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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.

Lunge with back row

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Lunge with back row

Functionality: This exercise will improve your posture by strengthening the muscles in your upper and mid back, shoulders, and arms while also toning and strengthening your legs and improving your hip flexibility.

Exercise: Holding an 8-pound weight in each hand, step your right foot forward and your left foot back, keeping both heels on the floor and feet pointing straight ahead. Bend your right knee until it is over your right ankle. Lower your chest toward your thigh, bringing your arms perpendicular to the floor, keeping your back flat (don't hunch) — this is your start position. Straighten your right leg, row your elbows back and squeeze your shoulder blades together, keeping your torso angled slightly forward. Return to start position. Repeat 10 to 15 times for each leg. Increase the weight of the dumbbells as you get stronger. This exercise can also be done with a resistance band looped underneath the front foot.

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

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