Adapt any workout to your fitness level by choosing the right exercise variation. Scaling with variations can also be used simply to adjust a workout to your current mood and energy level. Maybe you’re just feeling super strong today and want to spice up your workout. Or you’re feeling down and need something easy…
Choose the variation that seems challenging enough, while still maintaining good form.
Here is a list of easy, intermediate, and hard variations for 8 common bodyweight exercises including Burpees, Push-ups, Lunges, Crunches, Squats, Plank, Bridge, and Leg Raises – just click on the exercise to open the suggested variations:
Bodyweight exercise variations list – easy, intermediate, hard
Burpees are amazing calorie burners. They add intensity to every bodyweight workout!
Easy: 4-Count Burpees
Similar to a normal (Flat Out) Burpee, but without touching the ground with your chest. Do the transitions slowly until you can speed it up.
Intermediate: Flat Out Burpees
Squeeze your glutes when lifting your chest up from the floor to avoid overstraining your lower back.
Hard: One Legged 6-Count Burpees
Perform the Burpee on just one leg! Work your stability and leg strength – don’t forget to do a full Push-up in this Burpee variation.
A classic upper body exercise in 3 variations. Looking for more? Check out 8 best Push-up variations for a bigger chest!
Easy: Knee Push-ups
Knee Push-ups are a good start. If your goal is to be able to do a full Push-up, make sure to try doing one at the beginning of every workout.
Avoid letting your elbows flare out to the side and keep your body in a straight line. When you can do more than 12 with perfect form – look for variations!
Hard: Alligator Push-ups
This Push-up variation puts an extra challenge on your abs and your arms! Make sure to aim the knee outside the elbow.
Choose your Lunge variation and be ready to feel your quads and legs work. For even more ideas check out these 10 Lunge variations.
Easy: Forward Lunges
Start slowly and find your balance. Remember that your goal is to use the front leg to push yourself back up!
Intermediate: Lunge to High Knee
Add a High Knee to your lunge to make it more challenging for your one leg stability & strength.
Hard: Lunge High Knee Jump
The end jump in this advanced combo builds your explosiveness and makes your glutes work more, too!
Even though Crunches won’t make your abs visible unless you lose body fat, they can still add extra ab work to any workout and really make you feel the burn.
Instead of pulling up on your neck, focus on squeezing your abs to flex your upper body.
Intermediate: Modified Bicycle Crunches
Flex your knees and keep one foot on the ground to build up strength & stability in the core before moving on to the full version.
Hard: Bicycle Crunches
If you are doing it right, you will really feel this exercise in your obliques. Make it harder by going slowly, don’t rush through the movement!
Already perfected your squat and want more variations? Here are 12 squat variations for your next leg day!
Mastering the bodyweight squat is essential for good results in almost any workout program. If it’s challenging, practice with a chair first.
Not sure how to do proper Squats? Check out common squat mistakes.
Intermediate: Jump Squat
The Jump Squat really challenges the muscular endurance of your legs. Add a small jump between two Jump Squats if you want it easier.
Hard: Butt Kicker Jump Squat
This Jump Squat variation will literally kick your butt – your goal is to jump high enough to be able to touch your butt with your heels while you’re in the air.
Easy: Modified High Plank
Take a High Plank position, hold it shortly and then let your knees rest on the ground. Repeat to build up strength for the full version.
Intermediate: High Plank
Try to get your body in a straight line from head to heel. Make it even harder by squeezing your belly and your glutes at the same time.
Hard: High Plank Leg Lifts
Lifting one leg up challenges your core stability. The goal is to not let your spine flex – no need to lift it high! Squeeze your glute and let it pull the leg up.
The Bridge exercises can be progressed nicely to strengthen your back, abs, glutes, and hamstrings.
Push your heels to the floor to lift your hips up. Keep your core tight – you should feel this in the back of your legs and glutes, not in your lower back.
Intermediate: Single Leg Bridge
Add a stability challenge to the Bridge exercise by lifting your leg off the floor. Go slowly and controlled, pushing up from your heel.
Hard: Marching Bridge
A real glute burner! Like a Single Leg Bridge, but performed on alternating sides. Aim to keep your hips at the same level, don’t let them fall from side to side.
8. Leg Raises
If you have time for only one abs exercise in your workout, Leg Raises are more effective than Crunches or Sit-ups. However, make sure to progress slowly and maintain good form.
Easy: Assisted Leg Raises
Start with a smaller range of motion. Don’t let your legs fall down, lean on something to keep your balance. The goal is to control the move with your core and not arch your back.
Intermediate: Leg Raises
Lower your legs as low as possible without arching your back. It’s better to progress slowly than to perform this exercise by straining your lower back.
Hard: Leg Raises + Reverse Crunch
Once you’ve mastered the Leg Raises, add a Reverse Crunch. Keep lifting your legs up toward you head until your hips are off the floor. Return to the starting position slowly and controlled.
These exercise variations will come in handy when you want to customize your workouts.
It’s better to choose an easier variation and do it well than to push yourself into something you can’t do with good form! Find out what’s challenging for you and be patient – you will get stronger with persistence and time.