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Top 10 functional exercises for full-body fitness

Michele Borboa, MS is a freelance writer and editor specializing in health, fitness, food, lifestyle, and pets. Michele is a health and wellness expert, personal chef, cookbook author, and pet-lover based in Bozeman, Montana. She is also...

Functional fitness

The focus in fitness these days is functional exercises — exercises that simultaneously use multiple muscles and joints to improve muscular endurance, overall strength, coordination, balance, posture and agility — to get a challenging, effective and fun full-body workout as well as prepare the body for everyday, real-world activities. You'll get a dynamite — and functional — workout with these 10 full-body exercises.

Woman with medicine ball

Photo credit: DNY59/iStock/360/Getty Images

Medicine Ball Squat

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Medicine ball squat with overhead lift

Functionality: Even though you lift your kids and groceries with your arms, your legs and back are also key players. This exercise strengthens your legs, glutes, lower back, arms and shoulders.

Exercise: Stand with your feet wide, holding a light medicine ball in front of you in both hands. Squat down, moving your rear back and keeping your knees over your ankles, and lower the medicine ball to the floor, keeping your head up and back straight (don't hunch). Return to a start position and lift the medicine ball over your head. Repeat the squat and lower ball to the ground. Perform three sets of 10 repetitions. Increase the weight of the ball as you get stronger.

Up next: More functional exercises for full-body fitness >>

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