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4 Great Functional Exercises for Every Day Fitness

Published March 09, 2019
Ben Kissam

Written By: Ben Kissam, BS

Ben has a B.S. in Movement and Sports Science and over 7 years Certified Personal Training Experience.

4-great-functional-exercises-for-every-day-fitness
<script type="application/ld+json"> { "@context":"http://schema.org", "@type":"BlogPosting", "author": { "@type": "Person", "name": "Ben Kissam, BS" }, "publisher": { "@type": "Organization", "name": "Warrior Made", "logo": { "@type": "ImageObject", "url": "https://www.warriormade.com", "image": "https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/2019/03/functional-exercises-running-thumbnail.jpg" } }, "headline":"4 Great Functional Exercises for Every Day Fitness", "datePublished":"2019-03-09", "dateModified": "2019-10-05", "description":"Fitness isn’t just about losing weight-it’s about feeling good and being able to perform daily tasks, too. These 4 functional exercises will help you live better, no matter where your current fitness level is.", "image": "https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/2019/03/functional-exercises-running-thumbnail.jpg" } </script> <script type="application/ld+json"> { "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "FAQPage", "mainEntity": [{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What Are Functional Training Workouts?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "We’ve talked about functional training before-it’s exercise that mimics movements you perform in regular life. And not only does it mimic them, but it helps you move better (and with less pain) outside of your workouts, too. The easiest way to remember the difference between functional exercises and other exercises you might do at a gym is to think about the word function. You use functional exercises to help your body function better. When you strengthen the hips, arms, shoulders and legs, your quality of life improves. We love functional training because it’s a program anyone can do, no matter where you’re starting from. And most importantly, it’s effective!" } }, { "@type": "Question", "name": "What Are Full Body Functional Exercise Workouts?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Technically, any exercise that mimics movements you do in regular life would apply to functional fitness. Some popular exercises include squats, lunges, and push-ups, Perhaps you read that and thought, “Well, I can’t do any of those! I guess functional fitness isn’t for me.” Don’t worry, there are modifications that make each of these possible. Functional training meets you where you’re at. One of the beauties of it is that all functional exercises use several (or all) muscle groups at once, which makes it easy to modify a movement if you have joint pain or other limitations." } }, { "@type": "Question", "name": "What Do You Mean by ‘Everyday’ Fitness?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "To answer this question, consider your day from the time you wake up until the time you go to sleep. Think about the unique ways you’ll move your body as you shower, make breakfast, and get dressed for work. Consider what you’ll do while you’re at work. Even if you sit at a desk most of the day, functional exercises will benefit you. In fact, it might be even more beneficial. Using full-body movements and developing your core muscles helps you maintain good posture while you make a living. Suffice it to say, you move your body in a lot of different ways. A smart way to prepare your body for the rigors of everyday life is to use functional training exercises a few times a week. They are better for your body than isolating bodybuilder-type exercises.”" } }, { "@type": "Question", "name": "Does Functional Training Burn Fat?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Heck yes, it does! Functional exercises almost always uses several major muscle groups at once (your arms, legs, and core), that burn a lot of calories. Remember, the more muscle groups you work, the more calories you burn. The other great thing about functional training is that it pairs nicely with high-intensity interval training, or HIIT. This is the other reason we love using these movements in our at-home workouts. If you didn’t know, HIIT considerably boosts your metabolism after the workouts are done. Even a four-minute HIIT workout will increase the number of calories you burn for the next eighteen to twenty-four hours!”" } }, { "@type": "Question", "name": "Do I Need a Gym, or Can I Do These Exercises at Home?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Nope! And you don’t need a crazy home gym, either. With common items like a desk, chair, or couch, you can easily mimic real life motion. No need to make it complicated!”" } }] } </script> <article> <div> <ul> <li><a href="#section1">What Are Functional Training Workouts?</a></li> <li><a href="#section2">What Are Full Body Functional Exercise Workouts?</a></li> <li><a href="#section3">What Do You Mean by ‘Everyday’ Fitness?</a></li> <li><a href="#section4">Does Functional Training Burn Fat?</a></li> <li><a href="#section5">Do I Need a Gym, or Can I Do These Exercises at Home?</a></li> <li><a href="#section6">Best Functional Exercises for Every Day Fitness</a></li> <li><a href="#section7">Wrapping Up</a></li> </ul> </div> <section> <p>Most people think that working out is just about looking better. Of course, exercise does help you lose weight faster by burning calories and <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/top-7-post-workout-foods-for-lean-muscle/">adding lean muscle</a> to your frame. But that’s not all it can do. What if your exercise routine could also help you feel better and make life outside of your workouts easier?</p> <p>That’s what functional exercises do-they make real life movements like walking up stairs, bringing in groceries, or doing your job easier. They use your full body and big muscle groups in the arms, legs, shoulders and core, so you burn more calories and get results faster than you would using traditional gym equipment. That’s why we love them so much.</p> <p>What are some good functional exercises for everyday fitness? And do you need a gym or can you do them at home? Here’s everything you need to know.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <section id="section1"> <h2>What Are Functional Training Workouts?</h2> <p>We’ve talked about <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/what-is-functional-training-and-can-it-benefit-you/" rel="noreferrer">functional training</a> before-it’s exercise that mimics movements you perform in regular life. And not only does it mimic them, but it helps you move better (and with less pain) outside of <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/" rel="noreferrer">your workouts</a>, too.</p> <p>The easiest way to remember the difference between functional exercises and other exercises you might do at a gym is to think about the word ‘<i>function</i>.’ You use functional exercises to help your body function better. When you strengthen the hips, arms, shoulders and legs, your quality of life improves.</p> <p>We love functional training because it’s a program anyone can do, no matter where you’re starting from. And most importantly, it’s effective!</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <section id="section2"> <h2>What Are Full Body Functional Exercise Workouts?</h2> <p>Technically, any exercise that mimics movements you do in regular life would apply to functional fitness. Some popular exercises include squats, lunges, and push-ups,</p> <p>Perhaps you read that and thought, “Well, I can’t do any of those! I guess functional fitness isn’t for me.” Don’t worry, there are modifications that make each of these possible. Functional training meets you where you’re at. One of the beauties of it is that all functional exercises use several (or all) muscle groups at once, which makes it easy to modify a movement if you have <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/3-low-impact-exercises-for-bad-knees/" rel="noreferrer">joint pain</a> or other limitations.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <section id="section3"> <h2>What Do You Mean by ‘Everyday’ Fitness?</h2> <p>To answer this question, consider your day from the time you wake up until the time you go to sleep. Think about the unique ways you’ll move your body as you shower, make breakfast, and get dressed for work. Consider what you’ll do while you’re at work. Even if you sit at a desk most of the day, functional exercises will benefit you.</p> <p>In fact, it might be even more beneficial. Using full-body movements and <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/4-best-core-exercises-for-beginners/" rel="noreferrer">developing your core muscles</a> helps you maintain good posture while you make a living.</p> <p>Suffice it to say, you move your body in a lot of different ways. A smart way to prepare your body for the rigors of everyday life is to use functional training exercises a few times a week.</p> <p>They are better for your body than isolating bodybuilder-type exercises. How? Well...</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <section id="section4"> <h2>Does Functional Training Burn Fat?</h2> <p>Heck yes, it does! Functional exercises almost always uses several major muscle groups at once (your arms, legs, and core), that burn a lot of calories. Remember, the more muscle groups you work, the more calories you burn.</p> <p>The other great thing about functional training is that it pairs nicely with <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/what-is-functional-training-and-can-it-benefit-you/" rel="noreferrer">high-intensity interval training</a>, or ‘HIIT.’ This is the other reason we love using these movements in our at-home workouts. If you didn’t know, HIIT considerably boosts your metabolism <i>after</i> the workouts are done.</p> <p>Even a four-minute HIIT workout will increase the number of calories you burn for the next eighteen to twenty-four hours!</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <section id="section5"> <h2>Do I Need a Gym, or Can I Do These Exercises at Home?</h2> <p>Nope! And you don’t need a crazy home gym, either. With common items like a desk, chair, or couch, you can easily mimic real life motion. No need to make it complicated!</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <section id="section6"> <h2>Best Functional Exercises for Every Day Fitness</h2> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/tyler-knee-plank-0101.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/tyler-knee-plank-0101.jpf" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/tyler-knee-plank-0315.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/tyler-knee-plank-0315-LR.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="tyler-knee-plank-0101"> </picture> <h3>1. Planks (and the Many Variations)</h3> <p>Core strength is essential for maintaining good posture, <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/two-exercises-to-fix-back-pain/" rel="noreferrer">reducing back pain</a>, and being able to move about your day with strength and confidence. We can’t think of a better exercise for every day fitness than the plank.</p> <p>Planks are about the simplest position you can hold to improve your core without any fancy equipment. Even if you don’t sit in a plank like this throughout the day, anytime the muscles supporting your spine get stronger is a good thing. And the best part is there are plenty of variations for whatever level of fitness you are currently at.</p> <p>If you’re new to planks, start out with the kneeling plank. Coach Tyler breaks it down in this video <a target="_blank" href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3XVGDYuPay4&t=263s" rel="noreferrer">beginning at 4:23</a>. The kneeling plank position uses all the same cues as a regular plank: body in one straight line, squeeze your butt and belly, and hold for as long as possible. It’s simply a good way to get started.</p> <p><b>Every Day Fitness Challenge</b>: Try to hold a plank or kneeling plank for thirty seconds. Rest one to two minutes, then do it again two more times. Do that three times a week.</p> <p>For a harder challenge, try to do a plank for the longest time possible with good form. Record your time and try to add three to five seconds next time. Or, try to hold a plank <a target="_blank" href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xlKeb8NzZBk" rel="noreferrer">during a commercial break</a> while you watch TV.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/tyler-split-instructions-0101.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/tyler-split-instructions-0101.jpf" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/tyler-split-instructions-0315.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/tyler-split-instructions-0315-LR.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="tyler-split-instructions-0101"> </picture> <h3>2. Split Squats</h3> <p><i>Split Squats for every day fitness? When would I ever have to do that?</i></p> <p>Consider the fact that humans are <i>bipedal</i> creatures. That word may sound complex, but it basically means we stand tall and walk on two legs. I know, we just blew your mind, right?</p> <p>But whenever we move, whether <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/10-reasons-why-walking-is-the-best-exercise/" rel="noreferrer">walking</a> or running, we are on one foot at a time. This places stress on our joints in each leg, and forces us to be strong, balanced, and coordinated in the lower body muscles-your hips, hamstrings, and glutes.</p> <p>That’s why split squats, which strengthen each leg individually, are a great exercise for every day fitness. It’s a different style of training from the two-legged squat or <a target="_blank" href="https://ty1bram.wistia.com/medias/fme2u1790n" rel="noreferrer">sit to stand</a>.</p> <p>See coach Tyler do the split squat, both right and left side, in block 2 <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/workouts-03-15-19/" rel="noreferrer">here</a>.</p> <p><b>Every Day Fitness Challenge</b>: Do ten split squats on each leg, slowly trying to go down lower (but stop if it feels painful). After twenty total reps, take a two-minute break then repeat two more times. You might be sore after the first day, so maybe stick to one set if you haven’t been exercising.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/tyler-sit-form-explanation-0101.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/tyler-sit-form-explanation-0101.jpf" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/tyler-sit-form-explanation-0315.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/tyler-sit-form-explanation-0315-LR.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="tyler-sit-form-explanation-0101"> </picture> <h3>3. Sit to Stands</h3> <p>Some of the smartest minds in the fitness community call the squat the ‘king’ of all exercises. This is because the squat makes your legs, core, and even shoulders work together as a unit. As a result, everything gets stronger and your joints stay healthy.</p> <p>Squats are also perhaps the ultimate human functional exercise. Don’t believe us? Try getting up from the toilet without squatting.</p> <p>But hey, maybe you haven’t exercised in a little bit. The perfect movement for you, in that case, is the sit to stand. It uses the same exact muscles (legs, hips, core) as the squat, takes a little pressure off your joints, and allows you to start slowly and progress your way up. The only difference is you’ll need a chair or couch.</p> <p>In either case, Coach Tyler breaks down the sit to stand in <a target="_blank" href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xlKeb8NzZBk&t=388s" rel="noreferrer">this video</a> at <b>3:13</b>. If you’re ready for something more advanced, try mastering <a target="_blank" href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUT0f9P7GpQ&t=275s" rel="noreferrer">the perfect squat</a>. Everything you need to do-from your toes to your nose-with a good squat is covered.</p> <p><b>Every Day Fitness Challenge</b>: Do three sets of 15 to 20 squats or sit to stands with a sixty- to ninety-second break in between. Perform three sets.</p> <p>For a harder challenge, try doing a high-intensity interval <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/what-is-functional-training-and-can-it-benefit-you/" rel="noreferrer">Tabata-style workout</a> using squats or sit to stands.<p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/tyler-plank-instruction-0101.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/tyler-plank-instruction-0101.jpf" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/tyler-plank-instruction-0315.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/tyler-plank-instruction-0315-LR.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="tyler-plank-instruction-0101"> </picture> <h3>4. Push-Ups (or Wall Push-Ups)</h3> <p>You’re set with lower body every day fitness exercises, but what about arms? No need to overcomplicate it, because push-ups are a simple and effective exercise that helps you every day. And just like with squats, you have options if normal push-ups aren’t something you can do yet.</p> <p>The push-up position is perfect for every day fitness because they make your shoulders and arms stronger. If you’re moving things in the yard, bringing in groceries, or even lifting up children, they’ll help keep your joints and muscles healthy.</p> <p>At 6:05, Coach Tyler breaks down the form for a <a target="_blank" href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUT0f9P7GpQ&t=275s" rel="noreferrer">perfect push-up</a>. He breaks down everything from how your hands should position on the floor to what to do with your toes. And fear not, because a sturdy desk or a wall can give you the same workout if you need to start with something easy-just use the <a target="_blank" href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZehrAhU0h4" rel="noreferrer">wall push-up</a>.</p> <p><b>Every Day Fitness Challenge</b>: Do three sets of 15 to 20 regular or modified push-ups with a sixty- to ninety-second break in between. Perform three sets.</p> <p>For a harder challenge, try doing these back to back with a squat workout.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <section id="section7"> <h2>Wrapping Up</h2> <p>Incorporating into your routine functional exercises that improve your everyday fitness is an investment in your health and well-being. If you feel better and can move better throughout the day, you can burn more calories, lose weight faster, and even enjoy exercising more. This is why we love functional exercises for simple but effective at-home workouts.</p> <p>For more workouts, head over to <a target="_blank" href="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZjFDJI4B4l16uujibduMFA/videos" rel="noreferrer">Warrior Made’s YouTube channel</a> or check out our <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/" rel="noreferrer">exercise articles</a>. We have plenty of free workouts you can do right now that will burn fat in thirty minutes or less!</p> </section> </article>

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