Fitness freaks swear by them. Newbies fear them. Burpees, also known as the squat thrust, are a true test of one’s level of physical fitness. It combines a squat, push-up and jump that should be performed in one continuous motion.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the burpee was made popular in the 1930s. It was named after Royal Huddleston Burpee, an American psychologist who developed the Burpee test — a series of burpees executed in rapid succession, designed to measure agility, strength and coordination — for the U.S. Military.
Burpees work the arms, chest, quads, glutes, hamstrings and abs. They also strengthen the heart. Since it’s a full-body exercise, your metabolism will be on fire, you'll burn lots of fat, and you'll quickly get toned if done on a regular basis. Burpees are a great functional workout, meaning it'll help you do normal activities with ease so you're less likely to hurt yourself. You don’t need any equipment and it can be done anywhere, so no excuses!
To do a burpee, simply squat, kick your feet back into a plank position, do a push-up, return your feet back up to squat position, and jump into the air and land in a standing position. Repeat over and over again. If you are a beginner, leave out the push-up or cycle in a few during your workout and build as you gain more strength.
Here’s a great tutorial on how to do a perfect burpee:
Try different variations of the burpee, like a one-armed burpee, long-jump burpee (jump as far forward as you can) or jumping jack burpees (jump, then do five jumping jacks).