Burpee (exercise)

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Marines do burpees aboard USS San Antonio in 2016

The burpee, a squat thrust with an additional stand between repetitions, is a full body exercise used in strength training. The movement itself is primarily an anaerobic exercise, but when done in succession over a longer period can be utilized as an aerobic exercise.[1][2]

The basic movement as described by its namesake, physiologist Royal H. Burpee, is performed in four steps from a standing position and known as a "four-count burpee":[3]

  1. Move into a squat position with your hands on the ground.
  2. Kick your feet back into an extended plank position, while keeping your arms extended.
  3. Immediately return your feet into squat position.
  4. Stand up from the squat position.

One modification is to step back into a plank instead of kicking back.

Moves 2 and 3 constitute a squat thrust. Many variants of the basic burpee exist, and they often include a push-up and a jump.[4]


Demonstration of a burpee
Variant of a burpee that includes a push-up and a jump.

The exercise was invented in 1939 by US physiologist Royal Huddleston Burpee Sr., who used it in the burpee test to assess fitness.[5][6] Burpee earned a PhD in applied physiology from Teachers College, Columbia University in 1940 and created the "burpee" exercise as part of his PhD thesis as a quick and simple fitness test,[7] which may be used as a measure of agility and coordination.[8] The original burpee was a "four-count burpee" consisting of movements through four different positions, and in the fitness test, the burpee was performed four times, with five heart rate measurements taken before and after the four successive burpees to measure the efficiency of the heart at pumping blood and how quickly the heart rate returns to normal.[6]

The exercise was popularized when the United States Armed Services made it one of the ways used to assess the fitness level of recruits when the US entered World War II.[3] Although the original test was not designed to be performed at high volume, the Army used the burpee to test how many times it can be performed by a soldier in 20 seconds[3] – 8 burpees in 20 seconds is considered poor, 10 is fair, 13 or more excellent. The Army also considered that a soldier fit enough for the rigor of war should be able to perform 40 or 50 burpees non-stop in an easy rhythm.[6]


Box-jump burpee
The athlete jumps onto a box, rather than straight up and down.[9]
Burpee broad jump
A burpee followed by a stationary two footed distance jump.[citation needed]
Burpee push-up
The athlete performs one push-up after assuming the extended plank position.[citation needed]
Dumbbell burpee
The athlete holds a pair of dumbbells while performing the exercise.[10]
Devil-press burpee
The athlete performs a non-jumping burpee with dumbbells and then overhead presses the dumbbells.[citation needed]
Eight-count push-up[11] 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.[12]
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 push-up.
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.[13]
Pull-up burpee
Combine a pull-up with the jump or do a pull-up instead of the jump.[citation needed]
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.[citation needed]
Burpee mountain climber
The athlete does a full regular burpee, when the chest and thigh are on the ground, the athlete completes a full mountain climber (split-squat thrust)[citation needed]
Tuck-jump burpee
The athlete pulls their knees to their chest (tucks) at the peak of the jump.[citation needed]

World records[edit]

Chest-to-ground burpees[edit]

One minute[edit]

On April 29, 2023, in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada, Philippe Jouan achieved a record 38 chest-to-ground burpees in one minute.[14]

One hour[edit]

On June 25, 2021, in Singapore, Cassiano Rodrigues Laureano achieved a record 951 chest-to-ground burpees in one hour.[15]

12 hours[edit]

On July 7, 2019, in Milford, Michigan, Army ROTC Cadet Bryan Abell set the Guinness World Record for most chest-to-ground burpees performed in 12 hours by completing 4,689 burpees.[16] On December 1, 2019, this record was broken and the new record was set as 5,234 by Samuel Finn from Canada.[17]

72 hours[edit]

At 6 am on October 21, 2013, in Portland, Oregon, Lloyd Weema broke the burpee world record: the most chest-to-ground burpees performed in 72 hours with 9,480.[18]

See also[edit]

  • Sun Salutation - a sequence of yoga postures that bears some similarities.


  1. ^ Podstawski, R.; Markowski, P.; Clark, C. C.; Choszcz, D.; Ihász, F.; Stojiljković, S.; Gronek, P. (19 October 2019). "International Standards for the 3‐Minute Burpee Test: High‐ Intensity Motor Performance". Journal of Human Kinetics. 69: 137–147. doi:10.2478/hukin-2019-0021. PMC 6815084. PMID 31666896.
  2. ^ "Burpees Benefits". Livestrong Foundation. Retrieved 14 February 2021.
  3. ^ a b c Raymond, A (February 1944). Can we make our soldiers tough enough?. Popolar Science. pp. 57–60, 203. Retrieved 16 April 2021.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ Burpee, David A. (16 December 2011). Biographical Sketches of Extraordinary Burpees from North America. pp. 100–101. ISBN 9781466904989.
  6. ^ a b c Rodio, Michael (25 June 2016). "The Badass History of the Burpee and the Legendary Man Who Created It". Men's Journal.
  7. ^ "Reference extract from Teachers College, Columbia University archive". Teachers College, Columbia University. Retrieved 8 November 2011.
  8. ^ "Definition of burpee". Oxford Dictionaries Online. Oxford University Press. Archived from the original on July 17, 2011. Retrieved 24 May 2010.
  9. ^ "Demonstrations: Box-Jump Burpee". Crossfit Endurance. Retrieved 9 July 2014.
  10. ^ "Reebok CrossFit ONE Movement Demo "Dumbbell Burpee"". Reebok Crossfit One. Feb 22, 2013. Archived from the original on 2021-12-20. Retrieved 9 July 2014.
  11. ^ Can we make our soldiers tough enough? from Popular Science, 1944. February 1944. Retrieved 12 October 2012.
  12. ^ "The Burpee Box Jump-Over". www.crossfit.com. Retrieved 2021-11-19.
  13. ^ "Periodic Table of Bodyweight Exercises - Stack 52".
  14. ^ "Most chest to ground burpees in one minute (male)". guinnessworldrecords. 2023-04-29. Retrieved 2020-08-05.
  15. ^ Shan, Lee Ying; Campbell, Joseph (2021-07-21). "Brazilian sets burpee Guinness Record in Singapore". Reuters. Retrieved 2022-03-17.
  16. ^ "Burpee beast: ROTC cadet sets world record during fundraiser". www.army.mil. Retrieved 2020-02-28.
  17. ^ Stephenson, Kristen (27 July 2020). "This Canadian did 12 hours of burpees and raised $58,000 to honor the memory of his late brother". Guinness World Records.
  18. ^ "Lloyd Weema's 72 Hour Burpee World Record". Unique World Records. Archived from the original on 11 July 2015. Retrieved 9 July 2015.

External links[edit]