This variation of a traditional burpee is great for an all-around workout.
The burpee alone is a challenging workout. 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 and fun exercise.
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. 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 is the perfect compound exercise.
The benefits of including a compound exercise like this into your workouts goes far beyond your muscle growth. 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 and more time recovering and doing other things you love.
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. With more balance required, your core activates and your arms and chest join the workout until that pushup is done. 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.
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.
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.
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, that you accomplished more with a barbell burpee.
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. 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. Lower to the ground and repeat from the beginning. Keep a tight core and good form throughout to avoid strain or injury.
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, but with time, all of that improves along with your strength and endurance. Over time, you will get better at the barbell burpee and be more fit, only encouraging those gains and increasing your confidence. Don’t let this challenging exercise deter you from maximizing your gains and allow yourself to thrive by adding the barbell burpee to your workout regimen.
*Images courtesy of Envato
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)