Build strength to PR at life using these foundational, functional fitness moves.

By Jay Cardiello
Updated June 04, 2019
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Functional fitness, a style of workout incorporating exercises that mimic or recreate everyday movement, makes all the sense in the world. After all, shouldn’t we be using exercise to *enhance* the way we perform daily functions (like picking up your baby from a crib or keeping your spine stable and linear while you sit at your desk)?

That’s part of the reason super popular workout studios such as F45 Training in New York utilize the form of fitness in their classes. Functional fitness workouts strengthen your muscles, improve coordination and communication between your brain and your body, help you tone up, and make your day-to-day routine easier. (P.S. you should also read up on calisthenics too.)

Hey, don’t get us wrong: Cardio machines like the stair-climber, treadmill, and elliptical all still have their places in your routine. So do single-joint exercises.

But if you’re short on time and looking for the most bang for your buck inside and out of the gym, why not give a functional fitness workout a shot? Here, seven moves that will help you build a stronger body for your everyday activities. (Ready for a challenge? After this, try this free F45 Training functional fitness workout.)

Bodyweight Functional Fitness Workout

How it works: Perform as many reps of each functional fitness exercise as possible in 60 seconds, resting 30 seconds between each move. Do 1 to 3 sets.

You'll need: No equipment necessary.

1. Caterpillar Walk-out

Stand tall with feet shoulder-width apart and hands resting at sides. Lower hips into a squat position with hands in front of feet and palms on the floor. Quickly walk hands out until body is in pushup position, a straight line from head to heels. Pause, then reverse direction back to starting position.

Pro tip: To build greater symmetry in your hips and legs, try this exercise on one leg. Begin in the starting position with only your right leg on the floor. Perform the move for 30 seconds, then switch to the left leg for the remainder of the time.

2. Leaning Tower of Pisa

Stand tall with feet hip-width apart and arms extended out to sides parallel to the ground. Brace core and raise right knee (bent at a 90-degree angle) to navel level until thigh is parallel to the floor. Slowly rotate torso while leaning forward at hips and reaching right hand down to left foot. (As you lean forward, right leg will extend back behind hips.) Pause and reverse motion back to starting position, keeping right leg off the ground throughout the entire movement. After 30 seconds, switch to left leg.

Pro tip: Aim to form a "T" with your body with your leg fully extended back behind you and your torso parallel to the floor.

3. Get-Up

Lie face-up with legs fully extended, hip-width apart, right arm reaching toward the ceiling in front of chest, and left arm at side with palm on the floor. In one swift movement, pull feet in towards glutes, plant them on the floor, and lift torso upward as the right hand punches up. Press into the floor with left palm and heels, to come to standing with right arm fully extended overhead. Reverse direction, using only the left hand to lower back to start. Switch hands so left hand is extended in front of chest and repeat. Continue alternating arms. (Related: How to Do the Perfect Turkish Get-Up)

Pro tip: Be certain that you only use one arm to stand and lower yourself back down to the ground.

4. Skipping Olympian

Stand tall with feet hip-width apart, arms extended out to sides, parallel to the ground. Keeping right knee bent, quickly swing it backward, out to the side, then in front of your body, hopping left foot off the ground as if you were skipping. When right foot touches the ground, switch legs. Continue alternating between legs.

Pro tip: To ensure proper spine stability, avoid leaning forward at the hip and keep your chin parallel to the ground.

5. Chop Squat

Stand tall with feet together and arms extended overhead, fingers interlocked and palms facing each other. Brace core and jump feet out to land in a wide squat (try to lower until thighs are parallel to the ground), while swinging arms to the right to rest just outside of the right knee. (You should make a chopping motion with your arms.) Jump back to start with feet together and arms overhead, then repeat on the other side. Repeat, alternating chopping to the right and left sides. (Related: How to Build Proper Squat Form)

Pro tip: To increase strength gains throughout this move, jump higher in and out of the squat.

6. Uni-Plank Lift

Begin in a traditional push-up position. Raise right hand and left leg 1 inch off the ground. This is your starting position. Brace core and quickly raise both until they are parallel to ground. Continue lowering and raising both extremities for 30 seconds, then switch to opposite arm and leg. (Related: The Ultimate 30-Day Plank Challenge)

Pro tip: To avoid placing unwanted stress on your neck, keep eyes focused on the floor.

7. Wimbledon

Begin in a lunge position with the right foot in front, both knees bent at 90-degree angles and back knee hovering just off the floor. Clasp hands in front of chest as if holding a tennis racket. Brace core and jump as far to the right as possible, landing softly back in a lunge position, then jump back to the left. Continue jumping side to side.

Pro tip: Your goal is to jump back as soon as you land.

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Comments (1)

Anonymous
August 24, 2018
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