Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, MS, DO on August 12, 2021

Home workouts are all the rage. Exercising from the comfort of your home is a great way to start your self-care journey. But, where should you begin? 

You don't need weights or special machines. Bodyweight exercises like burpees and mountain climbers are excellent places to start.

What Are Burpees?

Burpees are a quick, full-body exercise that is guaranteed to get your blood pumping. They're flexible, allowing for a workout that fits your needs in whatever space you have.

Burpees aren't just for building muscle. They improve your overall endurance, coordination, and dexterity. As you become more experienced, burpees can become a warmup for your advanced workouts.

Targeted muscles. As a full-body workout, burpees generally work all your muscles. They primarily target the following muscle groups:

  • Triceps
  • Chest
  • Glutes
  • Legs (quads, calves, and hamstrings)
  • Core (back and abdomen)

How to do a burpee. Burpees don't require much space. You will need enough room to do a push-up and to stand with your arms straight up.

Before launching into a burpee, slowly move through each position to familiarize yourself with the motions. Moving too quickly can lead to incorrect movements and possibly cause injuries.

  1. Stand with your feet around hip-width apart.
  2. Squat with your palms on the ground in front of you.
  3. Jump your feet back to a push-up position.
  4. Do a push-up.
  5. Return to the squatting position.
  6. Return to the standing position and reach for the sky (you can also jump at the end).
  7. Repeat.

Once you're familiar with how your body moves through the sequence, start linking them together at a smooth pace. But, don't go too fast.

Tips for good burpees.Your core is vital for a good burpee. Bracing your back and abdomen will reduce stress on your body and maintain good form throughout the exercise. Improper form can put unneeded stress on your back. If you have back problems already, exercise caution.

Lastly, feel the impact of the squat. It's easy to speed through or "skip" the squat between standing and pushing up.

Burpee variations. If the standard burpee is too challenging, you can omit the push-up and perform a short plank instead. You can also move slowly or do fewer burpees in a set.

If the standard burpee is too easy, you can quicken your pace or do more burpees per set. You can also:

  1. Bring your knees to your chest when you jump during step 6.
  2. Repeat parts of the burpee. For example, do two push-ups or two squats during the burpee.
  3. If you have dumbbells, you can hold them for an added challenge.‌

What Are Mountains Climbers?

Another exercise you can do in your home is mountain climbers. This is an advanced exercise for your entire body.

Mountain climbers strengthen your core and improve your cardiovascular health.  All you need is enough space to plank on the floor.

Targeted muscles. Mountain climbers strengthen everything. While they may not give you massive arms, mountain climbers are a great way to get fit.

How to do a mountain climber. The intensity of mountain climbers comes from how fast and long you do them. So, start slow to understand the motions:

  1. On the floor, begin in a planking position with your palms on the floor and arms straight.
  2. Bring one knee to your chest.
  3. Return to the starting position, and bring the other knee to your chest.
  4. Repeat.

Tips for good mountain climbers. It's essential to maintain control during mountain climbers. Don't go too fast. Instead, maintain a controlled motion while keeping your core firm.

Too many or too fast mountain climbers can be harmful. In addition, they can be painful or lead to injury if done incorrectly.

Mountain climber variation. Mountain climbers are challenging. They require a wide range of motion with your legs and hips. If they are too tricky, you can put your hands on a raised surface to reduce the energy needed for the exercise.

Expanding Your Workout

There are many other bodyweight exercises to accompany burpees and mountain climbers to keep your workout routine exciting. You can choose exercises that target specific muscle groups or do more full-body workouts to improve your overall fitness.

Show Sources


A Healthier Michigan: "How to Do a Burpee."

Penn Medicine: "An Exercise Regimen for Those Stuck Inside During the COVID19 Outbreak."

SCL Health: "The Gymless Workout: The Guide To Get Your Reps In At Home."

YMCA of the Suncoast: "Burpee Basics."

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