HSA/FSA-eligible with Truemed

The Top 3 Movements for Fitness and Longevity: 

Squat, Burpees, and Power Cleans

In the pursuit of a healthy and fulfilling life, it is crucial to incorporate movements that not only keep us fit but also promote longevity. Among the countless exercises available, three stand out as essential for maintaining physical health, mobility, and strength throughout one’s lifespan: the squat, burpees, and power cleans. Each of these movements serves a unique purpose, targeting different aspects of fitness and contributing to our overall well-being. In this article, we will explore why these three exercises are the top choices for those looking to optimize their fitness and extend their active years. 

*Disclaimer: this is theoretical based on if you only could do 3 movements for the rest of your life.

1. The Squat: The Foundation of Mobility and Strength

The squat is often referred to as the king of exercises, and for good reason. This fundamental movement pattern engages a wide range of muscles, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and lower back. More importantly, squats are crucial for maintaining a healthy range of motion in the knees, hips, and ankles. As we age, our joints tend to stiffen, making it increasingly difficult to perform simple tasks like getting up and down from a chair or even the toilet. Regular squatting helps combat this issue, allowing us to preserve our independence and mobility.

Furthermore, squats promote muscle mass development, which becomes increasingly important as we age. Maintaining muscle mass helps us maintain balance and stability, reducing the risk of falls and injuries. So, whether you’re a young athlete or a senior citizen, the squat should be a staple in your fitness routine.

2. Burpees: The Full-Body Functional Exercise

Burpees are a dynamic and high-intensity exercise that challenges both the upper body and core while requiring quick transitions from standing to a prone position and back up again. This makes them an excellent choice for building upper body strength, enhancing midline stability, and improving agility.

One of the most significant benefits of burpees is their real-world applicability. Whether you’re playing with your kids or facing the challenges of aging, the ability to get up and down from the floor is essential. Burpees train this essential skill, ensuring you can maintain an active and independent lifestyle, regardless of your age.

If every person over the age of 60 could perform 5 total burpees, I have very educated prediction that every 911 system would have a 11-29% reduction in run volume. According to a retrospective study done by Public Med and The American Geriatric Society from 2007-2016 11% of suburban fire departments call volume was for falls. Additionally 29% of calls were repeat fall patients. The number of patients that call for falls and get transported to the hospital is 75%. With the simple baseline ability to be able to get yourself off the floor reduces chance of injury, reduces use of municipal resources, and frees up more beds in hospital system that is already overwhelmed. This in itself makes burpees a fitness movement for life and longevity.

Next time coach programs burpees, thank them. They’re doing you a service!

3. Power Cleans: Explosive Strength and Mobility

Power cleans are a dynamic weightlifting exercise that targets the entire body, with a particular focus on the legs, hips, back, shoulders, and wrists. What sets power cleans apart is their emphasis on explosive power and speed. This movement requires you to generate force and move heavy weights rapidly, making it highly effective for developing both strength and power.

As we age, the ability to explode and move quickly becomes increasingly valuable. Whether it’s preventing a fall, reacting to a sudden obstacle, or participating in sports and recreational activities, power cleans train your body to react swiftly and effectively. Moreover, they promote mobility in the shoulders and wrists, crucial for maintaining overall joint health.

Power cleans also offer a unique benefit compared to other exercises. They engage the posterior chain like a deadlift but with less loading, reducing the risk of overexertion while providing excellent carryover benefits to other movements like the squat and push-up.

Bringing It All Together

In the quest for fitness and longevity, selecting the right exercises is essential. The squat, burpees, and power cleans are three movements that provide a well-rounded approach to maintaining health, mobility, and strength throughout life. The squat ensures that our joints remain functional and our muscles strong, while burpees prepare us for the demands of daily life and upper body development. Power cleans, with their explosive nature and full-body engagement, enhance our ability to react quickly and maintain joint mobility.

Use as many different variations of these movements, as many different implements, and as many different applications as you can conceive. When using various loads, formats and rep schemes you can get a wide variety of workouts from cardio to strength training. When it comes to this you’re only limited by your own experience and creativity.

While there are countless exercises to choose from, these three movements stand out as the top choices for those who want to optimize their fitness and ensure a long and active life. Incorporating these exercises into your fitness routine can help you build a foundation of strength, mobility, and agility that will serve you well throughout the years, enabling you to enjoy a high quality of life at any age. 

-Nick Carignan

CrossFit 8 Mile