What is Functional Fitness? The Workout Improves Strength, Mobility

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Think about all of the non-exercise movements you perform every single day: carrying heavy groceries, picking up children, reaching for items on high shelves, getting into the car, walking up the stairs … the list is really endless.

If you ever struggle with any of these activities, incorporating functional fitness workouts into your routine is an effective way to improve your strength and mobility in order to move with more ease throughout the day.

Essentially, functional fitness helps you train for daily life.

What is functional fitness?

Functional fitness is all about training your body to handle the demands of everyday life by focusing on exercises that mimic common movement patterns that you perform regularly. By incorporating exercises that target multiple muscle groups and joints, functional fitness helps improve your overall strength, flexibility and mobility.

Functional fitness can benefit people of all ages and fitness levels. Whether you are a young adult looking to stay fit or a senior aiming to maintain independence, incorporating functional fitness into your routine can have a positive impact on your physical wellbeing.

It not only helps you build strength and endurance, but also enhances your overall functional abilities, making everyday tasks easier and improving your quality of life. Functional fitness helps improve balance and stability, which is crucial for preventing falls, especially in older adults. As we age, our joints and muscles also tend to become stiffer, leading to decreased range of motion.

Types of functional fitness workouts

The key to a functional fitness workout is to incorporate movements that mimic real-life activities and engage multiple muscle groups at once. There are various types of functional fitness exercises that you can incorporate into your routine. Here are a few examples:

HIIT workouts

HIIT workouts involve short bursts of intense exercise followed by brief periods of rest. You can include exercises like burpees, mountain climbers and squat jumps to target multiple muscle groups and boost your overall functional fitness.

  • Burpees: By performing burpees regularly, you will develop explosive power in your legs, core strength and upper-body endurance. This translates to improved overall strength and coordination, making it easier for you to get up from the floor effortlessly. Whether you are playing with kids, picking something up that you dropped, or simply getting up after sitting on the ground, you’ll be able to move better.
  • Mountain climbers: Exercises like mountain climbers create the movement of bringing your knees toward your chest in a climbing motion, which mimics the movement of getting up from the floor.
  • Squat jumps: This is a powerful exercise that not only strengthens your lower body, but also improves your explosive power and overall athleticism making it easier for you to propel yourself from a seated or lying position to a standing position without much effort.

Bodyweight exercises

Bodyweight exercises are a fantastic way to improve functional strength and mobility without the need for equipment. These workouts utilize your own body weight as resistance and can include exercises like pushups, squats, lunges and planks.

  • Squats: Bodyweight squats are a functional exercise that mimics the motion of standing up from a seated position. By regularly incorporating squats into your routine, you strengthen the muscles in your legs such as quads and glutes, which are used to pull yourself up from a seated position.
  • Plank: This is an excellent bodyweight exercise that targets your core muscles, including the abs, low back and hips. A strong core is essential for maintaining proper posture and stability when transitioning from a lying or sitting position to standing. By regularly practicing planks, you will develop a solid core foundation, making it easier to get up from a couch or bed without straining your back.

Strength-training exercises

Dumbbells are a popular choice for functional training as they allow for a wide range of exercises that target multiple muscle groups simultaneously. For example, performing a dumbbell squat can help improve your leg and glute strength, which is crucial for activities like lifting and carrying heavy objects. Additionally, exercises like rows and overhead presses engage your upper-body muscles, promoting better posture and assisting with everyday tasks like reaching and lifting.

Resistance bands, on the other hand, provide a unique form of resistance that challenges your muscles in a different way. By incorporating resistance bands into exercises like lateral band walks or banded bridges, you can strengthen your hips and glutes, which are essential for maintaining balance and stability during activities such as walking or climbing stairs.


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