On a scale of one to 10, how much do you dislike burpees? If you said 10, we don't blame you! If you're looking for exercises that still work all your major muscle groups, here are nine alternatives to burpees.
1. Total-Body Extension
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
- Hinge your hips back and bend your knees into a squat as you swing your arms behind you.
- Swing your arms up over your head as you stand up and raise onto your tiptoes, squeezing your glutes and keeping your core tight.
- Start out slowly to master the form, then speed it up until you feel the burn.
This one looks simple, but if you do it right, you’ll be working up a sweat in no time. It’s basically the second half of a burpee without the jump, so it’s easier on your joints.
2. Man Maker
- Stand with a dumbbell in each hand.
- Squat down and place the dumbbells on the ground.
- Jump or step back into a plank.
- Row the dumbbells one at a time up to your shoulders.
- Jump or step your feet back to your hands, then stand up.
- Finally, perform an overhead press, lifting the dumbbells directly over your shoulders with your arms fully extended.
- Lower them down and start again.
This exercise is kind of like a burpees on steroids — it’s a tough one! But instead of the plyometrics of the jump in burpees, you’re adding a pair of dumbbells as resistance.
- Grab a pair of dumbbells (or a barbell) and hold it at chest level.
- With your feet hip-width apart, squat down, holding the weight steady at your chest.
- Stand up explosively and use the strength generated from your hips and glutes to lift the weight over your head.
- Lower the weight back down to your chest with control.
If man makers are a bit too much for you after all those burpees, cut out the first half of it and you’re left with thrusters.
- Stand with feet shoulder-width apart.
- Fold forward at your hips with your knees only slightly bent (not locked).
- Place your hands on the floor in front of you, then walk them out until you’re in a high plank.
- Perform a push-up by lowering your chest to the floor (or as low as you can).
- Push back up, walk your hands to your feet and stand up.
Part of a great full-body exercise isn’t just its ability to strengthen a particular muscle group, it’s also about lengthening it. While inchworms strengthen your upper body and core, they also stretch your lower body.
5. Push-Up + Leg Lift
- Start in a high plank with hands under your shoulders.
- Lower your chest to the floor (or as low as you can). As you do, lift your right foot several inches off the floor, keeping the foot flexed.
- Lower your foot to the ground, then push back up, maintaining a straight line from head to toe.
- Repeat, lifting the other foot this time.
Another push-up variation like the inchworm, this exercise puts an additional emphasis on your glutes, as you’ll be adding a leg lift at the end. If you’re feeling especially strong, add a resistance band around your thighs.
6. Lunge + Triceps Kickback
- Stand with feet together and a dumbbell in each hand.
- Step forward several feet and bend both knees until they’re at 90-degree angles.
- While in this position, lift the dumbbells up to your sides (almost at your armpits), elbows pointing back, then straighten your arms back behind you.
- Lower the weights back to your armpits, then down to your sides.
- Step your feet back together before repeating on the other side.
7. Kettlebell Swing
- Start with feet wider than hip-distance apart and knees bent.
- Grab a kettlebell with both hands (bell still on the floor a few feet in front of you).
- Hinge from the hips as you swing the bell through your legs and back behind you, keeping your core engaged and your back flat.
- Use the power from your hips and glutes to straighten your legs as the kettlebell comes back through your legs and up to shoulder height, all while keeping your core tight.
There’s a reason swings are a go-to exercise in the kettlebell community: They’re a great full-body exercise. Just make sure you choose a lighter weight to start until you master form. And keep your core engaged the entire time to protect your lower back.
- Stand with feet hip-width apart (or a tiny bit wider) with a dumbbell, medicine ball or the handle of a resistance band or cable machine in your hands.
- Pivot toward your left as you raise the weight over your left shoulder, arms extended straight (twist and lift onto the ball of your right foot).
- Then, bring the weight across your body and down to the right side, bending both knees as you do this.
- Stand up and be sure to do the same number of reps on each side.
There are a variety of ways to do this exercise — with a medicine ball, dumbbell, cable machine or resistance band — but no matter how you do it, you’ll be hitting your upper body, lower body and core at the same time.
9. Medicine-Ball Slam
- Stand with feet hip-width apart and a medicine ball on the floor in front you.
- Squat down to pick it up.
- Stand up as you raise it over your head.
- As you squat back down, throw it as hard as you can toward the floor.
- Pick it up again and repeat.
This last move is a great one for getting out any pent-up anger, frustration or other negative emotions, as you get to slam a medicine ball to the ground as hard as you can!
Try This 10-Minute Full-Body Workout
Ready to put it all together? Try this workout to target every major muscle group in your body and burn a ton of calories in the process.