Top 10 Functional Exercises You Should Incorporate Today
Functional fitness is all about preparing your body for real-life activities, from lifting heavy objects to running for the bus. Unlike traditional weightlifting, which often isolates one muscle group at a time, functional exercises engage multiple muscle groups and joints. Here are the top 10 functional exercises that you should incorporate into your workout routine today.
Why it's functional: Squats mimic the action of sitting and standing, engaging your quads, hamstrings, and glutes. How to do it: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, lower your body as if you're sitting in a chair, and then push back up.
Why it's functional: Push-ups work your upper body and core, essential for tasks like pushing a door open.
How to do it: Start in a plank position and lower your body towards the ground, then push back up.
Why it's functional: Lunges simulate walking and running motions, working your legs and core.
How to do it: Step forward with one leg, lowering your hips until both knees are bent at a 90-degree angle, then step back to the starting position.
Why it's functional: Planks engage your entire core, which is crucial for stability and balance. How to do it: Hold your body in a straight line from your head to your heels for as long as you can.
Why it's functional: Deadlifts mimic lifting heavy objects off the ground, working your back, legs, and arms.
How to do it: Stand with feet hip-width apart, bend at the hips and knees, grasp a barbell or dumbbells, and stand back up.
Why it's functional: Burpees are a full-body exercise that improves coordination and cardiovascular endurance. How to do it: Start in a standing position, drop into a squat, kick your feet back into a plank, immediately return your feet to the squat position, and then jump up from the squat.
7. Kettlebell Swings
Why it's functional: This exercise works your hips, glutes, hamstrings, lats, abs, shoulders, and forearms.
How to do it: Hold a kettlebell with both hands, swing it between your legs and then up to chest height.
8. Box Jumps
Why it's functional: Box jumps improve your explosive power, crucial for activities like sprinting.
How to do it: Stand in front of a sturdy box or platform, jump up onto the box, landing with both of your feet on top.
Why it's functional: Pull-ups engage your back, shoulders, and arms, useful for any lifting or pulling movements. How to do it: Hang from a pull-up bar with your arms extended, then pull yourself up until your chin is above the bar.
10. Medicine Ball Slams
Why it's functional: This exercise improves your explosive power and engages your core, arms, and legs. How to do it: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, hold a medicine ball with both hands, raise the ball above your head and slam it into the ground as hard as you can.
Functional exercises are not just for athletes; they're for anyone who wants to make everyday activities easier and more efficient. By incorporating these top 10 functional exercises into your routine, you'll be better prepared for whatever life throws your way.