Burpee (exercise)

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The burpee, or squat thrust, is a full body exercise used in strength training and as an aerobic exercise. The basic movement is performed in four steps and known as a "four-count burpee":[1]

  1. Begin in a standing position.
  2. Move into a squat position with your hands on the ground. (count 1)
  3. Kick your feet back into a plank position, while keeping your arms extended. (count 2)
  4. Immediately return your feet into squat position. (count 3)
  5. Stand up from the squat position (count 4)
Burpee demonstration

Origin[edit]

The exercise was named in the 1930s for American physiologist Royal H. Burpee, who developed the burpee test. He earned a Ph.D. in applied physiology from Columbia University in 1940 and created the "burpee" exercise as part of his Ph.D. thesis as a quick and simple way to assess fitness.[2] The exercise was popularized when the United States Armed Services adopted it as a way to assess the fitness level of recruits when the US entered World War II. Consisting of a series of the exercises performed in rapid succession, the test was meant to be a quick measure of agility, coordination, and strength.[3]

Progression[edit]

The way to perform a burpee as originally intended has progressed since the 1930s. The up phase of the burpee used to be with the feet landing between the hands while still grounded, which creates unnecessary pressure on the lower back. It's now more common to land the feet on the outside of the hands.

Confusion[edit]

The burpee is sometimes confused with a sprawl. A sprawl is similar to the burpee with the main difference being that the hips are coming towards the ground.

Variants[edit]

Box-jump burpee 
The athlete jumps onto a box, rather than straight up and down.[4]
Burpee broad jump
A burpee followed by a stationary two footed distance jump.[5]
Burpee push up (also known as a "bastardo")
The athlete performs one push-up after assuming the extended plank position.[6]
CrossFit burpee
The athlete performs a standard four count burpee with the addition of a tricep push up at the bottom, where the chest and thighs touch the floor, and jump at the top of the standing position with hands above the head.[7]
CrossFit speed burpee 
The athlete drops to the ground with the chest and thighs touching the floor, creating a hollow back through hip extension, rolling onto the knees getting up, and perform a jump with hands above the head. This version is all about efficiency, high reps.
Dumbbell burpee
The athlete holds a pair of dumbbells while performing the exercise.[8]
Eight-count push up[9] or Double burpee
The athlete performs two push-ups after assuming the plank position. This cancels the drive from landing after the jump and makes the next jump harder. Each part of the burpee might be repeated to make it even harder.
Hindu push up burpee
Instead of a regular push up, do a Hindu push up.
Jump-over burpee 
The athlete jumps over an obstacle between burpees.
Jump up burpee 
The athlete jumps straight up as high as possible at the end of the movement, before beginning the next burpee.[10]
Knee push-up burpee 
The athlete bends their knees and rests them on the ground before performing the push up.
Long-jump burpee 
The athlete jumps forward, not upward.
Muscle-up burpee 
Combine a muscle-up (a variation of a pull-up) with the jump or do a muscle-up instead of the jump.
One-armed burpee 
The athlete uses only one arm for the whole exercise including the pushup.
One leg burpee 
The athlete stands on one leg, bends at the waist and puts hands on ground so they are aligned with shoulders. Next jump back with the standing leg to plank position. Jump forward with the one leg that was extended, and do a one-leg jump. Repeat on opposite side.[11]
Parkour burpee 
Following one burpee on the ground, the athlete jumps upon a table and performs the second burpee on the table, then jumps back to the initial position.
Pull-up burpee 
Combine a pull-up with the jump or do a pull-up instead of the jump.
Side burpee 
The athlete bends at waist and places hand shoulder-width apart to the side of right or left foot. Jump both legs out to side and land on the outer and inner sides of your feet. Jump back in, jump up, and repeat on opposite side.
Squat Thrust 
Same as a four-count burpee.
Tuck-jump burpee 
The athlete pulls their knees to their chest (tucks) at the peak of the jump.

World records[edit]

At 4 pm on May 17, 2014, in Greenwood, SC, Cameron Dorn broke two burpee world records: the most burpees performed in 12 hours with 5,657 and the most burpees completed in 24 hours with 10,105.[12]

At 6 am on October 21, 2013, in Portland, OR, Lloyd Weema broke the burpee world record: the most chest to ground burpees performed in 72 hours with 9,480.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sheryl Dluginski (January 4, 2013). "The Real Story Behind the Exercise You Love to Hate: the Burpee". DNA Info. Archived from the original on August 18, 2017. 
  2. ^ "Reference extract from Columbia Teachers College archive". Teachers College, Columbia University. Retrieved 8 November 2011. 
  3. ^ "Definition of burpee from Oxford Dictionaries Online". Oxford University Press. Retrieved 24 May 2010. 
  4. ^ "Demonstrations: Box-Jump Burpee". Crossfit Endurance. Retrieved 9 July 2014. 
  5. ^ "Movement of the Week: the burpee broad jump". Archived from the original on July 14, 2014. Retrieved 9 July 2014. 
  6. ^ "Burpees - with Push-Up". darebee.com. Retrieved February 10, 2018. 
  7. ^ "How to Do the Perfect Burpee". greatist.com. May 12, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Reebok CrossFit ONE Movement Demo "Dumbbell Burpee"". Reebok Crossfit One. Feb 22, 2013. Retrieved 9 July 2014. 
  9. ^ Can we make our soldiers tough enough? from Popular Science, 1944. Retrieved 12 October 2012. 
  10. ^ "Burpees". darebee.com. Retrieved February 10, 2018.  - includes jump and push up variations
  11. ^ http://strength.stack52.com/periodic-table-of-bodyweight-exercises/
  12. ^ "The Making of Cameron Dorn's Burpee World Record". Greenwood Calendar. Retrieved 10 July 2014. 
  13. ^ "Lloyd Weema's 72 Hour Burpee World Record". Unique World Records. Retrieved 9 July 2015. 

External links[edit]