The term functional fitness is one that gets thrown around a lot these days, but what does it actually mean?
Functional fitness can be defined as exercises that improve the body’s ability to perform everyday activities with ease.
In other words, functional fitness exercises help to train your body to be better at the things you do on a daily basis, whether that’s carrying groceries, chasing after a toddler, or sitting at a desk all day.
While traditional weightlifting and cardio exercises certainly have their place, functional fitness exercises tend to be multi-joint and multi-muscle movements that better mimic the activities we do in our everyday lives.
For example, a squat is a functional movement because it works multiple muscles (quads, glutes, hamstrings, etc.) and joints (hip, knee, ankle) at once, and it’s an action we do frequently (sitting down and standing up).
Functional Fitness Exercises
Functional fitness exercises can be performed using bodyweight, dumbbells, kettlebells, resistance bands, barbells, and other types of equipment.
The key is to choose exercises that target the major muscle groups and that incorporate movement patterns that are relevant to your everyday life.
Here are some examples of functional fitness exercises that you can incorporate into your workouts:
Squats are a great functional movement that works multiple muscle groups at once. They can also help improve your balance and flexibility.
To do a squat, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and lower your body down as if you were going to sit in a chair. Make sure to keep your knees behind your toes and breathe out as you lower yourself down.
Once your thighs are parallel to the floor, hold the position for a second before slowly standing back up.
You can do bodyweight squats, goblet squats, barbell squats, or any other variation.
Lunges are another great functional exercise for toning your legs and improving your balance. Lunges target the legs and glutes.
To do a lunge, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and take a large step forward with one leg. Lower your body down so both of your knees are bent at 90-degree angles.
Be sure to keep your front knee behind your toes, and don’t let your back knee touch the floor. Hold the position for a second before slowly returning to the starting position. Repeat with your other leg.
You can do forward lunges, reverse lunges, lunge pulses, and more.
Push-ups are a great functional exercise for strengthening your arms, chest, triceps, and shoulders. They also help improve your core stability.
To do a push-up, start in a plank position with your hands directly underneath your shoulders. Lower your body down until your chest almost touches the floor.
Be sure to keep your core engaged and your body in a straight line. Push back up to the starting position.
You can do traditional push-ups, knee push-ups, elevated push-ups, or any other variation.
Planks are a great functional exercise for strengthening your core. They also help improve your stability and balance. To do a plank, start in a push-up position.
Lower your body down so your elbows and forearms are resting on the floor. Be sure to keep your core engaged and your body in a straight line. Hold the position for 30-60 seconds.
You can do front planks, side planks, knee planks, or any other variation.
Burpees are a great functional fitness exercise that can help you get in shape. They require no equipment and can be done anywhere.
To do a burpee, start in a standing position. From there, lower your body into a squatting position with your hands on the ground. From there, kick your feet back into a push-up position. Return to the squatting position and then jump up into the air.
Burpees are a great way to get your heart rate up and to tone your muscles. They are also a great exercise to do if you are short on time. You can do as many or as few as you like.
Burpees are a full-body exercise that works the legs, chest, shoulders, arms, and core. They can be modified to be easier or more challenging, depending on your fitness level.
Functional fitness exercises are those that mimic real-life movements and activities.
They can be done at home with little to no equipment and are a great way to stay in shape.
Incorporating functional fitness exercises into your workouts can help you to improve your strength, endurance, and overall fitness.
It’s a great way to train your body to be better prepared for the physical challenges of everyday life. Give it a try and see how it can help you to reach your fitness goals.