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10 full-body exercises that tone everything in one fell swoop

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...

These fitness moves that work several muscles at once will trump leg day

Functional fitness may sound like a catchy new type of workout, but once you understand its purpose (and its benefits) you'll be hooked. Just as the name suggests, functional exercises used in a functional fitness routine try to mimic more "real world," everyday activities, using multiple muscle groups and joints at the same time to give you a killer full-body workout.

Think of it as a fitness routine where you'll get much more bang for your buck. After even one session, you'll start to improve endurance, balance, posture, strength, coordination and agility from head to toe. Here are 10 of our favorite functional exercises to get you started:

1. Medicine ball squat with overhead lift

These fitness moves that work several muscles at once will trump leg day
Image: Tiffany Egbert/SheKnows

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 apart, 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 the 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.

Next Up: More functional exercises for full-body fitness

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