You can’t escape burpees these days. It’s become the go-to move for high-intensity exercise because it uses a lot of muscle and moves your body mass up and down. This is also why burpees are an exercise that many people love to hate.
For some people, rapidly shifting the head up and down creates dizziness. For others, the high-impact nature of the movement proves too difficult and form quickly falls apart, particularly when fatigue sets in.
Burpees are definitely challenging, requiring the exerciser to employ full-body stability, mobility in many joints and above-average coordination, while also being able to perform both a solid plank and a decent squat. It can also be monotonous to keep doing the same movement over and over again.
In this spirit, here are a few full-body moves that provide some of the same benefits as burpees, while providing some novelty.
Wide-to-narrow Touch Squat
Start with feet close together and squat by moving hips back and down. Touch either the ground or the outside of your lower leg. As you quickly rise from the squat, slide your feet out wide and squat again, this time touching either the ground or the inside of your lower leg. Keep alternating as you complete the exercise. If you touch your leg, try to touch the same spot each time to verify full range of motion throughout the set. The emphasis here is not on jumping, but rather on a quick slide of the feet out and in. Landing and dropping into the next squat makes this exercise low-impact, while poor technique would make it a high-impact exercise.
From a high plank position, walk your feet in and to the side so that both feet finish to the left of your hands. Return to the starting position, and repeat the walk in so that your feet finish to the right of your hands. Emphasize small, quick steps to maximize the challenge of this movement.
Hinge forward at the hips and place your hands on the ground perpendicular to your feet and out in front of you. Support your weight on your hands as you lift your feet and pivot your body around your hands to land facing the opposite direction (or close to it). Unlike burpees, which usually feature a hard, violent landing, this exercise requires a controlled approach to landing softly. Focus on enhancing body awareness and movement quality on the landings.
Try these burpee swaps and see if they deliver similar benefits with a shot of interest in your full-body exercises and give you a break from burpees.
Click here to watch a video demonstrating all three exercises.