The “Burpee” World Record That’s Stirring Up Controversy

If someone asked you what a burpee is, you probably have a solid answer: squat down, jump your feet out to a plank, jump them back to your hands, and jump up in the air with your hands above your head.

There might be some variation in answers: some don’t put their hands over their head, some add in a push-up, a lot of functional fitness athletes tend to jump their feet out and lie their bellies on the floor instead of performing a true plank.

The Guinness World Records also have their own standards for burpees, and they might not meet those at your gym. The start position is the squat, the feet need to jump back — but not necessarily into a plank or with the chest to the ground — and the jump just requires the hands and feet to leave the ground.

Now there’s a new Guinness World Record for burpees completed in 60 minutes by a female, set by 37-year-old Elizabeth Llorente from Melbourne, Australia. She trained for three months to tackle the record and completed 1,490 burpees, besting the previous record by 169 reps.

Here’s the footage.

[Read the history: How Mr. Royal H. Burpee Invented Everyone’s Least Favorite Exercise]

Her Instagram page describes them as “high plank burpees” and she was asked in a Sunday night interview on The Project a question you might have been asking: “Don’t regulation burpees require you to put your arms up in the air?” “And don’t you have to touch the ground at the bottom as well?”

It depends whose regulation you’re going by. So I went by the regulation that Guinness World Records have set.

For any record attempt, you’re going to do what you need to do just to get by and there was no specific regulation about the opening up at the top. (…)

The start position for the burpee for GuinNess World Records is actually the bottom position, so the jump just needed to be hands and feet off the ground. So that’s exactly what I did to get as many out as I could.

No matter how she got the record, she did manage to raise almost $5,000 for multiple sclerosis research as she was training to make the feat. We can all agree that’s a positive outcome.

Featured image via 7 News Gold Coast on YouTube.
Nick English

Nick English

Nick is a content producer and journalist with over seven years’ experience reporting on four continents. His first articles about health were on a cholera outbreak in rural Kenya while he was reporting for a French humanitarian organization. His next writing job was covering the nightlife scene in Shanghai. He’s written on a lot of things.

After Shanghai, he went on to produce a radio documentary about bodybuilding in Australia before finishing his Master’s degrees in Journalism and International Relations and heading to New York City. Here, he’s been writing on health full time for more than five years for outlets like BarBend, Men's Health, VICE, and Popular Science.

No fan of writing in the third person, Nick’s passion for health stems from an interest in self improvement: How do we reach our potential?

Questions like these took him through a lot of different areas of health and fitness like gymnastics, vegetarianism, kettlebell training, fasting, CrossFit, Paleo, and so on, until he realized (or decided) that strength training fit best with the ideas of continuous, measurable self improvement.

At BarBend his writing focuses a little more on nutrition and long-form content with a heaping dose of strength training. His underlying belief is in the middle path: you don’t have to count every calorie and complete every workout in order to benefit from a healthy lifestyle and a stronger body. Plus, big traps are cool.

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