Oh how we love the burpee! We love to complain about them and try to avoid doing them as much as possible. But have you ever stopped to wonder why we love doing them so much? Surely there has to be a reason, right?! Let’s take a look at where the burpee came from and why we have such a love hate relationship with it!
A Brief History
The burpee gets is name from a physiologist back in 1939 named Royal H. Burpee. In its early stages, the burpee was designed as part of a physical fitness test. The original exercise was not exactly the burpee we know and love (hate) today, but was still an effective exercise.
The burpee was never meant to become the incredible fitness tool that it is today. The burpee was originally designed to be done 4 times in a row, and would measure a participant’s heart rate before and after in order to assess their heart’s efficiency at pumping blood in an attempt to understand their overall fitness rate.
Despite its original intended use, the burpee has been modified over the years into what we are familiar with today. Let’s take a look at the evolution of the burpee:
Original: While squatting, place both hands on the floor in front of you. Kick your feet back behind you, putting your body into plank position. Then, jump your feet forward and return to standing position. Perform 4 times in a row, measuring heart rate before and after.
Modern: Squat down and place both hands on the floor in front of you, just outside of your feet. Kick both feet back into plank position. Perform a pushup and then return to the plank position. Jump both feet back in toward your hands then explosively jump up into the air, reaching arms straight upward toward the ceiling. 4 in a row? Ha! Perform as many as your trainer tells you to!
The Most Effective Exercise Ever?
A burpee is a six-movement exercise that effectively and vigorously challenges our body in six separate motions in a very short span of time.
Burpees tend to challenge everything about our physical fitness: our lungs, our legs, our arms, and most importantly…our calories. Burpees blend together agility, strength, coordination and stamina all while burning fat.
So the next time that you are told to do a painful amount of burpees, just smile to yourself, think of Royal H. Burpee and be happy that you are doing an exercise that gets you incredible results in the shortest possible time (just like Team Afterburn!).