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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.

Diagonal Reach with Medicine Ball

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Diagonal reach with medicine ball

Functionality: When you reach for your boots on the top shelf of your closet, pay attention to how your body moves — one arm reaches up while the opposite leg slightly lifts to the side. This exercise works all the muscles — arms, shoulders, legs — involved in lifting something diagonally overhead as well as lowering it.

Exercise: Stand tall, holding a medicine ball at your chest with both hands. Lift the medicine ball diagonally overhead to the right, straightening your arms, while extending your left leg to the side, making a diagonal line from the medicine ball to your toes. Lower to start position. Repeat 10 to 15 times for each leg. Increase the weight of the medicine ball and strap 2- to 5-pound weights on your ankles as you get stronger.

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

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