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Burpees: Calories Burned and the Value of the Motion — Are They a Good Exercise Choice?

burpees calories

There is an unending amount of exercises recommended if you are trying to lose weight and improve your fitness.

How are you supposed to know which one to choose?

Burpees are a pretty trendy exercise, due in part to the growing popularity of CrossFit. But are they right for you?

We will look at some basic facts about burpees and help you decide if you should add them to your workout routine.


What is a Burpee?

Imagine throwing yourself down on the ground and then jumping back up again. Basically, that is what you do when you do burpees.

How to do a burpee:

  1. Start in a standing position, knees bent to almost a squat, feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Squat down, placing your hands flat on the ground, shoulder-width apart.
  3. Kick your feet out behind you, in a push-up position, and lower your chest to the floor.
  4. Bring your feet back into a squat in a jumping motion.
  5. Jump up with arms extended overhead.
  6. Repeat.

The main benefit of doing burpees is that it is a full-body workout.

Unfortunately, unless you are doing burpees well or are perfecting your form for something like CrossFit, burpees are not usually the best option for getting your heart rate up and working your whole body.

A word of caution before you start doing burpees: proper form is very important in any exercise to prevent injury.

You should also check with a medical professional to ensure that burpees are not going to worsen a health condition.

how many calories do burpees burn

How Many Calories Do Burpees Burn?

A lot of people want to know how many calories they can burn when doing a certain exercise.

You can calculate the number of calories burned while actively doing the workout using a whole lot of science and math. But that won’t give you the entire picture.

Keep in mind that caloric burn does not stop when you stop the movement. Your body will continue to burn calories with your elevated heart rate, and that continues well after your workout is complete.

Factors that Affect the Number of Calories Burned Doing Burpees

It is good to have the information to give you an idea of energy expenditure, but it should not be the determining factor when choosing an exercise plan.

The number of calories burned during exercise can depend on:

  • Your weight
  • The intensity level of the exercise
  • Time spent in active exercise

Realistically, you probably won’t even burn the same number of calories during each workout.


The more you weigh, the more weight you are moving when performing any type of calisthenic exercise.

It takes more energy to move 200 pounds than it does to move 120 pounds.

Weight is only one part of determining how many calories you burn when exercising. The more you weigh, the more calories you will burn when performing burpees.


It takes about 3 seconds to complete a burpee at a vigorous intensity level.

The faster you are moving, the more calories you will burn, but it is also more difficult to maintain for very long.

The higher the intensity level, the more calories you are likely to burn. Just be careful not to let your form slip.

A lower intensity level may be easier, but you will not burn as many calories.


When you hear that you can burn a bunch of calories per hour doing burpees, it sounds great.

Have you ever tried to do burpees for 60 minutes without a break?

One benefit of doing burpees is that it works both your upper and lower body, but that translates to wearing you out quickly.

Maintaining the effort you need to burn a lot of calories is extremely difficult if you are doing burpees.

How long you work will determine how many calories you burn, but remember that you need to be working very hard the entire time.

Burpees: Calories Burned Per Minute

One way to measure a workout’s efficacy is to know how many calories you are burning per minute.

Workouts that burn more calories per minute generally require more effort, so the exercise is probably not going to be sustainable for an extended period of time.

Most high-intensity exercises are meant to be done for only a short amount of time before stopping or taking a break.

In order to burn the most calories possible doing burpees, you need to maintain a fast pace and high-intensity level. The goal is to complete a burpee every 3 seconds or so, or about 20 burpees per minute.

The number of calories burned per minute based on weight:

  • 120 pounds: 8
  • 140 pounds: 9
  • 160 pounds: 10
  • 180 pounds: 11
  • 200 pounds: 13

Remember that the more weight you are moving, the harder it becomes.

Calories Per Burpee

Trying to understand how many calories are burned per burpee is kind of like asking what kind of gas mileage you get.

It depends on several factors and can vary from person to person.

On average, you only burn about half of a calorie for every burpee you do correctly.

If you want to burn a significant number of calories, you will have to do quite a few burpees. If you have ever done burpees before, you know that is easier said than done.

How Many Burpees to Burn 100 Calories?

Figuring out how long it will take you to burn a certain number of calories from a specific exercise is not as cut and dry as you would think.

Our bodies don’t just stop burning calories when we stop exercising.

To burn 100 calories, you would need to do about 200 burpees, with good form and a high-intensity level. That could take quite a while.

That can be very difficult and you could risk injuring yourself if you get too tired to perform the move correctly.

burpees calories burned

Are Burpees Truly Beneficial?

Almost any kind of exercise is going to be beneficial in some ways. Sure, some are more beneficial than others, but exercise is just good for your physical and mental health.

Burpees can be great if you do them with excellent form and perform them for a sport, such as CrossFit.

Some reasons burpees are popular include:

  • No Equipment is needed
  • You can do them anywhere
  • They work your full body
  • You can combine cardio and strength training in one move

If you are considering burpees and weight loss is your primary goal, you may find it is not the most effective way of meeting that goal.

If you are just looking for something to help you get stronger, lose weight, or improve overall fitness, there are better options.

What is Your Intention When Doing Burpees?

Before you start any exercise or program, ask yourself what you want to gain and why you are choosing that particular option.

If you are training for a competition or want to improve your technique, doing burpees makes sense. You don’t get better at something without practicing that thing, right?

Getting stronger or losing weight are common reasons to exercise, and if that is your intention, you may find yourself getting burned out if you are only doing burpees.

Counting calories expended during exercise is difficult because it is never exact and is not the most effective method of weight loss.

Choosing a plan or program that is challenging, fun, and effective will help increase your likelihood of success, whether you want to get stronger or lose weight.

Be sure to ask yourself what your intention is and if burpees will help you achieve your goals.

Working with a fitness specialist, like the ones at In Motion O.C. will help you find the best exercise routine to crush your goals.

Consider the Safety of Burpees

Burpees are considered an advanced exercise.

If you’re new to working out or getting back into it after a long break, the repetitive motion of burpees may be very hard on your body, and you may risk injury.

Because you perform a lot of different movements to complete just one burpee, there are several parts of the body you risk injuring in the process.

You could injure your:

  • Lower back due to poor alignment or weak core
  • Heels and ankles from landing wrong when jumping
  • Upper arm/shoulder from a poor landing

You can also lose your balance and risk an injury falling if you do not have good core stabilization. The last thing you need is a concussion or broken arm because you fell doing burpees.

Knowing how to complete an exercise correctly is crucial to preventing injury and obtaining the movements’ maximum benefits.

It is best to work with a trainer or physical therapist who can teach you proper form and coach you to complete the exercise correctly.

Burpee Workout: Calories Burned Depends on How Long Your Heart Rate is Elevated

Knowing the number of calories burned while performing an exercise only tells part of the story.

Your body continues to burn calories while your heart rate is elevated, usually for up to half an hour after a high-intensity workout.

If you are doing the burpees slowly, your heart rate will not increase as much as it would if you were working faster. You may be able to work longer, but your heart rate will return to normal faster, too, so it does not hold as much benefit.

When you do high-intensity exercises, such as burpees or battle ropes, your heart rate increases enough to really burn some calories. You want to get the most out of that without wearing out too fast or hurting yourself.

calories burned doing burpees

Elevate Your Heart Rate and Burn Calories with These 2 Burpee Alternatives

Getting a great workout doesn’t have to be boring or take forever.

And you don’t have to throw yourself down on the ground and get back up over and over.

Battle Ropes and weighted sled pushes are great alternatives to burpees that offer upper- and lower-body workouts to get your heart pumping.

Burpee Alternative #1: Battle Ropes

If you really want to ramp up your calorie-burning potential, battle ropes will get the job done.

Battle Ropes are a great full-body workout that increases heart rate, improves strength, and burns more calories than burpees.

Performing the workout in reps of 15 seconds of activity with 45 seconds of rest, for 10 rounds as a 10-minute set, you can burn over 110 calories.

Burpee Alternative #2: Weighted Sled Push

If you are looking to burn a lot of calories and build explosive power, try weighted sled pushes.

This exercise utilizes muscles all over your body in short bursts to build overall strength.

As an added bonus, weighted sled pushes can give you extra power when running and jumping.

burpees calories

Meet Your Fitness Goals With In Motion O.C.

Researching to find the best exercises to lose weight or count how many calories you can burn by doing burpees is time-consuming and can be extremely frustrating.

There are trained experts that can do all of that work for you.

The fitness coaches at In Motion O.C. can help determine what will be most effective to get you where you want to be.

You don’t have to watch videos or read tutorials on how to perform the movements correctly. We can guide you through every step to make sure you are doing them safely and getting the most out of your workouts.

Please don’t take our word for it. Trust the users on Yelp and Google that have rated us as number one for physical therapy in the United States.

We have helped thousands of clients improve their fitness and meet their goals.

We can do the same for you.

In Motion O.C.