As an athlete, I never thought that three words could really make me shudder until my coach said “Time for burpee’s.”

If this word makes you cringe as much as it makes me when I hear it, then this article is for you.

For those lucky enough to not know what a burpee is, I will do my best to not paint a bad picture about it because in reality, it is a very efficient all around exercise.


A burpee is a body weight exercise that starts out with you standing in an upright position. From there, you drop down into a pushup, immediately completing one.

The pushup transitions directly into a jump squat, ideally being able to generate enough force from the pushup to propel yourself directly into a squat, and from there jumping as high as you can, extending your arms above your head (check the video here).

Deep down, I actually like this exercise because of the multiple benefits that it gives you. Completing a few of these is immediately enough to get your heart rate pumping and your muscles burning in both your arms and legs.

There are a few different variations of the burpee that can be done to either make this exercise harder, easier or even just different for the purpose of being different.

These variations are intended to be different, but still match the same cardio stress and fast twitch muscle usage.

2 in 1 Burpee

Instead of just completing one burpee, when you drop down to the push up phase, do two pushups instead of one and on the second pushup go directly into two jump squats.

Knee Tuck Burpee

Very simply, during your jump squat, when you jump, bring your knees up to your chest.

Mountain Climber Burpees

In this variation of a burpee, in the middle of your pushup you simply do two or three mountain climbers. A mountain climber is when you are in a pushup position and one at a time bring your knees to your chest, in a speed and motion similar to upright running.

These last few exercises were for the people that just needed change to start enjoying the overall burpee experience again.

If burpees are really not for you, there are other ways to get the benefits of the burpee, without actually doing a one.

First of all, we have to divide the exercise into its two separate parts; a pushup and a jump squat. Therefore, to replicate the benefits of a burpee, we must also replicate the motions of pushups and jump squats. What are the benefits of those two exercises?

Well, a pushup works primarily the pectorals (chest) and triceps (arms). A jump squat is mainly engaging your quadriceps, or the thighs on the front of your leg.

Here are some exercises you can do to get the same strength benefits as burpees, simply by working the same muscles used as in a burpee.

Dips (Triceps)
Pushups (Chest)

There are many different variations of this exercise that target both the chest and triceps as seen in the linked video.

Dumbbell Flies (Chest)

Lay on your back with two dumbbells in each hand. Extend your arms so your elbows have less than a 45 degree angle. Bring the dumbbells straight up over you to meet in the middle.

Squats (Quads)

burpee alternative2

This exercise can be done in the gym with weight or at home without weight.

As a side note, these are not the ONLY exercises that can be substituted in either, but it is a start.

Do each one of these 6-8 times in exchange for a few burpees. After switching the regular burpees up or doing these other exercises, you might even come to realize that you miss a good old burpee every now and then!

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