If you haven’t heard of functional fitness before, you might have just stumbled on a new type of workout that can kick your butt — and your back and your arms and your legs too. Functional exercises, a buzzword that you’re likely to hear from your personal trainer, use multiple muscles and joints at the same time to improve endurance, strength, balance, posture, coordination and agility. You can use these 10 full-body exercises for a fully functional workout designed to strengthen your body for real-world activity.
1. Medicine ball squat with overhead lift
Functionality: Even though you lift your kids and groceries with your arms, your legs and back are also key players. This exercise strengthens your legs, glutes, lower back, arms and shoulders.
Exercise: Stand with your feet wide apart, holding a light medicine ball in front of you in both hands. Squat down, moving your rear back and keeping your knees over your ankles, and lower the medicine ball to the floor, keeping your head up and back straight (don’t hunch). Return to the start position, and lift the medicine ball over your head. Repeat the squat, and lower ball to the ground. Perform three sets of 10 repetitions. Increase the weight of the ball as you get stronger.