Burpee variations you probably haven’t tried… and a quick history lesson of the magnificent burpee

The burpee. Such a simple movement with such endless possibility for variations.

So much possibility, I needed a second installment!

I also thought it was right to touch a little bit on the history of the burpee. Many people think it’s some sun salutation power yoga move gone wild. But the true credit really belongs to the movements name sake, Royal H. Burpee. He was a psychologist who worked for the greater New York YMCA. I believe that probably makes him Dr. Burpee – best name ever. I’d change my name and get a doctorate to make that happen.

Anyway, he developed the burpee test to challenge stamina, agility and coordination. 

The burpee developed as one of the few exercises that had no real consistency. Sometimes people did a push-up, sometimes they clapped at the top, sometimes they didn’t even hop. I think Crossfit has done a great job standardizing the move: elbows in, chest to deck, feet leave the floor.

And now for ten more variations, in case you’re already bored of last weeks. 

1. Single Arm Burpee – The whole movement with one arm. Make sure you have a solid single arm push-up and even more solid wrist before you take this one on.

2. Fence Under Burpee – Add a fence under instead of a push-up from the plank position… dragging your nose on the floor from down dog to up dog.

3. Parkour Burpee – These guys are nuts and so are their burpees. Do one burpee on the floor, hop up onto a table and do another there. Hop down and repeat.

4. Side Burpee – Place hands beside feet, hop into side plank and back to standing.

5. Lateral Jump Burpees – Replace hop up with lateral hop, either traveling to one side and back or moving back and forth.

6. Hurdle Burpees – Set up some ropes or hurdles and use the jump in the burpee to clear them straight on (harder) or laterally (easier).

7. Thruster Burpees – Instead of jumping your feet behind your hands, jump them beside them so your feet and hands make a straight line.

8. Pull-up or Muscle-up Burpees – Instead of a hop do either a pull-up or muscle-up. You can really get creative here: donkey pull-ups, single arm pull-ups, chin-ups, v pull-ups… just make sure the bar is high enough that you don’t smoke your head on it.

9. Hopper Burpees – Tie something near the level of your max jump height and aim to touch it each time.

10. Reverse Traveling Burpees – Once moving forward is too easy, replace hops with backwards hops.

l’d love to here your variations in the comments below.

Happy Burpeeing!!



Published by Yo Mama So Fit

Coach, obstacle athlete, runner and mother to Amelita and Seren.

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