You’ve probably heard the whispers in the gym, caught sight of them in action, or maybe you’re here to discover what this brutally tough exercise is all about.
From engaging muscles you didn’t know you had to burning calories like a bonfire, burpee pull ups are unapologetically honest when it comes to testing your strength, endurance, cardio, agility and mobility.
In this exercise guide, we discuss how to do burpee pull ups properly as well as benefits, things to consider and alternatives.
- The burpee pull up involves a squat, plank, push up, jump and pull up (combining a traditional burpee with a pull up).
- It’s popular in CrossFit workouts and other functional exercise programs.
- It’s a very challenging bodyweight exercise, so only attempt it if you feel comfortable with pull ups and burpees.
- It works all the major muscle groups in your body (chest, back, shoulders, core, arms, legs and glutes).
What is a Burpee Pull Up?
A burpee pull up is a bodyweight exercise, merging two foundational movements (the burpee and the pull up) into one seamless sequence.
- The Burpee – A full-body calisthenic exercise that brings together a squat, plank, push-up, and jump, all in quick succession.
- The Pull Up – A feat of strength that hones in on your back, biceps, and shoulders as you hoist your body weight up to a bar.
Combine these two, and you’re cooking with the burpee pull up… an exercise of grace, power, and perspiration.
But why even attempt something that sounds so tough? Besides channelling your inner warrior, the burpee pull up serves up some seriously impressive benefits (that we’ll discuss in more detail later on).
- Versatility – Ideal for high-intensity interval training (HIIT), circuit training, or as a zesty twist to your regular routine.
- Full-Body Engagement – If you thought burpees were a “full body exercise”, adding a pull up takes things to a new level. Every major muscle group is heavily recruited during this exercise.
- Cardio and Strength – Mixing aerobic and anaerobic aspects for a complete workout.
- Functional Fitness – It’s not just for show… it’s about enhancing how you move in everyday life.
Whether you’re entrenched in CrossFit or exploring the adventurous world of bodyweight exercises, the burpee pull up stands ready to serve.
How to do Burpee Pull Ups
To do a burpee pull up:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent and chest up.
- Squat down and place your hands on the floor.
- Kick your legs back into a plank position, keeping your core tight and engaged.
- Keeping your elbows tucked in, lower your chest towards the floor in a controlled push-up motion, then push back up.
- Spring your feet back towards your hands, landing back in the squat position.
- Explosively jump up to grab the pull-up bar.
- Pull yourself up until your chin passes the bar.
- Lower yourself down, releasing the bar, and return to the squat position.
- Congratulations – You’ve nailed one rep. Continue the sequence for your desired number of repetitions or time.
Coach’s Tip – For beginners, we’d recommend trying to do burpee pull ups for a certain number of repetitions, instead of against the clock. This means you can focus on your form and technique. Take things slow and really make every rep count.
When it comes to the muscles worked, the burpee pull up is no solo act… it’s a full-body ensemble, and every muscle has a starring role. From arms to core, legs to back, each plays a unique part in this fitness performance.
During the push-up phase, your chest muscles become the powerlifters, pressing your body off the ground, laying the foundation for the whole movement.
Back (Latissimus Dorsi)
Pulling yourself up to the bar? That’s your back muscles flexing and working like the reliable anchor of a ship, holding everything together.
These are your body’s lifting buddies during the pull-up phase, raising your body like they’re hoisting a championship trophy.
During the push-up portion, your triceps act like the pistons of an engine, driving you up from the floor with force and control.
Both in the push-up and pull-up, the deltoids are the supportive friends in this exercise, carrying the load and keeping everything in line.
Your core is the unsung hero, stabilizing your body throughout each phase. Think of it as the conductor, ensuring each muscle plays its part in time.
Legs (Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Calves and Glutes)
From squat to jump, your leg muscles power the exercise like the launch and landing gears of a rocket.
Benefits of Burpee Pull Ups
Progression for Burpees
Ready to take your burpees to the next level? Burpee pull ups are a simple, but challenging, way to add progression.
They add complexity and intensity, turning an already tough exercise into an unforgettable workout experience.
If you’re looking to progress your burpees, another popular option is the burpee broad jump (an exercise that features as one of the fundamental workouts in HYROX events).
Full Body Strength Workout
Every part of you, from your arms to your legs, plays a role on this movement.
And it’s not like any muscle is just going through the motions… they are all heavily recruited to ensure each phase of the exercise is executed properly.
If you prefer bodyweight exercises for your strength training, this is certainly a good one to know about, as it covers all bases.
Want to torch those calories like a marshmallow at a campfire?
Burpee pull ups are your fiery friend.
They combine aerobic and anaerobic, which means you’re not just lifting and jumping… you’re setting your metabolism ablaze.
Has a stubborn jar on the better of you?
It’s time to work on that grip strength.
Any sort of pull up or hanging exercise can be really effective at improving grip strength.
The pull-up phase will have your hands and forearms working like the jaws of a determined nutcracker, building grip strength that’s handy in the gym… and the kitchen.
Activates Back More Than Regular Burpees
Think of regular burpees as the opening act, and burpee pull ups as the headliner.
They put your back muscles in the spotlight more than regular burpees, ensuring that all your major muscle groups are targeted.
Easier – Standard Burpees
Think of standard burpees as the acoustic version of a rock song. You still get the beat and rhythm, but it’s a little gentler on the ears… or, in this case, the muscles.
Removing the pull-up portion makes this exercise more accessible for those building up strength. It’s the perfect warm-up act before taking the main stage with burpee pull ups.
Mastering the Pull Up
Similar – Jumping Pull-Ups
If burpee pull ups are a gourmet meal in a restaurant, then jumping pull-ups are the food truck version. Still delicious, still satisfying, but with a casual twist.
By focusing on the pull-up portion and adding a jump for momentum, you keep the essence of the exercise without the plank/push-up.
It’s like swapping your dress shoes for sneakers but still looking sharp.
Harder – Muscle-Up Burpees
Ready for the big leagues? Muscle-up burpees are like performing your favorite song but adding a guitar solo and pyrotechnics. It combines the burpee pull up with a muscle-up, demanding more from your shoulders, chest, and arms.
It’s a grand spectacle of strength and skill.
Burpee pull ups are a dynamic fusion of strength, agility, and endurance, engaging your whole body in a single exercise.
They are unquestionably difficulty though (especially high repetition workouts), so don’t be disheartened if you’re struggling to do them, or can only do a few repetitions.
Most people will find the pull up phase the hardest so doing exercises like inverted rows and assisted pull ups can help in your quest to perfect the burpee pull up.