, pike your hips up toward the ceiling and keep your legs straight, bringing your toes in toward your chest. You should focus on your back being straight here, and as you bring your feet in, your shoulders should rotate upwards near your ears. Tuck your chin and look between your feet as you come into your pike to complete this position. Then, push your feet back into your original push-up position, jump feet back in, and complete the move.

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