In our current sedentary lifestyles, it’s paramount to remain physically active, even when most of us are confined to our homes. Functional fitness offers a remedy to restlessness and keeps the body in motion.
Understanding Functional Fitness
Functional fitness encompasses exercises geared towards enhancing our everyday activities, such as:
- Rising from the floor
- Lifting heavy objects
- Reaching high shelves
By fortifying muscles utilized in daily tasks, functional fitness reduces the risk of injury and augments one’s quality of life. You can move through your day without apprehensions of straining or pulling muscles.
Fitness expert Brad Schoenfeld suggests that functional fitness spans a spectrum. In his perspective, most exercises can be functional, depending on the context.
This is because bolstering overall strength inherently elevates functionality in daily life. Combining strength training with movements mirroring daily activities further elevates the effectiveness of the regimen and enhances:
Indeed, these benefits are universally appealing.
Below, we’ve compiled a set of 13 exercises conducive to improving functional fitness for individuals of all age groups.
For optimal results, aim to complete five to six of these exercises three to four times per week, all from the comfort of your home with minimal equipment.
- Squat: Squatting replicates the motion of sitting in a chair, rendering it a fundamental component of any functional fitness regimen. Execute the movement deliberately and with control. To intensify the challenge, consider holding a light dumbbell in each hand. You can also adapt the range of motion to accommodate your body’s capabilities.
- Incline Chest Press: The ability to push oneself off the ground or another surface is invaluable for functional fitness. However, traditional push-ups can be quite demanding. The incline chest press targets the same muscle groups and is more accessible for beginners.
- Plank: The plank exercise involves assuming and holding a position that necessitates mobility and balance, qualities crucial for rising from the floor. Moreover, the plank recruits numerous muscle groups, making it ideal for overall strength development.
- Wall Squat: Wall squats offer more support than standard squats, making them a suitable option for individuals prone to lower back discomfort.
- Step-Downs: Mimicking the action of descending from a high seat or navigating stairs, step-downs are valuable for enhancing balance and stability.
- Row: The rowing exercise simulates lifting a heavy object, targeting your back and arm muscles.
- Stationary Lunge: This exercise mirrors the motion of getting up from the ground. It fortifies your quadriceps and bolsters knee joint mobility, both vital for daily activities.
- Step-Up: Strengthen the muscles needed for climbing stairs with step-up exercises.
- Single-Leg Lift: Enhancing balance simplifies everyday tasks and diminishes the risk of falls. Exercises focusing on one leg at a time engage the core and promote symmetry between both sides of the body.
- Side Plank: Strengthening the entire core, including the obliques, is pivotal for functional fitness.
- Downward-Facing Dog: This yoga pose requires you to support your body weight, a valuable skill for everyday life.
- Single-Leg Deadlift: Single-leg deadlifts target multiple leg muscles simultaneously while improving your mastery of the hip hinge.
- Lunge with Bent-Over Row: Combining a lunge with a row adds a balance challenge to your workout routine.
Functional fitness elevates the quality of daily life by strengthening muscles for everyday tasks and activities. It relies primarily on body weight and is simple and safe for nearly everyone.
If you have any pre-existing injuries, consulting a physician before engaging in this form of exercise is advisable.
In contrast to other popular strength training modalities like CrossFit and bodybuilding, functional fitness places more emphasis on performance than muscle size.
Its reduced risk of injury makes it a suitable choice for individuals of all ages and fitness levels.