Hate Burpees? Try These 10 Burpee Alternatives
Let’s make this clear straight off the bat - burpees are NOT for everyone.
Burpees do require a certain level of strength and fitness and that can be a barrier, but that’s not the only reason why some people choose to avoid them. You might have trouble with burpees due to knee, wrist or hip issues, previous injuries, pregnancy, prefer to avoid high-impact movements or be experiencing a lack of mobility.
Or perhaps you just simply don’t like them and would much rather do something else. All of these reasons are so valid! Working out should make you feel good and here at Sweat we want you to feel empowered to make workout adjustments to help you move in a way you enjoy.
Although burpees feature in a number of Sweat programs and they definitely use a lot of muscles, don’t feel like you have to do them to build your strength and fitness or that avoiding burpees means you’re not fit and strong. There are plenty of alternative exercises you can try instead!
10 burpee alternatives
If you want to remove burpees from your workouts but aren’t sure what exercises to do instead, here are 10 different options.
All of these exercises will increase your heart rate and engage multiple muscle groups, but feel free to pick and choose which ones are best suited to your body if you’re avoiding burpees due to issues with your wrists, hips or knees.
Jumping jacks are good if you’re wanting a full-body cardio jumping exercise. You could also try jump rope or high-knee running on the spot.
Plank or plank jacks
Plank jacks are an advanced variation where you jump your feet in and out, so you can also remove the jacks and hold a high plank or a plank resting on your forearms. Whatever feels good for you!
Squats or squat jumps
Squat jumps are an advanced squat variation, so if that feels difficult or you’re opting for low-impact workouts, a standard bodyweight squat is a great option.
A squat thruster is a fantastic way to increase the difficulty of a squat by adding weight and challenging your upper body at the same time.
Hand release push-ups
Start by mastering push-ups on your knees and then your toes before progressing to hand release push-ups for an added challenge. You’ve got this!
This is a tough exercise that mimics the lower section of a burpee.
You can start with a light kettlebell, then progress to a heavier weight or try single-arm kettlebell swings for an advanced variation.
Caterpillar walk and plank jack
To reduce the difficulty, remove the plank jack or step your feet in and out. Caterpillar walk-outs (aka inchworms) are a great full-body exercise on their own.
Medicine ball slams
To increase the difficulty, grab a heavier medicine ball!
To add some variety to your mountain climbers, you can perform them slowly (you’ll really feel the burn in your abs), or try X mountain climbers where you draw your knee across your body towards your opposite elbow.
How to do a burpee for beginners: Try these progressions
If burpees are an exercise you want to master but you’re looking for progressions to build your way up to a full burpee, you’ve come to the right place. A burpee is a functional exercise made up of several movements strung together - a squat, plank, an optional push-up if you’re doing a chest-to-floor burpee, and a jump.
Start by mastering each component individually and then connect them together slowly. As you build your strength, coordination, muscle memory, mobility and confidence, your ability to perform burpees with more speed will improve!
Here are the exercises to practice:
Once you’ve got the hand of a high plank hold, try walking your feet towards your hands, then try jumping your feet into your hands to practice that movement.
Squats are a key part of burpees as you move through a squat position twice in one burpee! Once you feel confident with squats, try progressing to jump squats.
If you want to master the chest-to-floor burpee, learning how to do push-ups will help build the muscle strength you need. You can then progress to a hand-release push-up (see the demonstration earlier in this article) where your chest touches the floor before you push yourself back up again.
If you’re ready to string it all together but want to reduce the intensity as you start, you can remove the jumps or perform your burpees at a slower pace. Try stepping your feet back into the plank position one foot at a time, then stand up from your squat or rise up onto your toes rather than jumping into the air. You can also place your hands on a chair as another modification.
Whether you need variations to try on your way to performing a full burpee or need alternatives up your sleeve so you can avoid burpees altogether, we’ve got you covered! Feel free to use any of these options as substitute exercises whenever burpees feature in your Sweat workouts.
* Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. Sweat assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.