Burpee Variations for Beginners

Burpee Variations for Beginners: Mastering Form and Progression

Burpees are a high-intensity, full-body exercise that can be modified to suit any fitness level. Often associated with challenging workout routines, burpees for beginners can be simplified to encourage proper form and gradual progression. Here’s how beginners can incorporate burpee variations into their fitness journey.

Understanding the Standard Burpee

Before diving into variations, it’s crucial to understand the standard burpee. It is a four-step exercise that includes a squat, kick back into a plank position, a push-up, and a jump up from the squat. While it engages several muscle groups, it’s often the coordination and the explosive power that challenge beginners.

Step-by-Step Burpee Variations

1. Squat Thrusts:

  • Begin with squat thrusts. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, squat down, place your hands on the ground, and step back into a plank position. Step forward into your squat again and stand up. This variation omits the jump and push-up.

2. Half Burpees:

  • Progress to half burpees. Perform a squat thrust, but instead of stepping, jump your feet back and forth. Still, skip the push-up and the jump at the end.

3. Burpee Walkouts:

  • For burpee walkouts, start in a standing position, bend at the waist and walk your hands into a plank position. Walk your hands back and return to standing. This focuses on the upper body and core without the impact of jumping.

4. Push-up Burpees:

  • Once comfortable, add a push-up. Do a half burpee and add a push-up when in the plank position. This can be done on your knees to reduce the difficulty.

5. Full Burpees (without jump):

  • Combine the squat thrust, push-up, and return to a squat, but rise to stand without the jump. This reduces the cardiovascular load while still training the motion.

6. Jump Up Burpees:

  • Finally, introduce the jump. Complete all previous steps and add an explosive jump from the squat position. To reduce intensity, jump without raising your hands overhead.

Tips for Proper Form and Safety

  • Alignment: Keep your spine neutral during planks and push-ups.
  • Control: Avoid letting your hips sag or pike up in the plank.
  • Depth: In the squat, keep your thighs parallel to the ground.
  • Landing: Land softly on your feet to absorb impact.

Advancing Your Burpee Workout

As you gain strength and confidence, you can increase the intensity of your burpees by:

  • Speeding up the pace.
  • Adding a vertical jump for height.
  • Incorporating a BOSU ball or medicine ball for an unstable surface.


Burpees are versatile and can be tailored to any fitness level. Beginners should focus on mastering each movement pattern with good form before adding intensity. By starting with these variations, you can gradually build up to a full burpee, ensuring a safe and effective workout. Remember, consistency is key, and progression will come with time and practice. Always listen to your body and consult with fitness professionals if you’re unsure about your form or progression. Stay motivated, and enjoy the journey to a fitter, healthier you!

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