Even if you don’t consider yourself an avid workout enthusiast, you’ve likely heard of burpees. Burpees are a high-intensity calisthenics exercise, a type of activity that uses your body weight.
With calisthenics exercises, you can improve not only strength and endurance, but also coordination and flexibility.
When working out, you may wonder how effective an exercise is relative to how many calories it burns. The number of calories burned during physical activity varies with weight, intensity, and other factors.
This article will take a closer look at how many calories burpees burn, how to do them, and other benefits of doing burpees.
An American woman’s current average weight is 171 pounds, which means that she would burn about 652 calories per hour performing burpees. A man’s average weight is 200 pounds, and he would burn 762 calories per hour (
Let’s break this number down to something more practical:
By the numbers
- Roughly 10 calories are burned for every minute of burpees performed.
- It takes most people around three seconds to do a single burpee.
- Three seconds per burpee equals 20 burpees per minute, depending on speed and frequency.
- Performing 100 burpees will burn around 50 calories.
After doing some simple math, we can see that it takes roughly 20 burpees to burn around 10 calories. However, weight can affect the number of calories burned during exercise as well.
According to Harvard Medical School, when performing 30 minutes of vigorous calisthenics:
Weight and calories
- A 155-pound person will burn about 1.24 times more calories than a 125-pound person.
- A 185-pound person will burn about 1.48 times more calories than a 125-pound person.
Given this information, the average person can burn anywhere from 8 to 12 calories for every 20 burpees.
Below is a chart that may help you determine how many calories you could burn while performing burpees, depending on your weight.
|Weight||Number of burpees||Calories|
If you’re performing a single burpee every three seconds, you can expect to complete roughly 20 burpees per minute. If you execute them more slowly, you might do 10 to 15 burpees per minute instead.
Also, different variations of the exercise may change the amount of time it takes you to do a single burpee.
The easiest way to think of a burpee is that it’s a full plank followed by a squat jump. Here is a great visual tutorial for how to do a burpee:
Here are some step-by-step instructions:
- Stand facing forward. Your feet should be hip-width apart, and your arms should be at your sides.
- Lower yourself down into a squat by pushing your hips back and bending your knees. Focus your weight on your heels rather than onto the balls of your feet.
- Lean forward and place your palms flat on the floor in front of you. The position of your palms should be narrower than your feet.
- Jump your feet back, stretching your legs, and landing on the balls of your feet. Think of this transition as jumping into a full plank. During this position, engage the abs for support and be sure not to raise or sag your back.
- Jump your feet forward again until they are positioned next to your hands.
- Reach up with your arms over your head, jump up, and then reach back down to cycle through the entire move again.
Although the directions above are for a standard burpee, other popular burpee variations include:
- adding a pushup while in the plank position
- adding a plank jack while in the plank position
- adding a tuck jump while in the standing position
No matter which type of burpee variation you choose to do, learning the proper form is the best way to avoid injury.
Burpees are a full-body calisthenics workout that focuses on building strength and endurance. They can also have other health-related benefits (
In a 2014 community-based study, researchers found that bodyweight exercises, such as burpees, significantly reduced blood pressure in healthy adult women (
Not only are burpees a great strength-building exercise, but they can also be performed as part of a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) regimen. HIIT focuses on bursts of intense exercise alternated with periods of recovery.
The benefits of HIIT have been extensively studied for a variety of conditions, including type 2 diabetes, obesity, and heart health. It may improve cardio-metabolic health and burn calories more effectively than some other forms of exercise (
There are many reasons why someone may not be able to safely or effectively perform a burpee. Still, there are plenty of similar calisthenics exercises that you can do instead.
Check out some of these burpee alternatives for an equally effective workout:
Jumping jacks are another full-body calisthenics exercise that can be performed as a HIIT workout. Unlike burpees, jumping jacks do not place as much body weight pressure on the shoulders.
Jump squats allow you to perform the last portion of a burpee without having to do the plank. This exercise will place similar pressure on the knees as burpees do, but again, not as much pressure on the shoulders.
Pushups are a great beginner’s full-body calisthenics move that places minimal strain on the joints. The shoulders and abs remain engaged, and depending on the pushup variation, so do the legs and glutes.
Plank jacks are a great alternative to burpees when you’re unable to transition between plank and standing. Like burpees, they use the plank position but do not return to standing, which could mean less strain on the knees.
Plank jacks also make a great HIIT workout, just like burpees.
It can take some time to develop a proper form or complete a full workout doing a standard burpee. To help increase your strength and endurance, you can modify it. Try these adjustments:
- Perform each move one at a time.
- Step into and out of plank rather than jump.
- Stand to finish rather than jump to finish.
Burpees are an excellent calisthenics exercise that burns anywhere from 8 to 12 calories per minute. If you are new to training or have never done one before, it’s essential to learn the proper form to avoid injury.
If you’re looking to round out your exercise program with more calisthenics moves like burpees, an exercise professional can help. The American College of Sports Medicine’s ProFinder is an excellent source to find an exercise professional near you.