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4 Burpee Alternatives—So You Never Have To Do A Burpee Again
There is a lot to love about burpees. They are equipment-free, full-body, metabolism-revving, time-saving, do-anywhere exercises!
A burpee takes a person from (1) standing to (2) tucked to (3) plank to (4) push-up to (5) tucked to (6) jumping. (See exactly how to do a burpee here.) Steps 3 and 5 pose a problem if high impact hurts your knees, and step 3 does, too, if push-ups strain your wrists. And if you're new to exercise, the whole complicated thing poses a problem! (If you haven't strength-trained before, or ever, these are the six best moves to get started.)
We have devised four burpee alternatives that keep the essence of the exercise, but make it accessible to everyone. Substitute any one of these modifications in place of a burpee anytime that exercise is instructed in your workout.
(Tighten your tummy and tone your arms with the fun, fat-blasting routines from Prevention's )
Bottom-Half Burpee to Lunge
This low-impact variation skips the standing and jumping of a regular burpee and is knee-, hip-, and low back-friendly. But you still get the benefits of the push-up for chest and shoulders, strength for your legs, glutes, and core, plus metabolism-revving! (This 15-minute rowing machine workout is also great for your metabolism.)
How to do it:
- Begin in push-up position on your knees.
- Perform one push-up, then step out to plank.
- Step one leg forward to low lunge.
- Reach your arms high overhead and hold momentarily. Return your hands to the ground, step back, and repeat, lunging forward with the opposite leg.
Make it a little harder: Perform the push-up on your toes in Step 1, instead of your knees.
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Here's how to do the perfect lunge:
Band Fly to Squat Lift
This beginner-friendly standing burpee ditches the plank, push-up, and jumping, but it adds a resistance band chest fly to keep the strengthening for your chest and shoulders. And you'll still work your legs, glutes, and core as well!
- Wrap a resistance band around your back and hold ends in your hands (wrapping slack around your hands, if necessary). Open your arms out wide.
- With just slight bend in your elbows, bring your hands together in front of your chest. Hold momentarily, then return them out wide.
- Squat down as deep as you can safely squat without discomfort in your knees or hips. (Here's how to do squats and lunges without killing your knees.)
- Rise up from your squat and lift up high on your tippy toes. Hold momentarily, then drop your heels to return to starting position.
Make it a little harder: Leap up in the air after Step 3, and land softly. (Note: This would make the move high-impact, and should be avoided by most beginners and those with knee, hip, or lower back pain.)
Glide to Plank, Ta-Da
And you thought paper plates were just for parties! This alternative does away with the jumping and push-up, so it's easier on your knees, hips, and low back. Yet you still strengthen your chest, shoulders, legs, glutes, and core for a full-body, metabolism-revving move. (Work ALL the muscles of your butt with these two simple exercises.)
- Place the balls of your feet on paper plates. Tuck down and touch your hands to the ground.
- Slide out to plank position.
- Slide in, returning to tuck.
- Stand and reach up. (Ta-da!)
Make it a little harder: Omit paper plates and jump out from tuck to plank in Step 2. (Note: This would make the move high-impact, and should be avoided by most beginners and those with knee, hip, or lower back pain.)
MORE: I Took Plank Breaks At Work Every Day For A Month, And This Is What Happened
Front Raise, Lateral Raise, Squat & Press
Grab a set of dumbbells for this beginner version. You lose the jumping, plank, and push-up, but add extra shoulder strength while keeping the move knee-, hip-, and low back-friendly. (Back pain? These six exercises can help.)
- Hold a set of 3-pound dumbbells (or cans of soup) in your hands and stand tall.
- Lift the dumbbells straight in front of you to shoulder height. Hold momentarily, then lower.
- Lift the dumbbells out to the sides to “Iron Cross” position. Hold momentarily, then lower.
- Perform a shallow squat, keeping your chest lifted and knees in line with your toes.
- Lift up and press the dumbbells overhead. Hold momentarily, then lower to starting position.
Make it a little harder: Squat deeper in Step 4 to tap the dumbbells to the ground.
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