Nothing puts a look of fear on my clients face like the word Burpee! I am a huge fan of the Burpees, I give many variations of this motion ranging from one legged all the way to deconstructed. But have you ever stopped to wonder where the burpee came from and why this is one Trainer Joe favorite exercises?
Burpees: A Short History
Royal H. Burpee was a physiologist in New York City in 1939. He invented the first version of the burpee as a part of a fitness test. The original movement was milder than the burpee we know and love hate today.
Mr. Burpee :) never intended for his fitness evaluation tool to become the form of exercise that it has become today. The burpee was intended to be performed 4 times in a row, and he would measure the participant’s heart rate before and after in order to assess their heart’s efficiency at pumping blood, thus determining their overall fitness rate. He was obviously a much nicer man than I, as I usually disperse them in intervals of 25.
Burpees: An Evolution
Luckily, over time the burpee was modified from its original, fitness evaluation form to the more vigorous modern movement.
Original Burpee: Squat down and place both hands on the floor in front of you. Jump feet back into plank position. Jump feet forward. Return to standing. Perform only 4 times in a row, measuring heart rate before and after. <-- Not trainer Joe Approved my grandmother does this to warm up before bingo!
Modern Burpee: Bend over or squat down and place both hands on the floor in front of you, just outside of your feet. Jump both feet back into plank position. Drop to a pushup — your chest should touch the floor but not rest upon it. Push or snake up to return to plank position. Jump feet back in toward hands. Explosively jump up into the air, reaching arms straight overhead. Perform as many times in a row as instructed by your trainer! <----- Trainer Joe's Approved!
Spice it up: There are always many of variations available for any given motion. So, live a little will ya! Grab a medicine ball or do 3 push ups while in the position because A Burpee as difficult as it is like all other exercises is subject to the effectiveness of your muscle confusion strategy.
When you perform a modern burpee you are essentially doing a vigorous six-count bodyweight movement that requires you to move between six unique positions as quickly as possible.
Everything burns as you go through a series of burpees: your lungs, your legs, your arms, and most of all your soul as it really can take the wind out of you when done correctly. Burpees is an advanced movement that cultivates agility, strength, coordination, speed, athleticism, and focus. While it can be modified to accommodate someone who can not achieve this at their current fitness levels. We have a strategy called progressions where each pivot point is worked on individually.
So the next time that you are told to do 25, 50, or 100 burpees: think of Royal H. Burpee and of course think of how much joy I am getting from your pain.
- Trainer Joe
How to do a burpee
How to do a burpee
About Trainer Joe
Trainer Joe is a 23 year experienced fitness and mindset expert. Joe has been considered top of his field in the fitness industry because of his amazing resume and extensive knowledge of how the human body responds to exercise stimulation. A ground breaking self help presenter, Joe can appeal to the logical, emotional, and scientific aspects of any mind, regardless of the students background or knowledge base.