Benefits and Technique of the Burpee

The burpee is a mainstay movement in CrossFit used to develop fitness. In certain populations, the burpee (prone to stand) is a critical skill required to safely lower one's body to the ground and stand back up.

Burpees are an effective movement for improving fitness because they force your entire body to work hard through the movement. Getting on the floor, doing a push-up, to getting back up, and jumping with a clap overhead works all the major muscle groups: legs, shoulders, arms, chest, back while your core supports your efforts throughout the entire movement.

Burpees are great for developing conditioning and endurance and get your heart rate up—fast which makes them a great component in your pursuit of fitness, whether you're just getting started or a seasoned CrossFit athlete.

If you struggle with push-ups, burpees are a good accessory movement for building up a base. Expect stronger chest muscles and improved cardio from adding burpees to your training.

CrossFit Burpee Standards

In CrossFit, as with many other movements, the standards you may have learned in high school or collegiate sports or from a past personal trainer, will likely be slighlty different but consistent. The keys to doing a burpee right each time, according to the CrossFit standard, are:

  • When you go to the ground, your chest and thighs must make contact with the floor.
  • Your feet must come back up together. This is a newer standard, as it used to be permissible to step up with one foot at a time. As a beginner, you can still do this, but higher level athletes should stick to jumping back up with their feet together.
  • Extend your hips fully and jump and clap overhead. Each rep ends with you standing up fully. Your body should not look like an “L” at the conclusion of the burpee as a shortcut to the next one.