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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.

push up with hip extension

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Push-up with hip extension

Functionality: This exercise strengthens your chest, shoulder and arm muscles (primarily triceps) as well as your core muscles and glutes.

Exercise: On your hands and knees, place your hands wider than shoulder-distance apart. Extend your right leg straight back and pull your belly button up towards your spine, tightening your core muscles. Keeping your leg lifted, lower your chest to the ground until each of your elbows is at a 90-degree angle, then push up. Repeat 10 to 15 times for each leg. As you get stronger, increase the angle of your hips, increasing the distance of your knees from your hands. Eventually perform the exercise with straight legs: one leg lifted, the other positioned on your toes.

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

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