The burpee is exactly the type of tough exercise that can make you scream and run out the doors of your gym, never to return. But instead of allowing yourself to be intimidated by the burpee's challenges, adjust it just a little to make it easier to accomplish. Once you've mastered the easy version, see if you can get through a standard burpee.
A standard burpee is a challenging body-weight exercise that requires the use of your entire body. To begin, get in a crouched position with your knees bent, your feet on the ground and your hands on the ground in front of your feet. Kick your feet backward into a pushup position, perform one pushup, jump back into the original crouched position and then jump upward, reaching as high as you can with your arms. This process counts as one repetition.
No Pushup Variation
Because the pushup is arguably the most challenging part of the burpee, especially after your body gets tired following a handful of reps, many trainers refer to a "baby burpee" as a burpee without the pushup. Otherwise, the process is the same; begin in a crouch and kick your legs back. Instead of lowering into a pushup, jump back into the crouch and then jump vertically.
If you want your burpee workout to include the physical benefits of the pushup but struggle with this part of the exercise, use a bench to help you. Stand in front of a bench and begin by placing your hands on the bench with your feet in front of the bench and your body bent; this pose represents the crouch in a standard burpee. Kick your feet back, perform a pushup with the help of the bench, jump back to the starting position and then take your vertical jump.
If you can't perform a standard pushup and don't have a bench off which to try a pushup, it's possible to do a baby burpee close to a wall. Crouch next to a wall, and then stand up, place your hands on the wall and do a pushup off the wall, which is sometimes known as a vertical pushup. Fitness guru Kathy Smith recommends this baby burpee variation for those with shoulder and knee pain. If you can still manage a jump after your wall pushup, take the jump and then descend into your crouch.
Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.