The standard burpee is rightly known as the king of bodyweight exercises, working multiple muscles groups as well as improving cardiovascular fitness. It is also, however, frightfully hard. Fortunately there is a slightly easier version of the burpee that will provide many of the same benefits without leaving you a broken mess on the floor of the gym. Meet the squat thrust.
Don’t be fooled into thinking squat thrusts are easy just because we’ve called them a beginner version of the burpee. You’re still going to be strengthening muscles all over the body and cranking up your heart rate. The lower-body muscles in particular – your quads, glutes and hamstrings – are called upon, and you’ll certainly feel a squat thrusts session in your core and shoulders the following day too.
How To Do The Squat Thrust
Start in a standing position, with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend down and place your hands on the floor, kicking your feet out behind you so that you end up in a press-up position. Then jump your feet back forward and stand up tall once again. At this point when doing a full burpee you’d explode into the air and throw your hands above your head. But this isn’t a full burpee, so you don’t have to do any of that. Instead drop down and do another squat thrust, and then another. Keep going for as many reps as possible in a minute, or whatever other interval you’re doing for a circuit.
You can vary the squat thrust to make it more difficult, and not simply by adding in the jump you’d do for a burpee. You can add in a press-up when you’re down on the floor before you jump your feet forward. This will make your upper-body muscles, particularly the chest and triceps, work harder.
Another good variation is to hold a light dumbbell in each hand and, as you return to a standing position, press the weights above your head before dropping down for your next squat thrust. This increases the workload on your arms and shoulders.