Adaptive modulation schemes for fading channels are usually required to fulfill certain long-term average BER targets. However, for simplicity and mathematical tractability, these schemes are often designed by fixing the short-term instantaneous BER to the target value. In this paper, the analysis and design of variable-rate variable-power QAM schemes with average BER constraints are tackled for a MIMO beamforming system with MRC and imperfect CSI. The SISO system is considered as a special case of these more general results. Approximate closed-form policies are derived for continuous rate and power adaptation which are compared to fully discrete policies designed numerically. Closed-form expressions for the ASE of the proposed policies are derived and evaluated. Our results indicate that imperfect CSI and discrete rate and power constraints do not significantly degrade performance.