Burpee is one of the most effective bodyweight exercises as it works your entire body and gives you a great cardiovascular workout. Burpee was invented by American physiologist Royal H. Burpee in 1939 as a simple way to assess fitness level. It was then adopted by the United States Armed Services to assess physical level of recruits when the US entered the World War II. Burpee became part of the test that consisted of series of exercises performed in rapid succession. It was a quick measure of coordination, strenght and agility.

Nowadays burpee is widely used by fitness and CrossFit trainers. There are lots of burpee variations, but the most common one is the following:

  1. Bend over or squat down and place both hands on the floor in front of you, just outside your feet.
  2. Jump both feet back into plank position (straight line, neutral spine).
  3. Drop to a push-up.
  4. Push up and return to plank position.
  5. Jump your feet back in, bringing your knees in towards your chest.
  6. Jump upwards to an upright position, reaching arms straight overhead.

Other variation of burpees can include:

  • jumping jack instead of simple jump
  • jumping back with only one leg at a time
  • jumping back diagonally with both legs, etc.


  • Do not arch your back when in plank position – it can lead to low back problems.
  • Do not rest between reps – if you stop in the middle it will only take longer to start over. Choose a pace you can maintain for the number of reps you need and maintain it without any pause!
  • Do not forget to breathe throughout the exercise. Don't hold your breathe!


Burpees are nowadays often used as part of High Intensity Interval Training programmes (HIIT) by trainers all over the world.

Here is one simple example of HIIT workout:

Exercises                      Number of repetitions

Burpee                              15

Sit-ups                              15

Squats                              15

Bycicle crunches               20 


Repeat 3 rounds.

No rest in between exercises.

Rest between rounds (30-60 seconds).


Anastasia P.