“Ever Tried a Hurpee” Thursday – Where did it originate from? (Day 3)

Hahah, now that I got your attention. A hurpee sounds exactly like the word herpe (unfortunately), but a hurpee is a “half burpee” that does not include a pushup. We tend to not use the word hurpee as you may understand why. But we have been asked the question, “What is a burpee and why do we use it?” Here is the reason why and where it originated from.


What is a burpee?

Burpees combine a squat, push-up and vertical jump into a sequence of moves performed in quick succession. It’s named after its inventor, Royal H. Burpee, an American psychologist who wanted to design a test for agility, coordination and fitness. It was subsequently adopted by the Army and Navy as a means of assessing recruits’ fitness for World War II. The military now sees it as a simple but effective conditioning exercise.

So how do I do them?

To get the most from burpees you need to do them correctly. With your feet together, squat down and put your hands on the ground just in front of your feet. Keep your feet together and jump them back so you land in a push-up. Bend your arms and do a single push-up. Jump your feet back in and under your body and then leap up and into the air. Land on slightly-bent legs and repeat.

Please tell me the benefits of this evil exercise?

Burpees use virtually every muscle in your body which makes them a very efficient exercise. It places a significant load on your cardiovascular system so you get a cardio workout without having to run a single step. It’s also an effective calorie burner, though that depends on other factors such as your reps and current body weight.

Do I have to jump and are there variations?

No, you do not have to jump. But the burpee can be adapted in several ways to make it easier or harder. In our classes, we encourage beginners to skip the push-up and/or jump. Advanced exercisers can add an obstacle to jump forward or sideways between reps. They can also do them wearing a weighted vest or holding dumbbells. Some will even add a pull-up between reps (insert evil grin:)

Ok! I’ve accepted them, now what’s a good workout using them?

Try performing 100 burpees as fast as you can (advanced), or see how many you can complete in 10 minutes (beginner). Alternatively, try something more entertaining like the 20-to-1 descending burpee pyramid. Do 20 burpees, rest a moment, and the do 19 and rest again. Continue doing one less burpee per set until you reach one rep. Advanced exercisers can complete this challenge in under 20 minutes. You can also do burpees for distance with a long jump replacing the vertical jump. There are lots of football fields in local neighborhoods, so see how long it takes you to cover 100, 200 or 400 yards doing burpees. Make it interesting and drag along a friend whose fitness level is about the same as yours. Go head-to-head and get your workout on.

So if we ask you to do a hurpee, you know what we’re talking about:)

Yours in health,

Hardbody Outdoor Fitness, LLC

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8 responses to ““Ever Tried a Hurpee” Thursday – Where did it originate from? (Day 3)”

  1. Gena Livings says:

    I love performing the burpee exercise Shawn! It is one of my all time favorites!!
    Keep up the great posts – I love them!

    Healthy Blessings,
    Gena Livings
    http://www.GenaLivings.com – Healthy Living

  2. Shasheta says:

    What a flash back, I did not know the term for it. We did about such movements in a kindergarten long ago in Europe. Thanks. :) Visiting you from UBC

    • Shawn Chevalier says:

      Hi Shaseta. You gotta love an exercise that will challenge you wherever with your own bodyweight:) Thanks for visiting.

  3. Tamala says:

    Never in my LIFE have I ever considered doing 100 BURPEES!!! OMG just thinking about doing that many is making me want to FAINT. However, they are a great workout… I feel that may be more effective than push ups. I do burpees all the time… but I usually only do them as part of a HIIT routine… and only a minute at a time. Whew… 100. It seems like an awesome challenge though…

    • Shawn Chevalier says:

      Hey Tamala, we even did a 100 burpee a day challenge. I lost every piece of fat on me. Then we did the pyramid up burpee challenge. Everyday, we add one more. It was like slow water boarding, lol. Thanks for visiting and I’ll check out your posts as well. Take care:)

  4. Kim Nishida says:

    Ah burpees…the exercise I love to hate! Thanks for listing the modifications. So helpful when maybe I’m not feeling 100% but know that doing something is better than nothing. Cheers!

    • Shawn Chevalier says:

      You are very welcome Kim and I will keep the modifications in future posts since I always have to think about various fitness levels. Keep it up. Thanks for visiting:)

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