What Muscles do Burpees Work?

If you're looking for a great full body exercise that will work out a variety of muscles, then you should try doing burpees.

Burpees are a great functional exercise that can be used in a bodyweight workout which will get your muscles working but will also help your cardiovascular endurance.

But if you are a looking to find out exactly what muscles are worked when performing burpees the answer is below.


What is a Burpee?

How To Do a Burpee

Burpees are a very challenging exercise that involve starting in a standing position.

You then squat down, put your hands on the ground, hop your feet back to enter a plank position, do a push up, pop your feet back into a low squat position, stand up, add a little jump to the equation, and return to the starting position.

As you can see, there are many movements involved in doing a burpee, and as you can probably guess, this means that they work out a lot of different muscles.

Related: Hack Squat Alternative Exercises


How To Do a Burpee

How To Do a Burpee

Before we talk about the different muscles that burpees work, let's first quickly provide you with a step by step guide on how to do them.

  1. Start by standing upright with your feet at shoulder width apart.
  2. In a quick but fluid motion, squat down to the ground and shoot your legs out behind you into a plank position. This should be a high plank position.
  3. Slowly lower your body down towards the ground in a controlled and fluent motion, but don't lower your hips before you lower your chest.
  4. Hold this position for one or two seconds, and then do a push-up to push yourself back up into the high plank position.
  5. From the high plank position, you're then going to retract your legs and resume the low squat position.
  6. From the low squat position, push yourself back upwards to a standing position, but before you stop the movement, jump up as high as you can.
  7. If you want to make the movement even harder when you jump upwards, tuck your knees up into your chest.
  8. Try to perform at least 10 reps of this exercise for at least three sets.

 Related: Find out what muscles are targeted by Side Lunges.


What Muscles do Burpees Work?

What Muscles do Burpees Work?

The reason why burpees are such a heart pumping exercise is that they work a wide range of muscles when performing each rep.

It is by far one of the best full body exercises that you could possibly do, because it effectively combine squats, push-ups, and other exercises into one. Let's take a quick look at all of the muscles worked out by doing burpees.

  • Quads: One of the primary muscles that you work out when you do burpees are your quads or quadriceps, which are the muscles located on your thigh, the front of your thigh. Your quadriceps get worked out during the pushing motion of the burpee, or in other words when you stand back up from the squatting position, and when you jump.
  • Glutes and Hamstrings: Your glutes are also worked out when you do burpees, mainly during the lowering phase of the squat. You need both your hamstrings and your glutes for the first part of the squatting motion. In fact, the plank position, to a certain degree, may also put a bit of strain on your hamstrings.
  • Calves: When you do burpees, you also work out your calves, which is true during virtually all parts of the motion, including when you're squatting up and down, holding the plank position, and when you jump.
  • Core: Your core muscles also get engaged when you do burpees, which is especially the case when you're holding the plank position. To make the exercise more difficult and engaging for your core, try holding the plank position for longer.
  • Chest: Seeing as the burpee involves a push up, you can work out your chest to a large degree. If you want to work out your inner chest more, keep your hands closer together, and if you want to focus more on your outer chest, spread your hands apart.
  • Shoulders: Another muscle that gets worked is your front deltoid, which is true when you do a push up, which is of course a part of the burpee.
  • Triceps: Your triceps also get exercised when you do burpees, which once again has to do with that push up, which largely involves the use of your triceps muscles.

Related: 5 Best Leg Extension Alternatives


The Benefits of Doing Burpees

Before we call it a day, let's take a quick look at the main benefits of doing burpees.

  • Burpees are full body movements, which means that you get to exercise a whole lot of muscles at once, effectively eliminating various individual exercises and helping you to save a lot of time.
  • Burpees are a very functional movement, as they help to improve your core strength, wrist strength, leg strength, and more. Thanks to this, they also help keep you mobile and help you balance as well.
  • Burpees are a bodyweight exercise, which means that there's still a certain amount of strength training involved here, not to mention that you don't need any equipment besides your own body.
  • Burpees also make for a good cardiovascular workout, because here you're doing one fluid motion over and over again, and it's quite the difficult one at that.


Rounding Up


What it really comes down to is that it would be a real shame to not add this exercise to your routine, seeing as burpees have so many different benefits.

Author's Photo

William Parrett

Will, co-founder of Home Gym Supply, launched the company in 2019 after 15-years in the fitness industry. His expertise stems not only from his professional background but also from his athletic pursuits. A former competitor in the World Beauty Fitness & Fashion (WBFF) and a competitive rugby player, Will has always been dedicated to health and fitness.