How The Barbell Burpee Will Increase Full Body Strength

Barbell Burpee

This variation of a traditional burpee is great for a workout.

The burpee alone is a challenging workout, let alone adding a bar. One that is comprised of both strength and cardiovascular movements, this workout is the perfect bodyweight exercise to increase full body strength and increase endurance. The burpee is further proof that bodyweight exercises can be just as demanding as any with weights.

But the barbell burpee is unique in that it adds additional elements to an already difficult exercise. Working with a combination of traditional burpee movements including a squat and a pushup, the barbell burpee adds the extra component of a power clean and push press with the barbell to make this is a highly effective exercise to do with a bar.

Used as an aerobic exercise in combination with strength training, the barbell burpee will increase cardio, strength, balance, and flexibility to give you an all-in-one workout to help burn fat and keep you on your feet and working your chest every time for however many reps you want.

Although difficult, the barbell burpee has great benefits and is worth adding to your fitness regimen. Able to attack all of your muscles, including your legs, glutes, core, back, chest, arms, and shoulders, along with the ability to raise your heart rate and get you breathing hard, this burpee is the perfect compound exercise to do with a bar each time.

For those looking to burn fat and increase endurance, as well as aid in power performance, the barbell burpee is great for athletes of any kind. Working many muscles at once also allows you less time working out with the barbell burpee.

All-Around Workout

The barbell burpee allows for increased strength in a variety of muscles including your lower body and upper body. Your legs and glutes are targeted during the jump back into a pushup position as well as the start to the power clean portion of the exercise. Once on the ground, your shoulders provide support as you descend into that all too familiar pushup using the bar as a point of support, especially with the jump up.

With more balance required for the burpee, your core activates and your arms and chest join the workout until that pushup is done as part of this burpee. The fun begins when you lift the barbell into a push press and rely on your fitness to take over as you lower the bar and continue with more reps.

By adding weight, your overall strength increases significantly as opposed to sticking with just your bodyweight (1). As a complex compound exercise, the barbell burpee is sure to fire you up on all cylinders and those gains will really show.

Promotes Fat Burn

As a physically demanding exercise, the barbell burpee is one that will burn off loads of calories, only supported by the fact that so many different muscle groups are being worked. With the ability to increase endurance, your metabolism will work harder for you and your ability to burn more calories will only intensify (2).

Fat loss happens when you consume less than you burn and while dieting can be tricky, the barbell burpee is one exercise to give you a great boost in calorie loss to start you on the right path towards fat loss and the jump and cardio portion of this is great for that.

Barbell Burpee

Increases Endurance

When it comes to increasing your endurance and lung capacity, this workout is one that will do the trick. While running, cycling, or other cardio exercises will get you there as well, the barbell burpee is one that will boost your endurance while at the same time increasing strength and muscle growth (3). A long session of barbell burpees can be all you need for a good day’s work in the gym.

As fatigue sets in, your endurance will allow you to work longer and harder in all other aspects of your training and athletic performance. Along with working your circulatory system, muscular-skeletal system, and central nervous system, the barbell burpee will give your cardiovascular system a great boost to ensure a more effective and longer-lasting lift to add to the rest of your workouts to keep your working hard.

Enhance Explosive Power

Along with increased strength and endurance comes the ability for more power and explosiveness with workouts and competition. Barbell burpees will target your fast-twitch muscle fibers which allow for shorter bursts of speed and power (4). The back and forth jumping into and out of the pushup position mixed with the power of the press at the top will help generate increased speed and power for those looking to get the edge in their workouts.

Having speed and power is not only important for sprinters or jumpers, but for anyone looking to step their game to the next level and this burpee is great for that as you get moving on your hands and feet for a great workout to keep your gains flowing.

Barbell Burpee

Time Efficient

Barbell burpees are time efficient since they include multiple muscles in many muscle groups, as well as targeting your cardio. While you do need a barbell for the barbell burpee, if one is not available, then a traditional burpee will provide almost all of the same benefits. For those who work or feel tight on time in the gym, adding barbell burpees to your workout routine is somewhat of a must.

You will look great, feel better, and know that even if you spent minimal time in the gym and more time off your feet, that you accomplished more with a barbell burpee to keep you doing things you love and start seeing gains.

How To Perform The Barbell Burpee

You will need a barbell and whatever desired weights you want. Place the barbell on the ground and grip the bar with your hands slightly more than shoulder width apart. Kick your legs back into a pushup position and lower to the bar. Push back up to complete the pushup and take your hands off the barbell.

Once on your feet, execute a power clean by lifting the bar to your waist, thrusting to your chest and completing a push press over your head, driving through your feet. Lower to the ground and repeat from the beginning. Keep a tight core and good form throughout to avoid strain or injury from this burpee exercise and rest is important to start seeing growth with all your reps.

Wrap Up

Burpees are never fun and can offer a real challenge for those still working on their fitness. But burpees are a great overall body exercise to get lean and put on muscle while also building a great foundation for endurance. Adding a barbell to the traditional burpee will only add to the fun and increase your gains. The barbell burpee can be challenging and will require balance and flexibility.

You will get better at the barbell burpee and be more fit, only encouraging those gains and increasing your confidence. Don’t let this deter you from maximizing your gains and allow yourself to thrive by adding the barbell burpee to your workout regimen so the rest of your workouts only add to it.

Let us know what you think in the comments below. Also, be sure to follow Generation Iron on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 

*Images courtesy of Envato


  1. Baker, J. S.; Davies, B.; Cooper, S. M.; Wong, D. P.; Buchan, D. S.; Kilgore, L. (2013). “Strength and Body Composition Changes in Recreationally Strength-Trained Individuals: Comparison of One versus Three Sets Resistance-Training Programmes”. (source)
  2. Ratamess, Nicholas A.; Rosenberg, Joseph G.; Klei, Samantha; Dougherty, Brian M.; Kang, Jie; Smith, Charles R.; Ross, Ryan E.; Faigenbaum, Avery D. (2015). “Comparison of the Acute Metabolic Responses to Traditional Resistance, Body-Weight, and Battling Rope Exercises”. (source)
  3. Kazior, Zuzanna; Willis, Sarah J.; Moberg, Marcus; Apro, William; Calbet, Jose A. L.; Holmberg, Hans-Christer; Blomstrand, Eva (2016). “Endurance Exercise Enhances the Effect of Strength Training on Muscle Fiber Size and Protein Expression of Akt and mTOR”. (source)
  4. Serrano, Nathan; Colenso-Semple, Lauren M.; Lazauskus, Kara K.; Siu, Jeremy W.; Bagley, James R.; Lockie, Robert G.; Costa, Pablo B.; Galpin, Andrew J. (2019). “Extraordinary fast-twitch fiber abundance in elite weightlifters”. (source)
Austin Letorney
Austin Letorney is a writer, actor, and fitness enthusiast. As a former rower, he has shifted his focus to sharing his knowledge of the fitness world and strength sports with others.