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 in 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.

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

The exercise was invented in the 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 4 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 rigour of war should be able to perform 40 or 50 burpees non-stop in an easy rhythm.[6]

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


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.[10]
Burpee push-up
The athlete performs one push-up after assuming the extended plank position.[11]
Dumbbell burpee
The athlete holds a pair of dumbbells while performing the exercise.[12]
Devil-Press burpee
The athlete performs a non-jumping burpee with dumbbells and then overhead presses the dumbbells.[13]
Eight-count push-up[14] 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.[15]
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.[16]
Pull-up burpee
Combine a pull-up with the jump or do a pull-up instead of the jump.[17]
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.[18]
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).[19]
Tuck-jump burpee
The athlete pulls their knees to their chest (tucks) at the peak of the jump.[20]

World records[edit]

Ordinary Burpees[edit]

At 4 pm on May 17, 2014, in Greenwood, South Carolina, 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.[21]

Chest-to-ground Burpees[edit]

1 hour[edit]

On July 23, 2018, in Hobart, Tasmania, Charlie Gard achieved a record 851 chest-to-ground burpees in one hour.[22]

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.[23] On December 1, 2019, this record was broken and the new record was set as 5,234 by Samuel Finn from Canada.[24]

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.[25]

See also[edit]

  • Sūrya Namaskār (Salute to the Sun), a sequence of yoga postures that has 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. ^ "Movement of the Week: the burpee broad jump".
  11. ^ "Burpees - with Push-Up". darebee.com. Retrieved February 10, 2018.
  12. ^ "Reebok CrossFit ONE Movement Demo "Dumbbell Burpee"". Reebok Crossfit One. Feb 22, 2013. Retrieved 9 July 2014.
  13. ^ "Devils Press". myworkouts. Retrieved 2021-11-19.
  14. ^ Can we make our soldiers tough enough? from Popular Science, 1944. February 1944. Retrieved 12 October 2012.
  15. ^ "The Burpee Box Jump-Over". www.crossfit.com. Retrieved 2021-11-19.
  16. ^ "Periodic Table of Bodyweight Exercises - Stack 52".
  17. ^ "Burpee Pull-Ups". Skimble. Retrieved 2021-11-19.
  18. ^ "Side to side burpee - MUSQLE". musqle.com. Retrieved 2021-11-19.
  19. ^ Lefkowith, Cori (2017-12-16). "Mountain Climber Burpee | Redefining Strength". Retrieved 2021-11-19.
  20. ^ "Tuck Jump Burpees Your How To Guide - Get Strong". www.getstrong.fit. Retrieved 2021-11-19.
  21. ^ "The Making of Cameron Dorn's Burpee World Record". Greenwood Calendar. 19 May 2014. Retrieved 10 July 2014.
  22. ^ Bovill, Monte (22 July 2018). "Tasmania's burpee man Charlie Gard smashes Guinness World Record". ABC News. Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  23. ^ "Burpee beast: ROTC cadet sets world record during fundraiser". www.army.mil. Retrieved 2020-02-28.
  24. ^ Stephenson, Kristen (27 July 2020). "This Canadian did 12 hours of burpees and raised $58,000 to honor the memory of his late brother". Guiness World Records.
  25. ^ "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]