how to do Burpees

Mastering Burpees

A Comprehensive Guide to Proper Form, Muscle Engagement, and Injury Prevention

Let’s delve into the world of burpees, one of the most widely recognized and practiced bodyweight exercises. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the intricacies of this exercise, breaking it down step by step. We will not only discuss the muscles involved but also provide you with insights on how to perform burpees correctly and cover all the fundamental aspects of this dynamic movement.

Burpees have stood the test of time and have been embraced by fitness enthusiasts across the globe. They serve as an excellent warm-up routine prior to engaging in more intensive training sessions. Essentially, burpees combine the elements of a push-up and a squat, resulting in a full-body exercise that targets multiple muscle groups simultaneously.

To perform a burpee, you begin in a standing position with your feet shoulder-width apart. Then, you lower yourself into a squat position, ensuring your thighs are parallel to the ground.

Squat Position and Burpees

Next, you place your hands on the floor in front of you, just outside your feet, and transfer your weight onto your hands as you kick your feet back into a plank position.

Burpees and Plank

At this point, you can choose to perform a push-up by lowering your chest to the ground and then pushing yourself back up, engaging your chest, shoulders, and triceps. Alternatively, for a modified version, you can hold the plank position for a moment before moving on to the next step.

Burpees and Push ups

After completing the push-up or holding the plank, you bring your feet back towards your hands by hopping or stepping forward. Finally, with an explosive movement, you jump vertically, reaching your arms overhead, and then land softly to complete one repetition.

Burpees and Jumping

Burpees offer a versatile and efficient workout that engages numerous muscle groups. During the squat phase, your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes are primarily activated, providing strength and stability to your lower body.

Transitioning into the plank position challenges your core muscles, including the abdominals, obliques, and lower back, as they work to maintain a stable and aligned posture.

The push-up component targets the chest, shoulders, and triceps, enhancing upper body strength and endurance. Moreover, the explosive jump at the end of each repetition adds an element of plyometric training, promoting power development and cardiovascular fitness.

Burpees and Injury Prevention

While burpees have gained popularity for their effectiveness, it is important to address concerns regarding potential injuries. Some trainers caution that improper form during burpees can place excessive strain on the lower back and knees. However, when executed correctly and with proper care, burpees can be a safe and beneficial exercise.

It is crucial to prioritize proper technique, including maintaining a neutral spine, engaging the core muscles, and using controlled movements throughout the exercise. Additionally, it is advisable to listen to your body, start with a manageable number of repetitions, and gradually increase the intensity as your fitness level improves.

Remember, as with any physical activity, it is always recommended to consult with a qualified fitness professional or healthcare provider before incorporating burpees or any new exercise into your routine, especially if you have pre-existing health conditions or concerns.

By understanding the mechanics, muscle groups involved, and safety considerations, you can confidently embrace the challenge of burpees and reap the benefits they offer for overall strength, endurance, and cardiovascular fitness.

Burpees Step by Step

  1. Wide knees for a strong jump
  2. Jump and land softly into a squat
  3. Squat with your head in line with your tailbone, and chest up
  4. Place your hands down with your knees wider than your elbows
  5. Keep a flat back and jump your feet back so that you land on a plank
  6. Plank with your shoulders over your wrists, and a straight line from your head to your heels
  7. Lower your plank into a push-up keeping a straight line from your head to your heels
  8. Jump your knees to the outsides of your elbows
  9. Stand upright
  10. Repeat from the top!


  • Keep your fingers together when you do your Push up.
  • 3 set of 10 repetitions is more than enough, with 1-minute rest.

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Peter A Soto is a Black Belt with more than 20 years of experience, athlete, teacher and webmaster. Based in the city of San Diego, California.