7 Burpee Variations That Seriously Target Your Abs

Nov 1, 2016 //

When it comes to full-body exercises that get you fit, fast, burpees are unbeatable. This simple and gruelling exercise works all of major muscle groups at once, making it great for burning calories, increasing strength, working your core and getting your heart pumping.

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If you want to reap the benefits of burpees, you’ll love these burpee variations for core strengthening below. 

1. Standard Burpee

Before you move on to other forms of the burpee, you should master the regular version.

  • To perform a standard burpee, stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart.
  • Squat down, planting your hands on the floor near your legs.
  • Jump your legs back into a high plank position, then perform a push-up.
  • At the top of the push-up, jump your feet back up to your hands.
  • Straighten as though you were performing a squat, and jump at the top.
  • Land lightly, then repeat.
  • Throughout, focus on your form, by keeping your abs tight.

2. Reverse Burpee

If you want a burpee variation that will target your for abs, try the reverse burpee.

  • Much like a regular burpee, you’ll begin standing.
  • Bend your legs in a squat (keeping your knees behind your toes), and lower all the way until your bottom touches the floor.
  • Next, roll along the length of your back, tensing your core and pulling your knees toward your head.
  • On the return, roll forward explosively, coming to your feet.
  • Return to standing and jump as high as you can at the top.

This can be one of the most effective burpee variations for core strengthening, since the rolling action should be entirely fueled by your ab muscles. Try not to push yourself back with your feet or push off with your hands on the way forward.

3. One-Legged Burpee

Just about any time you make an exercise one-legged, you make your core do more work to stabilize yourself. Because of this, doing a one-legged burpee isn’t just a good variation for your legs, it also deserves mention in a list of burpee variations for abs work. One way to perform a one-legged burpee is to do the whole motion on one leg, including the pushup and the squatting motion. Intead you may want to try performing the plank/pushup motion on one leg but squatting with both legs. This can be easier on your muscles, but it may be more taxing on your memory, making it a bit of a challenge in concentration.

  • As with all one-sided exercises, make sure you perform them equally on both sides.
  • Pay strict attention to your form when doing one-legged burpees.
  • It’s a lot easier to get tired and sloppy when doing this variation, which can result in an increased chance of injury.

4. One-Armed Burpee

An alternate way of making your core work harder during your burpees is to do a one-armed burpee.

  • Much like a one-legged burpee, you’ll be in a less stable position which means that your abs will have to do more.
  • Keep your core tight and your back flat throughout the exercise, and watch your shoulders and wrists.

5. Muay Thai-Inspired Burpee

Noah Neiman’s combat burpee is a high-intensity exercise that will work your whole body — core included. It involves getting into a modified fighter’s stance (sort of like a karate horse stance), throwing four punches (using your hips to generate power) before beginning the traditional burpee motions. Also, instead of the traditional jump, a high-knee jump is added.

A variation on the combat burpee involves throwing a couple of Muay Thai-inspired knee strikes in instead of the punches.

6. Side-Arm Balance Burpee

This variation makes a great addition to burpee workouts if you want to focus on your ab strength and shoulder stability.

  • To perform it, you’ll do a burpee as usual, but when you finish the pushup, lift one arm and rotate it upward into a side plank position.
  • Return with control to a high plank position, perform another pushup, and then perform a side plank on the other side.
  • After a third pushup, jump up to your hands and finish the burpee as usual.
  • If this is taxing your triceps and chest more than your core, you can reduce the number of pushups.

7. Sit-Thru Burpee

Sit-thru burpees are a guaranteed to work your core.

  • To perform this variation, you’ll begin normally.
  • However, when you jump backward, you won’t perform a pushup.
  • Rather, you’ll rotate through, kicking a leg under your body and raising the opposite hand to a sit-through position.
  • Come back to center, then kick through on the other side as well.
  • After this kick through, return to center, then jump back to your feet and finish the burpee.