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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.

Rorso Rotation with Medicine Ball

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Torso rotation with medicine ball

Functionality: Strong oblique muscles are key to avoiding lower back injuries. This exercise improves the strength and coordination of all of your core muscles and will improve your tone and tighten your waist.

Exercise: Sit on the ground with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor, holding a medicine ball at your chest with both hands. Lean your torso away from your thighs, increasing the angle at your hips and pulling your belly button in toward your spine. Maintaining your hip angle, rotate your torso to the right, moving your right elbow toward the floor behind you. Return to center and rotate to the left. Repeat 10 to 15 times for each side. As you get stronger, perform the rotations with straighter arms and/or use a heavier medicine ball. Always keep your belly button pulled in.

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

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