Are burpees good for you?

They can get your heart pumping and your muscles working overtime, but are burpees really good for you?

Woman performs burpee
(Image credit: Getty)

Whether you love or hate the traditional burpee, you can't deny that it's an incredibly effective exercise. Pump out a few of these in a row and you'll find your heart rate rockets and your muscles start aching. But are they actually good for you?

We put the question to an expert trainer, who agreed that the high-energy move has a number of health benefits. It's possible that a poorly-executed burpee could result in back strain though, so here's how to do it properly and how to adapt it for injuries. 

How to do a burpee

A burpee is basically a plank-hold and push-up followed by a squat jump. When it's done correctly, the compound exercise will work multiple muscle groups found in your core, legs, arms, chest and shoulders. 

Below, personal trainer Sana Shirvani gives a demonstration and offers some tips on how to do one properly.

  • Start standing, with your feet shoulder width apart and hands by your side.
  • Squat down and extend your arms down towards the ground, then jump your feet back into a high plank position. 
  • Use your core to stabilize yourself in that plank position, you do not want your hips to sink down towards the ground. 
  • Lower yourself until your chest is just above the ground, then push back up to a high plank position. 
  • Jump your feet towards your hands, keeping your hips high. Try to jump the feet nice and wide to give you a neutral spine rather than flexing heavily through your back. 
  • Finally, explosively jump upwards, extending through your ankles, knees and hips. Land softly and safely before doing the next round.
Sana Shirvani
Sana Shirvani