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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.

Knee lift with lateral raise

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Knee lift with lateral raise

Functionality: This exercise improves your core strength and balance as well as strengthens and tones your shoulders.

Exercise: Stand tall with a 5-pound weight in each hand, arms to your sides. Lift your right knee until it reaches hip level while lifting your arms straight out to the side to form a T at your shoulders. Hold for two seconds, making sure your belly button is pulled back toward your spine, then lower to start position. Repeat 10 to 15 times for each leg. Increase the weight of the dumbbells as you get stronger.

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

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