Finally, learn how to do a burpee the right way to get the most body-strengthening results. Use this step-by-step guide to learn how to master the burpee exercise.

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Burpees have a reputation for a reason. They're one of the most effective and crazy-challenging exercises out there. And fitness buffs everywhere just love to hate them. (Related: Why This Celebrity Trainer Doesn't Believe In Doing Burpees)

What is a burpee, you ask? The burpee exercise is essentially the combination of a squat thrust and a squat jump - and sometimes, a push-up. That's right: There are different ways to do burpees. Some fit pros coach burpees with a push-up or a cue to drop your body all the way to the ground (the CrossFit burpee style), whereas other trainers coach burpees with just a jump back to a plank. (But more on this, and how to do a proper burpee, in a sec.)

Regardless of exactly how you do the exercise, burpees turn your body into the best piece of workout equipment ever, training virtually every muscle in your body - including your shoulders, chest, abs, quads, inner thighs, butt, and triceps - and sending your heart rate through the roof for awesome calorie-torching, muscle-building benefits, says personal trainer Mike Donavanik, C.S.C.S. (Related: The 30-Day Burpee Challenge That Will Totally Kick Your Butt)

But to get the most from every rep, you need to know not just how to do a burpee, but how to do a proper burpee with correct form. Here, Donavanik shares step-by-step tips on how to master the burpee exercise.

How to Do a Burpee

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, weight in your heels, and your arms at your sides.
  2. Push your hips back, bend your knees, and lower your body into a squat.
  3. Place your hands on the floor directly in front of, and just inside, your feet. Shift your weight onto your hands.
  4. Jump your feet back to softly land on the balls of your feet in a plank position. Your body should form a straight line from your head to heels. Be careful not to let your back sag or your butt stick up in the air, as both can keep you from effectively working your core.
  5. Optional: Lower into a push-up or lower body all the way onto the floor, keeping core engaged. Push-up to lift body off the floor and return to plank position.
  6. Jump your feet back so that they land just outside of your hands.
  7. Reach your arms over head and explosively jump up into the air.
  8. Land and immediately lower back into a squat for your next rep.

Form tip: Avoid "snaking" the body off the ground by lifting the chest first and leaving the hips on the ground when raising body back up off the floor.

How to Make Burpees Easier or Harder

There's no avoiding the truth: The burpee exercise is brutal. Luckily, this move is super versatile and can be tailored to any fitness level, whether you're working your way up to cranking through an entire burpee workout, or baby-stepping your way towards doing the burpee exercise properly.

How to Make a Burpee Easier

  • Don't lower your body to the ground during the plank portion.
  • Move into a plank position by stepping, rather than jumping, your feet behind you.
  • Remove the jump at the stop; simply stand and reach arms overhead, rising onto toes.

How to Make a Burpee Harder