How To Do Modified Burpees

By: Chris Freytag, CPT // July 17, 2022

The modified burpee is a low-impact exercise on the joints while strengthening the muscles in your chest, glutes, shoulders, and core! It’s a great option for seniors or just for those who are wanting to avoid high-impact exercise.

Before attempting a full burpee, there are other exercises you can do separately to build up the strength in the proper muscle groups all incorporated in a burpee. First make sure that you can master exercises such as squats, push-ups, and planks. All of these exercises, all low impact exercises, are incorporated in the burpee.

An easier option than the traditional full out burpee; modified burpees are a great way to still perform a full-body exercise while avoiding jumping and jolting.


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    Benefits of a Modified Burpee

    Learning different variations of the burpee allows you to modify and find a variation that works best for your body. So the next time a burpee shows up in your workout, you will able to continue to perform the exercise without causing pain or injury.

    Whether you’re just learning how to properly perform a burpee or you’re trying to stay low impact on the joints, there is a modified version for every stage of exercise. 

    We recommend warming up the body before starting a burpee, so it’s great to weave into a larger routine so your body is prepared.

    Below we’re sharing exactly how to modify the burpee and many variations to try!

    How To Do A Modified Burpee

    While the burpee is known as a high-impact movement, the burpee simply is not for everyone. Slow things down, take out the jump, and modify the move while still effectively working on the muscular strength of a burpee. 

    Here are a few ways you can modify this exercise when they show up in your next workout:

    4-Count Modified Burpees

    The closest variation to a burpee while staying low-impact is 4-count modified burpee. They are given the name “4-count” since it can be dissected into 4 parts.

    Here’s how to perform modified burpees:

    1. Start from a high plank position. Rather than jumping into a low squat, you will want to walk one foot to the outside of your hand and then walk your second foot into the outside of that hand.  
    2. Find the bottom of your squat, stand up with your chest tall, with NO jump at the top.
    3. Firmly place your hands back down to the ground in a low squat, and step each foot back finding your high plank again! 

    Squat It Out  

    Another substitute for burpees is to skip them altogether. I know that may sound odd, but truly there are so many exercises out there that if going down to the ground and coming back up in a quick fashion is not for you, no problem!

    Skip going to the ground and just squat it out! Here’s how to perform a proper squat.

    Get Healthy U TV Trainer demonstrating how to do bodyweight squats. Wearing a bright pink tank top and black leggings.

    6 Count Modified Burpee (Low Impact Option) 

    Are you ready to move past burpee modifications but not quite ready to jump to a full burpee? Then it may be time to try a 6-count modified burpee.

    Chris Freytag performing the 6 Count Modified Burpee (Low Impact Option)
    1. Start in a high plank position.
    2. From here, add a push-up (on your toes or modified come down to the knees).
    3. Walk your feet up to your low squat, stand up raising your arms over your head, squat low to place your palms back on the ground, walking back to your starting position of a high plank. 

    This is a low-impact option of the 6-count burpee, while working on overall strength of the entire body. 

    Incline Burpee

    If you don’t enjoy going all the way to the ground and coming all the way back up, elevating your body takes pressure off the shoulders and eliminates the full down and up range of motion.

    1. Stand with your feet hip-width distance apart and your hands at your sides. You will want to make sure you have a bench, a platform, table, couch (get creative) in front of you!
    2. Start to bend your knees and place your hands on the bench.
    3. Walk your feet back to an incline high plank (this is the plank portion of a burpee).
    4. Step or walk your feet back into a low squat with your hands remaining on the incline surface. This decreases your range of motion and allows you to stay low impact and not have to go too low to the ground before coming back to standing position.

    Modified Burpees For Seniors

    As we age, exercising can get harder on our joints as well as navigating injuries. Modified burpees for seniors allow those who have a harder time with the high-impact exercise to perform in a way that is suitable to them.

    These burpee modifications will work your whole body and allow you to perform a great strength and cardio move than you might have otherwise skipped.

    What Muscles Do Modified Burpees Work?

    The modified burpee exercise targets many muscle groups. In fact, it is a special bodyweight exercise that uses almost several of your largest muscle groups in your body. Though we are discussing the modified version, you will still target muscles in your chest, core, glutes, and shoulders.

    Other Exercise Modifications

    If you enjoy this modification, here are some other popular exercises you may enjoy:

    We love to recommend modified burpees for seniors, beginners, those recovering from injury or anyone who appreciate the benefit of low impact exercise.

    Exercise Form, Fitness

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