Burpees are great exercises that require no equipment or weights, and very little space. They engage so many muscle groups, with a standard burpee strengthening the muscles in your legs, hips, buttocks, abs, arms, chest and shoulders! Not to mention the cardio benefits.
You can do burpees indoors, outdoors, as part of a warm up or as a staple in your workouts.
Love them or hate them, burpees are a great way to improve stamina and strengthen your muscles. If you’re interested in giving them a go, I’ve included some tips below. If you can’t stand burpees, keep reading – I’ve included some excellent alternatives!
How to do a burpee
The actions to perform a burpee can be broken down into these five simple steps.
Step #1 – Squat: Squat down and place your hands on the floor.
Step #2 – Plank: Jump your feet back into a plank position.
Step #3 – Push-Up: While holding a high plank, do a basic push-up.
Step #4 – Squat: Jump your feet back to the hands, coming back into a hands-on-floor squat.
Step #5 – Jump: From the squat position, jump straight up, reaching your hands overhead.
Then repeat! Keep going as fast as you can with good form. You’ll really feel it in your muscles, and your heart rate will rise quickly, which means you’re improving your health and burning calories.
Of course, not everyone loves the burpee and even if you do, there might be a reason you need to modify the movement or change it out altogether. Maybe you’re just getting back into fitness, recovering from an injury, maybe you’re pregnant, or maybe your body just doesn’t respond well to high-impact exercises.
In that case, the exercises below will help keep you just as fit as a burpee!
If You’re Pregnant, Try These:
Ball slams are really going to get your heart rate up and give you that feel-good endorphin rush! They work your shoulders, triceps, pecs, calves, abs and back, making them a great burpee alternative.
The kettlebell swing strengthens your glutes, hamstrings, quads, back, delts, abs and arms. They can even improve your balance and posture.
Another full body exercise, the dumbbell thruster works your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, shoulders, core, and triceps.
If You’ve Got a Sore Back, Try These:
Narrow Stance Star Jack
The narrow stance squat to star jack activates muscle groups across your body, including your hamstrings, hipflexors, glutes, quadriceps and core. It’s a great exercise to include in your home workout routine.
Ghost Rope or Jump Rope
Jumping rope benefits more muscles than you’d think, and ‘ghost’ rope (that is, without the actual skipping rope) is just as effective. Jumping rope will work your calves, quads, hamstrings, glutes, abs, oblique muscles, forearms, biceps, triceps, shoulders, back muscles, and chest muscles. That’s quite a list!
Mountain climbers are a compound exercise that utlises muscles in your arms, back, shoulders, core and legs. If you do them quickly, mountain climbers will definitely increase your heart rate!
If High Impact Hurts Your Joints, Try These:
Murpee (Modified Burpee)
A great alternative for those who can’t do a burpee due to issues with their knees, or an inability to do high-impact exercises. Modified burpees will work the same muscle groups as regular burpees. Yes, it will take a little longer for you to get your heart rate up, but don’t discount this exercise – it’s definitely worth having in your routine!
Bench Plyo Pushups
Plyometric (plyo) pushups are an advanced exercise that work your chest, triceps, abs and shoulders. The bench makes it a little easier than it would be on the floor, but it’s still a super effective movement.
If You’re Bored of Burpees, Try These:
This movement is much harder than it looks, and you’ll be feeling it the next day! Dumbbell get-ups work major muscle groups across your entire body, including your glutes, traps, lower-back muscles, hamstrings, triceps, lats, and calves.
Alternate Arm Burpee Snatch
This one is great if you’ve given up on the burpees due to boredom! Instead of clapping at the end, you lift your dumbbell. It works the same muscle groups as a regular burpee, but puts even more emphasis on the arms and shoulders.
Squat Hop Burpee to Curl
There are so many benefits to burpees! If you hate them so much they stop you from working out then by all means skip them, and give one of these alternatives a try. Always do what’s right for your body and sustainable for you.