For most people, daily activities consist of some form of pushing, pulling, twisting, sitting, walking, lifting, and stepping. These movements might be monotonous and even become second nature to some but without exercise they can become more and more difficult. In fact, as you get older you tend to lose muscle tone, flexibility, and balance. Movements like walking up stairs, carrying groceries, and picking up objects or small children will become of a burden if you don’t consciously work to keep those joints and muscles strong.
Functional training programs work to do just that. This type of training incorporates movements that mimic daily activities and works to increase upper body strength, lower body strength, balance, flexibility and cardiovascular endurance. By integrating some of the functional fitness workouts into your weekly fitness regimen you will be able to better execute the tasks demanded of you each day.
The following exercise moves will be used in each of the workouts below.
- Seated Torso Twist – Targets your torso and obliques and is great for strengthening your core. This move will help you reach behind you, reach up to grab things, and it will improve your posture.
- Step-Up and Calf Raises – Step-ups target your quads (the front of your leg), glutes, and your hamstrings. You can increase the intensity by adding a set of dumbbells. The calf raises will help strengthen you lower legs. Both will make everyday tasks like walking stepping into bed or out of cars, and even sitting a little easier.
- Deadlifts – You can do this move with either a set of dumbbells, water bottles, or with no equipment at all. It targets your lower back, glutes and hamstrings and will help you pick up objects easier.
- Chair Squat- Improve your balance with this move while building leg strength at the same time. Make sure your knees always remain behind your toes and be sure to sit your hips back.
- Hammer Curls – You can do this move with either a set of dumbbells or water bottles if you have them. This really works your biceps and forearms to help with any lifting movement.
Functional Workout No. 1
After warming up and stretching for 5-10 minutes, perform each of the exercises above for 2 minutes. Complete a 10 minute walk or slow jog on a treadmill or outside and end the workout by completing each of the exercises again for 2 minutes.
Functional Workout No. 2
After warming up and stretching for 5-10 minutes. Complete each of the exercises above for 90 seconds. Then complete each of the exercises above for 60 seconds. Then complete each of the exercises for 30 seconds, then 60 seconds and then 90 seconds. End the workout with 10 minutes of cardio.
Functional Workout No. 3
After warming up and stretching for 5-10 minutes. Complete 20 repetitions of each of the exercises above. Then, complete 2-3 minutes of any cardio move. Next, complete 15 repetitions of each of the exercises above followed by 2-3 minutes of any cardio move. Continue on to do 10 repetitions of each of the exercises above followed by 2-3 minutes of any cardio move. End the workout with 5 repetitions of each move followed by 2-3 minutes of any cardio move.
Don’t forget to cool down and stretch after you complete either of these workouts. It’s always great to recover with lots of water and a protein to help your muscles rebuild themselves.