Functional exercises involve multiple joints and muscles working in unison. The advantage of these exercises is that they can improve your strength, balance, coordination, endurance and agility in one fell swoop. You can use the weight of your body and added external resistance to perform these exercises.
Clean and presses work your shoulders, back, upper chest and legs simultaneously. Place a weighted barbell on the floor and stand behind it with your feet shoulder-width apart. In a steady motion, bend down and grab the bar with a slightly wider than shoulder-width grip and hoist it up to your upper chest. After pausing briefly, push it straight above your head and hold for a second. Slowly lower it back to your chest, then the floor. Repeat for 10 to 12 repetitions.
Lunges with twists work your legs and core muscles simultaneously. Perform these with a medicine ball. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold the ball in front of your waist. After stepping forward with your left foot, lower your body by bending your knees. Once your left thigh parallels the floor and your right knee is an inch above the floor, rotate your upper body and place the ball outside of your left hip. In a steady motion, stand up, lunge forward with your right foot and repeat the twist to your right side. Continue to alternate back and forth until you've done 10 to 12 reps with each leg.
Push-ups with leg raises work your chest, triceps and core all at the same time. Lie on your stomach with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and your toes hip-width apart behind you. In a steady motion, push yourself up, straighten your back and tighten your abs. Your arms should be completely extended at this point. Once into this position, raise your right leg in the air behind you, slowly lower yourself down by bending your elbows and stop when your chest is within a fist-width of the floor. Carefully push yourself back up and repeat. Once you have done five to six reps, switch legs and do another five to six reps.
Squats with curls work your legs and biceps. You will need a stability ball and a set of dumbbells to execute these. Pinch the ball into a wall with your mid back and hold the dumbbells at your sides with your palms facing in. After stepping forward slightly and spacing your feet shoulder-width apart, lower yourself down by bending your knees. Once your thighs parallel the floor, stand up and lift the dumbbells toward your chest by bending your elbows. When you get into the upright position, squeeze your biceps forcefully, descend into another squat and lower your arms back to your sides. Repeat for 10 to 12 repetitions.
A inflatable balance trainer is a functional training tool that has an inflated dome side and a flat side. It looks like a stability ball that has been cut in half. To do a get-up, place the dome side up and stand approximately 12 inches in front of the balance trainer with your back to it. Slowly descend into a deep squat, place your butt on the lower part of the dome and lean back over the balance trainer. Once your back parallels the floor, move forward steadily and come back to a standing position. Repeat 12 to 15 times. When doing these, keep your arms in front of your chest.
A burpee is a high-intensity body weight exercise that works your entire body. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, lower yourself down by bending your knees and place your hands next to your feet. In a fast motion, hop your feet behind you and land with your toes shoulder-width apart. Quickly do a push-up, snap your feet back forward and leap in the air as high as you can. As you leap, raise your arms straight above you. As soon as you land, go right back into another burpee. Continue for 12 to 15 repetitions.
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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.