CrossFit Has Got the Burpee All Wrong

Even if you’re a Crossfitter, love CrossFit, are a CrossFit Judge, and have a CrossFit qualification, you can still disagree with some of the naming. One would assume that’s okay!?


“A burpee is from standing into plank position, back into standing position. I put my cojones on the line for that. It works the gluteus maximus, and is also an intense cardio blaster.” —Taco Fleur


A very sensitive topic is correct exercise naming, no matter whether it’s CrossFit, kettlebells, or some other discipline. It’s completely understandable, as people get taught something, and they build their knowledge upon that, having someone else say “that’s wrong” is always a sensitive subject.

Correct exercise naming is something that Taco Fleur has been a supporter of for many years. Correct exercise naming requires rules, one of those rules is:

An exercise that has variations, needs to remain the most basic form when you refer to it by it’s name.

This means that when you say burpee, it should be the most basic form of the exercise, and not an exercise that already includes variations, which then need to be removed if you want to build other variations upon it. Or even worse, let’s say you really want to do the original burpee, you now need to refer to that which is really a burpee with a new name like half burpee.

The burpee is such a great example when it comes to correct naming. Believe it or not, the burpee was named by Royal H. Burpee in the 1930s, and it was as simple as, move into a plank position, get back up. There was no jump, nor a push-up. Thus this is the most basic form of the burpee, and it should remain that way, people/organisations should pay more attention to preventing confusion, and help close divides.

True story: I delivered a WOD to a fellow crossfitter, to be exact, I delivered ‘Sneaky Anna‘, it has burpees in it. To be able to put it up on his website for Crossfitters, he had to come up with a name for the burpee. Imagine that, having to come up with a name for what is already named correctly!? He said: “Nurpees (or no-push-up burpees) are burpees without the push-up. In this workout neither a jump nor an overhead clap is required, either. Merely drop to plank, pop the hips up and jump the feet back to the hands and stand back up fully for one repetition.”


CrossFit’s variation of the burpee is as follows:

  • Neutral standing position
  • Tricep push-up
  • Jump up

The added exercises are:

  1. Tricep push-up
  2. Jump


One should ask themselves “go with what’s common” or “go with what makes sense, and causes less confusion”?


The burpee by CrossFit Dec 2017


Pedantic and Technical

If you want to get ultra technical and pedantic, the burpee is really:

  • Squat
  • Thrust
  • Plank
  • Get-up
  • Jump


  • Neutral standing
  • Squat down phase
  • Leg thrust
  • Plank
  • Knee raise
  • Squat up phase
  • Jump
  • Neutral standing

Or if you want efficiency, you do the CrossFit Speed Burpee

  • Neutral standing
  • Drop down
  • Roll up
  • Jump up

Efficient equals less resistance, it’s all about reps, you take away the squat, you take away the push-up etc. The efficient version is not something that can be maintained over high reps. If you want to train for strength you do the inefficient version of the CrossFit burpee, if you want to train for reps, or are working out, you do the efficient version of the CrossFit burpee or mix it up.

But being pedantic or technical is not the aim of this article, the point is about the exercise naming, and the need to properly refer to the exercise as required. In summary, CrossFit should name their Burpee, the CrossFit Burpee, and if you want to go even further, the efficient version for reps, should be called the CrossFit Speed Burpee.





A related article can be found here: Difference between, sprawl, burpee, and CrossFit burpee

References: sprawl, burpee

NB: To clear the air, I’ve been accused of having something against CrossFit. I don’t have anything against CrossFit, I’m not for nothing a Crossfitter, CrossFit Judge, and have a CrossFit qualification. The fact of the matter is, I don’t care who it is, whether it’s the Queen of England, or President of the US, if it’s wrong, it’s wrong. I stand strong behind proper naming in the kettlebell community too, if one can’t handle that, don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

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