Functional training gives you the kind of strength that matters at the end of the day. This type of training will give you power in your daily life for practical movements like hauling your cooler to the beach, moving furniture, or carrying a toddler. So instead of measuring your strength by how much weight you can bench press (or curl, or squat), get fit where it counts by doing exercises that stem from natural, everyday movements like bending, pushing, and twisting.
Try this 5-move functional workout to feel the power, fast!
1. T Push-up
Start in push-up position with your hands directly beneath your shoulders. Lower into a push-up, and as you return to starting position, rotate your torso to the left raising your left arm up into the air so that you are in a T position. You will need to engage your core, and balance on your right hand and sides of your feet. Hold this position for a count of two, and return to push-up position. Repeat, next time twisting to the right side and raising your right arm. Complete 3 rounds of 8 push-ups.
2. Squat with Overhead Press
Stand hip-width apart holding two dumbbells at your shoulders. Squat down until your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle, keeping your weight back on your heels. Your torso should bend forward slightly with your knees tracking over your feet, without going past them. As you come back to standing, press the dumbbells up over your head to a full extension. As you lower back into another squat, lower the weights back down to starting position. Repeat for 3 rounds of 10 squats with overhead presses.
3. Reverse Wood Chop with Dumbbell
With your feet in a wide stance and knees slightly bent, hold a dumbbell in both hands by your right hip. From here, rotate your torso and engage your abs to bring the dumbbell up to your left shoulder in a fluid motion. Lower the weight back down and repeat. Remember to keep your abs engaged even as you lower the weight. Repeat for 3 rounds of 10 on each side.
4. Hip Extension with Reverse Fly
This exercise will test your balance while working your back, shoulders, and legs. Stand with your weight on your right foot, holding a light dumbbell in each hand at your sides. Keeping your body in a straight line, lean forward while bringing your left leg out in a straight line behind you. As you lean forward, raise your arms out to the side into a T position. Your chest should be parallel to floor with your leg in a straight line. Hold for a count, and return to neutral. Repeat for 3 rounds of 10 on each leg.
5. Russian Twists
This move will work your obliques and also test your balance. Sit on your butt with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground, holding a dumbbell with both hands. Lean back so that your torso is at a 45-degree angle to the floor. (If you’re more advanced, lift your feet off the ground and cross them at the ankles while balancing on your butt.) From this position, rotate your torso to the left and touch the dumbbell to the ground next to your body. Next, twist back over to the right tapping the weight to the ground on the right side of your body. That’s one rep. Repeat back and forth all while balancing, moving as quickly as possible. Repeat for 3 rounds of 20 twists.
By Jennifer Cohen