The Most Important Fitness Movement EVER?

I already know that this topic will be met with eye-rolls and differing opinions, but I am willing to stick to my guns and give you my sound reasoning.
The BURPEE is the most important fitness movement of all time.
There. I said it. Digest and internalize that statement. Now let’s dig into the meat and potatoes of my thought process.


From a physiological standpoint, there are a multitude of benefits that the burpee provides as it requires a vast array of musculature and anatomy to perform. Do you ever wonder why it feels like they suck so much? It’s because you have to use so many parts of your body to get one done! Not only do each of the muscle groups need to perform a job, they all must work in unison to coordinate throughout. Every burpee you do is strengthening the muscles, tendons and ligaments that are involved.
Here are just some of the major muscle groups that play a role in getting a burpee done:

The Most Important Fitness Movement Ever

  • Quadriceps (upper legs)
  • Triceps (arms)
  • Pectorals (chest)
  • Abdominals (core)
  • Latissimus Dorsi (back)
  • Calves (lower legs)
The one muscle (maybe the most important one) that I didn’t list that works overtime during multiple burpees, is your HEART! When you start performing multiple burpees in a row, your cardiovascular endurance is put to the test. The more you do over time, the stronger the muscle of the heart becomes. The stronger the heart becomes, the less susceptible it is to succumbing to heart disease.
But all of these strength and cardiovascular benefits you can get from other movements that aren’t the burpee! So why am I so fixated on this widely-disliked movement?


As the continuation of time wages war on our bodies as we age, our autonomy and independence become of increasing concern. The thought of being reliant on caretakers to complete the basic tasks in our lives as we grow older can be frightening – although necessary in many cases. I am thankful for the amazing work that these caretakers do for the aging population! However, if there is a potential way to maintain our physical abilities, we should explore those options. The loss of freedom to do what you want, when you want, can be traced back to a number of factors. Two of which include: using the bathroom independently (sitting to and standing up from a toilet) and getting up from the floor in the case of a fall.
While the burpee doesn’t necessarily translate to the toilet scenario (perhaps my next blog post will be about the second most important movement, the Air Squat), it sure does solve the problem of being able to get up off the floor! If you have practiced full range of motion burpees your entire life, the idea of getting up off the ground from a prone position won’t phase you in the slightest. In fact, you’ll just laugh at the minor inconvenience and be on your merry way! You will have cultivated the strength and ability required to solve this problem.
At CrossFit LifeTree, we have a tradition (as many gyms do) to honour a person’s birthday with burpees. However many years of age they are turning, grants them the opportunity to practice the same number of consecutive burpees on that day! What a treat! And as we age, we are gifted more and more burpees each year. The older we are, the more important the act of the burpee becomes in order to maintain our independence and longevity. So it really is the perfect win-win scenario!
Are there other amazing fitness movements out there? Of course, and I recommend you constantly mix it up and try plenty of them. But do I still think the burpee stands above the rest? Absolutely. Remember, this is just my opinion.
So next time it’s your birthday, rejoice at the chance to do some extra burpees to build a buffer of health and wellness against decrepitude and dependency. Don’t worry, we’ll be sure to remind you to do them if you forget.
Coach Caleb