What is the origin of burpees?
Invented in the 1930’s by an American physiologist named Royal H. Burpee who used it to test physical fitness1, this exercise then spread to the U.S. Armed Forces as a test of fitness, agility, coordination, strength and endurance, it’s what is a burpee.
41 burpees in 1 minute reflects excellent fitness, 27 burpees in 1 minute reflects poor fitness.
Today, this exercise is familiar to fans of Spartan Races, which require participants to do 30 burpees in a row if they fail to clear an obstacle. There are also some CrossFit boxes that use this kind of punishment for people who are late! Of course, this exercise is also done willingly for many reasons that we will see.
How to do burpees?
It is important to understand that this exercise is not as simple as it looks, and it is not recommended for beginners who can easily get injured with a poor execution of the movements.
The burpee, also known as the squat thrust, is divided into four steps. This full-body exercise begins in the standing position. From there:
Bend your legs (perform a squat) and place your hands on the floor.
Keeping your arms straight, throw your feet back to put your body in a plank position.
Return to the position described in point 1 by throwing your feet forward.
Perform a jump with your feet together.
It is easy to make this exercise more complete/more difficult by adding a pump once in plank position and doing an explosive jump as high as possible at point 4, etc. (we will see many variations on this exercise. (we will see the many variations at the end of this article).
The burpee requires a lot of energy, and therefore allows you to burn out in a minimum amount of time. This is one of the reasons why we find this exercise in HIIT training formats, in CrossFit WODs, or in 100 burpees challenges or the famous 30-days challenge.