As posted on Wikipedia the Origin of Burpee’s
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the exercise was named in the 1930s for American psychologist Royal H. Burpee, who developed the Burpee test. Consisting of a series of the exercises performed in rapid succession, the test was meant to measure agility and coordination. It is not clear whether the exercise itself was invented by Burpee, or if his test merely popularized it.
The exercise known as the “burpee” may have been originated by a man named Lieutenant Thomas Burpee. Lt. Burpee (1757-1839) was an officer in the New Hampshire Militia during the Revolutionary War and was described as “having the innate Burpee fondness for martial exercises” in A History of the Town of New London, Merrimack County, New Hampshire. Lt. Burpee may have used the combination of pushups and squat thrusts as a means of drilling, conditioning, and disciplining the troops under his command. In addition, the exercise may have also been used by the troops as a way to stay warm during the winters in wartime New England.
The military tradition of the Burpee family was carried on by Colonel Thomas F. Burpee. As a captain of the 21st Regiment of the Connecticut Volunteer Infantry, Col. Burpee (1830-1864) was described as having “offered his well-drilled company” for service in the call-to-arms leading up to the Civil War in The Story of the Twenty-First Regiment Connecticut Volunteers. Col. Burpee may have continued his grandfather’s regimen of drilling, conditioning, and disciplining his troops with what could have been known as “Burpee’s exercises”.
Following the Civil War, as the former soldiers were released back into the world, some fell into lives of crime. Criminals eventually find themselves incarcerated, whether in jails or prisons, and New England certainly had no shortage of those. Those New England inmates who used to be soldiers in the 21st Regiment incorporated “Burpee’s exercises” into their daily routine to combat boredom and to stay in shape for fighting on the inside. Other inmates no doubt saw the benefits that came with daily “burpee” exercises and added them to their own daily routines. As these inmates were transferred to different jails and prisons around the country over the years, the “burpee” followed along with them, entering the fitness and exercise lore as a workout that originated in the prison system. As it appears, however, the burpee may have been born instead in the long military history of New England.
Trevor/Nick C-49:05 Rx’d
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