5 Burpee Variations To Get Faster

Turbo-charge your running routine with these creative, next-level burpee variations. – By K. Aleisha Fetters

Thomas_EyeDesign/Getty Images

Thomas_EyeDesign/Getty Images

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a single exercise that’s more efficient than the burpee.

In one (very sweaty) move, it simultaneously strengthens your body, kicks your cardio into high gear, and boosts your ability to quickly produce power – a critical factor if you are trying to shave a few seconds off that 5-K time. Plus, you can perform burpees anytime, anywhere. Use a few light sets as a dynamic pre-run warm-up (along with this set), crank some out on an off day, or really challenge yourself by doing a few in the middle of a high-intensity interval run.

The classic burpee works great, but the move can can be adapted in creative ways once you’ve mastered the tried-and-true approach. To prove our point, we recruited the ever-creative Mike Donavanik, to share five burpee variations that should be part of every runner’s workout routine.

1. Traditional Burpee

Okay, we’d be remiss not to mention old faithful first. Master this before moving onto the other burpee variations.

How to do it: Get in a high-plank position, hands directly under your shoulders with your body forming a straight line from head to toes. Perform one standard pushup, then kick your feet forward so that they land to the outside of your hands. Lift your hands off the floor and explosively jump straight up into the air. Land softly, coming down into a deep squat. Place your hands on the floor and kick your legs back into the plank position. That’s one rep. Perform five sets of six to 10 reps.

2. Single-Leg Burpee

Running is a single-leg sport. At any given second, only one foot is on the ground. The same holds true for this next-level burpee variation, helping you develop single-leg strength and endurance.

How to do it: Get in a high-plank position and lift one foot into the air. From here, perform a pushup, then kick your planted foot forward so that it lands to the outside of your hand. With your one foot still elevated, lift your hands off the floor and explosively jump straight up into the air and land softly. Place your hands back on the floor and kick your planted foot back to return to the plank position. That’s one rep. Perform five reps, then repeat on the opposite side for a total of five sets.

3. Swing-Through Burpee

As close to running as a burpee will ever get, this variation boosts your unilateral strength and stability while honing in on your stride’s swing-through phase.

How to do it: Get in a high-plank position. Perform a pushup, then kick one foot forward so that it lands to the outside of your hand. Shift your weight into that planted foot and hip, and lift your hands off the floor as you explosively jump straight up into the air, swinging your opposite leg up as a high knee in front of your torso. Land softly on the side of your planted foot, then kick both feet back to return to the plank position. Repeat on the opposite leg. That’s one rep. Perform five sets of five reps.

4. Jump-Lunge Burpee

The burpee and lunge, together at last. This plyo-hybrid is all about building strength, stability, and power through the hips. Prioritise form over rep count.

How to do it: Get in a high-plank position. Perform a pushup, then kick your feet forward so that they land to the outside of your hands. Lift your hands off the floor and explosively jump straight up into the air. Land softly in a lunge, then immediately jump back up, scissoring your legs to reverse the lunge. Do one more small jump and land with your feet together in a squat position. Place your hands on the floor and kick your feet back to return to the plank position. That’s one rep. Perform five sets of five reps.

5. Pop-Up Burpee

Strong glutes are a runner’s best friend, increasing speed and power, and warding off issues such as IT-band syndrome and runner’s knee. This move delivers in the most brutal way possible.

How to do it: Get in a high-plank position. Perform a pushup, shift your weight into your hands, and pull your knees forward so that they end up to the inside of your hands on the floor. (Don’t let your knees smack into the floor.) Lift your hands off the floor so that you’re sitting on your knees and your toes are braced and flexed on the floor. Swing your arms, drive through your feet, and snap your hips forward to jump up, landing in a squat position. Jump straight up into the air, land softly in a deep squat, then place your hands on the floor and kick your feet back to return to the plank position. That’s one rep. Perform five sets of six to 10 reps.

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