In 2011, CrossFit Advanced in Easton, PA decided to host a burpee challenge for its members. Two members, Daniel Stein and Meg Green, revealed that Royal Huddleston Burpee’s hometown is Easton, PA, and his descendants still reside here. With this, the Royal Burpee Challenge was born. Our in-house challenge started getting attention from others who wanted to participate, and went worldwide when CrossFit HQ published our story.
Now for some background info on the man responsible for it all:
Royal H. Burpee (1898-1987) created a test that used burpees to measure agility and coordination for the U.S. military in the 1930s. The test was included in his book, “Seven Quickly Administered Tests of Physical Activity.”
Burpee, a World War I veteran, served as the overseas program director for the United Service Organization (USO) during World War II. Between the wars, he earned a doctorate in physiology from Columbia University.
A lifelong advocate of physical fitness, Burpee was also the executive director of Bronx-Union Branch of the New York City Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) from 1946 to 1964. He continued to be involved with the Greater New York YMCA until his death in 1987 in Easton, PA, home of CrossFit Advanced.
While it’s not clear whether Burpee invented the exercise, or just made it famous with his test, the move is still being done today.