Ask anyone who works out what they think about the total body multitasker, the burpee, and 99 percent of the time, they’ll respond with a loud groan. Burpees are the move we all love to hate for several reasons. They’re difficult to perform over and over again, and at the end of the day, your body will ache from the full-body workout.
Many exercisers also despise burpees because they’re challenging to do while maintaining safe, correct form. Burpees can lead to breathlessness, twisted ankles, sore backs, and other problems that prevent you from hitting the gym the next day.
Today, we’re discussing some alternative workout moves that won’t be quite as miserable as burpees. The moves still target your metabolic system and muscles throughout your body, but they won’t risk your wellbeing (or mental health) as much.
- Step 1: Stand with legs a little wider than shoulder-width apart. Slowly lower into a squat.
- Step 2: Jump upward, extending the legs, while simultaneously rotating 180 degrees to the other side landing softly into your squat.
- Step 3: Complete the back and forth squat-to-rotational jump position for the instructed amount of time.
This move will get your blood pumping and strengthen your legs without taking a toll on your back like burpees sometimes do. Just be sure to maintain a high speed so that you’re getting enough cardiac exercise.
In some ways, this move mirrors a burpee, but it includes more footwork and less up-and-down motion.
- Step 1: Stand tall with your feet spread hip-distance apart and your hands at your sides.
- Step 2: Then, push your hips into a quarter squat, swing your arms back, and jump forward as far as you possibly can.
- Step 3: After you land, walk your hands out to a plank, then return to your starting position.
This explosive move is all about power. It will stimulate your body as much as a burpee, but it also gives you more time to recover before each jump, which increases stability and safety during your workout.
Any trainer will tell you that this move really targets your arms, legs, and abs.
- Step 1: Begin in high plank position with your hands directly under your shoulders. Your body should be in a straight, diagonal line from your head to your heels.
- Step 2: With your core engaged, bring your right knee forward under your chest with the toes just off the ground. Return to your basic plank.
- Step 3: Switch legs, bringing the left knee forward. Keep alternating legs and pick up the pace until it feels like running in place in a plank position.
As you can probably tell, mountain climbers are a much easier on your body than burpees since they don’t require excessive jumping. However, they’re still extremely effective when it comes to forming a stronger, fitter body.
Step 1: Come to all fours with your toes curled under, hips over the knees and shoulders over the wrists. Lift the knees off the mat a couple of inches and hold. You should have a flat back. Look to your mat to keep the neck and spine aligned.
- Step 2: Step the same side foot and hand closer to the center without changing the positioning of your back and legs. Keep the 90-degree hinge of the hips and bend in your knees.
- Step 3: Continue moving in the same direction by starting with the other foot and hand. If you're moving to the left, you'll begin with the left foot and hand, followed by the right foot and hand until you've reached the length of your mat.
Although you might look like something straight out of The Ring while crawling around in the gym, you’ll do your body a big favor by working on your entire body.The key to performing this move correctly is to make certain that your shins are parallel to the ground throughout. The harder you push yourself, the more you’ll get out of the move.
If you want to work on your back muscles without risking injuries, start out with this modified version of a barbell snatch.
- Step 1: Lower into a squat, holding a heavy kettlebell between your feet. Make sure your chest is lifted and back is flat or slightly arched. Do not round your back.
- Step 2: Exhale and with force, press up through your heels, hamstrings and glutes to lift yourself to standing while you lift and press the kettlebell overhead. Immediately reverse the move and repeat.
A barbell snatch might be more impressive, but it’s also more challenging for your body. Don’t attempt to toss around heavy barbells until you’re completely comfortable with the technical aspects of the move.
» Want more kettlebell moves? 14 Kettlebell Moves for an All-Over Body Calorie Torcher
Much like running, these walking lunges stimulate your hips and thighs and do great things for your metabolism. Move continuously across the room while monitoring your posture and form. For every 10 minutes of walking lunges, you’ll improve your hip mobility, strengthen your knees, and even become a better runner.
- Step 1: Stand with your feet together and your arms at your sides or on hips. Stand tall with your shoulders drawn down your back.
- Step 2: Take a large step forward with your right leg, landing on your right heel. Allow your back leg to relax so that your knee drops toward the floor. Pause briefly here with your weight on your right heel.
- Step 3: Press into your right heel to stand up and step forward, returning to the starting position.
- Step 4: Immediately step forward onto your left leg and repeat the movement, alternating sides as you move forward in space.
Unlike burpees, walking lunges won’t leave your knees aching or your back sore. Make sure that you’re moving in a fluid, comfortable motion that leaves you in better shape than before. Amp up this move and hold a set of heavy dumbbells at your sides.
You know that machine you’ve noticed in the corner of the gym, but you’ve never tried to use? Take one look at professional rowers’ muscles and you’ll be convinced it’s worth trying. Rowing challenges your upper body as well as your legs and lower back, but it won’t risk your safety.
Go for at least one or two minutes without stopping on the machine, then rest. Repeat as many times as you can, then think about which feels more effective: rowing or burpees?
» Read More: 5 Benefits of Using a Rower
Next time you hit the gym, take a trip back to elementary school and pick up a jump rope. It might seem like a simple workout, but jumping rope can actually burn huge amounts of fat and work wonders on your heart.
Begin by jump roping for two minutes at a time. Make sure you’re properly absorbing your landing to avoid injuries, then work toward jumping for longer periods of time without stopping.
Why stick to basic pushups when you can challenge your body even more? You can either elevate your feet on a bench or keep them on the ground slightly bent so that your body is at an angle.
- Step 1: Begin in plank position, with your hands directly under your shoulders, and your body in one straight line.
- Step 2: Lower into a pushup, then press yourself back to up with force so that your hands leave the floor. Catch yourself on the way down and lower into the next rep.
As you go through the motions of the push up, your legs should propel your body into a straight line, then bring you back into an angle. This works your upper body and core muscles while still involving your hips and legs.
It’s easy to pretend you’re a graceful ice skater as you perform this slow, purposeful move.
- Step 1: Begin by standing with your feet hip hip-distance apart.
- Step 2: Then, jump so that your left leg is bent behind your right leg and your right leg bends slightly, absorbing the impact of the jump. Switch sides repeatedly.
If this move seems too challenging at first, you can alter it by keeping both feet on the ground. The important thing is to move from side to side while improving your athleticism and keeping the stress off of your knees.
As you can see, burpees aren’t the only option if you want to burn fat quickly. Try a few of these moves and see if you stop dreading the gym as much as you used to.