Functional exercises are physical activities that include real-life body movements and are designed to perform everyday tasks with ease and accuracy. These exercises have a great impact on the whole human body which improves the overall strength, flexibility, durability, and balance of the individual.
Therefore, in this article, I came up with a list of functional exercises at home or the gym that produce fast and efficient results. Therefore, I would like you to take your time and read this specific article thoroughly till the end.
Also Read: Upper Body Exercise to Build Strength
30 Best Functional Exercises:
On this list of the best functional exercises, I have started with the basic activities and to more complex ones. But, it would be great for you to also learn about the Hip-Flexor exercises that we have covered in our post-related article.
As a result, you’ll be able to discover the major impacts and effects of such complex activities on your body. So, let’s discuss these amazing functional movements along with their techniques and results.
For squats, I stand with my feet shoulder-width apart, and then I bend my knees and hips to lower my body until my thighs are parallel to the ground. I make sure to keep my chest up and my knees in line with my toes to maintain proper form.
Squats are a great exercise for building lower body strength, particularly in the quads, glutes, and hamstrings. They also help improve balance and mobility in everyday activities.
To perform lunges, I start by stepping forward with one leg and then bending both knees to lower my body until my rear knee nearly touches the ground. I make sure to keep my front knee in line with my ankle and my back straight.
Talking about the functional exercises for beginners, Lunges are a great exercise for building lower body strength, particularly in the glutes, quads, and hamstrings. They also help improve balance, stability, and flexibility in the hips and legs.
My feet should be shoulder-width apart when I perform deadlifts. Then, I hinge at the hips and bend my knees to lower my torso until I can reach a barbell or kettlebell on the ground.
I make sure to keep my back straight and engage my core muscles to protect my lower back. Once I have a good grip on the weight, I lift it by straightening my legs and hips. Deadlifts are a great exercise for building lower body and back strength, as well as grip strength
For step-ups, I begin by stepping onto a box or platform with one leg. Then, I drive through my heel to lift my body onto the box. Once I’m standing on top of the box, I step down and repeat the exercise with my other leg.
For functional training circuits, Step-ups are a great exercise for building lower body strength, particularly in the quads, glutes, and hamstrings. They also help improve balance and stability. Work with a qualified fitness professional to ensure proper form and technique by starting at a lower box or platform height and progressing gradually.
5. Bulgarian Split Squats
To perform Bulgarian split squats, I stand facing away from a bench or chair with one foot on the bench behind me. I make sure my front foot is far enough forward so that when I bend my knee, my front knee stays in line with my ankle.
With my back straight, I bend my front knee to lower my body until my rear knee nearly touches the ground. Bulgarian split squats are a great exercise for building lower body strength, particularly in the quads, glutes, and hamstrings. They also help improve balance, stability, and flexibility in the hips and legs.
6. Box Jumps
Standing in front of a box or platform, I perform box jumps. With both feet on the ground, I bend my knees and jump onto the box, landing softly and standing up tall at the top of the box. Then, I step down and repeat the exercise.
Box jumps are a great exercise for building explosive power and leg strength, as well as improving cardiovascular fitness. Work with a qualified fitness professional to ensure proper form and technique, and start with a lower box height to avoid injury. Moreover, box jumps can be a high-impact exercise, so I should listen to my body.
In compound exercises, to perform burpees, I start by squatting down and placing my hands on the ground in front of me. Then, I jump my feet back into a plank position, making sure to keep my core engaged and my hips in line with my shoulders.
From there, I lower my body down to the ground, push up to a plank position, jump my feet forward to return to the squat position, and finally stand up and jump. Burpees are a challenging full-body exercise that can help improve cardiovascular fitness and build strength in the arms, chest, core, and legs.
8. Mountain Climbers
Starting in a plank position, I spread my arms shoulder-width apart and my feet hip-width apart. From there, I bring one knee up towards my chest while keeping my other leg extended behind me. Then, I quickly switch my legs, bringing my opposite knee up while extending the first leg back.
Throughout the exercise, I focus on keeping my core tight and my hips level to prevent my body from swaying side-to-side. Mountain climbers are a great exercise for building strength and endurance in the core, arms, and legs, as well as improving cardiovascular fitness.
Planks are performed with arms extended and hands shoulder-width apart. From there, I lower my body down onto my forearms, keeping my elbows directly below my shoulders. I hold my body straight and tight, making sure to engage my core and glutes to maintain proper alignment.
Planks are a great exercise for building core strength and stability, as well as improving posture and balance. Take breaks as needed, and start with short durations and work up to longer ones. Additionally, it’s important to maintain proper form throughout the exercise to avoid injury and to work with a qualified fitness professional if necessary.
10. Side Planks
To perform side planks, I start in a plank position with my hands shoulder-width apart and my body straight and tight. From there, I rotate my body to one side, balancing on one forearm and the side of my foot. I lift my upper body off the ground with my forearm and hold, making sure to keep my hips and shoulders in line.
Side planks are a great exercise for building core strength and stability, as well as improving balance and posture. However, it’s important to start with a shorter duration and work up to longer holds, and to switch sides to work both sides of the body equally in such cardio exercises.
11. Russian Twists
My feet are flat on the ground as I perform Russian twists. I start by bending my knees and placing my fingers on the floor. Next, I hold a weight or medicine ball in front of me with both hands, keeping my arms straight and my core engaged.
Then, I slowly rotate my torso from side to side, keeping my feet and hips stable and my eyes on the weight or ball in front of me. Russian twists are a great exercise for strengthening the core, especially the oblique muscles on the sides of the abdomen.
I start by positioning myself in a plank position, making sure my hands are shoulder-width apart and my body forms a straight line. I engage my core, making sure it’s tight throughout the exercise. As I bend my elbows, I keep them close to my body, until my chest nearly touches the ground. In line with my body, I keep my back straight.
Then, I push back up, extending my arms and pushing through my chest and shoulders. I make sure to exhale as I push up and keep my core engaged to maintain good form.
Push-ups are a great exercise that engages multiple muscle groups including the chest, triceps, shoulders, and core.
As I do pull-ups, my palms face away from me as I hang from a bar. I make sure my hands are slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and my body is straight. Next, I engage my back and arm muscles and pull my body up towards the bar until my chin is over the bar.
I focus on using my upper body strength to lift my body while keeping my core engaged to maintain stability. Then, I slowly lower my body back down, making sure to control the movement and not drop suddenly. I repeat this movement for several repetitions.
For functional strength exercises, When I do chin-ups, I start by hanging from a bar with my palms facing toward me. I make sure my hands are shoulder-width apart and my body is straight.
Then, I use my arm and back muscles to pull my body up towards the bar until my chin is over the bar. I lower my body back down slowly, repeating the movement for several repetitions.
For dips, I place my hands on parallel bars or the edge of a bench. I lower my body down until my elbows are at a 90-degree angle, then push back up using my arm and chest muscles.
I make sure to keep my core engaged and my back straight throughout the exercise. As helps maintain the overall posture of the body for long-term exercises.
16. KettleBell Swings
To perform kettlebell swings, I stand with my feet shoulder-width apart and hinge at the hips to grab the kettlebell with both hands.
I swing the kettlebell back between my legs, then powerfully swing it up to shoulder height using my hips and legs. I make sure to keep my arms straight and engage my core throughout the movement.
17. Turkish Get-Ups
When I do Turkish get-ups, I start by lying on the ground with a weight in one hand. I press the weight up to the ceiling and then stand up while keeping the weight overhead.
This exercise is great for improving overall strength and stability. Thus, try it for once and you’ll like the overall results of such exercises.
18. Farmer Carries
For farmer’s carries, I pick up two heavyweights, one in each hand, and walk while keeping my core tight and my shoulders back. This exercise targets my grip strength, as well as my back and core muscles.
19. Overhead Press
To perform an overhead press, I stand with my feet shoulder-width apart and hold a weight or barbell in front of my shoulders.
I press the weight overhead until my arms are straight, then lower it back down. This exercise is great for targeting my shoulder muscles.
20. Bench Press
When I do bench press, I lie flat on a bench with my feet firmly planted on the floor. I grasp the barbell with a grip that is slightly wider than shoulder-width. I lower the bar down to my chest, then press it back up to the starting position, exhaling as I lift.
Furthermore, I make sure to keep my elbows tucked in close to my sides and my shoulder blades squeezed together throughout the exercise. This exercise targets my chest, shoulders, and triceps.
Rows are a great exercise for building a strong back, biceps, and shoulders. When I do rows, I start with my feet shoulder-width apart and hinge forward at the hips. I grasp the weight with an overhand grip and pull it up to my chest, keeping my elbows close to my body.
Then, I slowly lower it back down to the starting position. This exercise can be done with dumbbells or a barbell, and can also be performed using resistance bands or a cable machine.
To do bicep curls, I stand with my feet shoulder-width apart and grasp the weight with an underhand grip.
Then, I curl the weight up to my shoulders while keeping my elbows close to my body. I slowly lower it back down to the starting position.
23. Tricep Extensions
For tricep extensions, I stand with my feet shoulder-width apart and hold the weight with both hands. I raise the weight above my head and then bend my elbows to lower the weight behind my head.
Finally, I straighten my arms to return to the starting position. These specific functional exercises for seniors make muscles strong in no time.
24. Leg Curls
Leg curls target my hamstrings, and I can perform them using a machine or a resistance band. To do this exercise, I lie face down on a bench or mat and grasp the weight or band behind my ankles.
I curl my heels towards my butt and then slowly lower them back down to the starting position. Make sure to try this special exercise as it produces fast and efficient results in less time with perfection.
25. Leg Extensions
On this functional training exercise list PDF, Leg extensions target my quadriceps, and I can perform them using a machine or a resistance band.
I sit on the machine with my feet firmly planted on the footrest and lift the weight by straightening my legs. I slowly lower the weight back down to the starting position.
26. Calf Raises
To do calf raises, I stand with my feet shoulder-width apart and lift my heels off the ground while squeezing my calves at the top of the movement.
I can use a machine or a weight like dumbbells or a barbell to perform this exercise. Finally, I lower my heels back down to the starting position.
27. Ab Wheel Rollouts
I love doing ab wheel rollouts as they help me build my core strength. To perform this exercise, I kneel on the ground and hold onto the ab wheel with my hands.
Then, I roll the wheel forward while keeping my core tight and my back straight. I make sure to roll out as far as I can while maintaining control, and then roll back up to the starting position.
28. Medicine Ball Slams
Medicine ball slams are a high-intensity exercise that I enjoy doing to work my entire body, especially my core and upper body. To perform this exercise, I stand with my feet shoulder-width apart and lift the medicine ball over my head.
Then, I slam the ball down onto the ground with as much force as I can, and catch it on the bounce before repeating the movement.
29. Battle Ropes
I like to use battle ropes as they are a great way to build my upper body and core strength while also improving my cardiovascular fitness.
To perform this exercise, I hold onto the thick, heavy ropes anchored at one end and wave them up and down or side to side as quickly as I can. I can also perform exercises such as slams and twists to add variation to my workout.
30. Jump Rope
Jump rope is a great way for me to get my heart rate up and improve my coordination and agility. To perform this exercise, I simply hold the rope handles in each hand and jump over the rope as it passes beneath my feet.
I start with a slower pace and gradually increase my speed. I also like to try different jump variations such as single-leg hops or double unders.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Exercises aimed at building strength in everyday patterns are called functional strength training. A combination of free-weight exercises, gymnastic movements, and aerobic exercise is used in this type of training.
YES, since it’s based on natural movements we do every day thus, is one of the best functional exercises. Every posture and move aims to improve our strength, flexibility, mobility, and endurance (the amount depends on the style) so we can live pain-free and healthily.
Because you move your whole body during functional training, you burn much fatter than during steady-state cardio or bodybuilding. A multiplane, multijoint, and multi-muscle workout maximizes fat-burning and all-around fitness.
In this specific article, I have concluded the 30 best functional exercises that have a great effect on the human body if they are performed properly. I started this list with basic pushups and then complex medicine ball exercises.
Since these exercises allow the body to have greater strength by adding high flexibility and durability to the muscles. Therefore, make sure to try all of them once in your life and discover their incredible results on your body.
In this article, I have covered all the major functional activities that I have tried on my own. However, if you have some other exercises in your mind for fast and accurate results, then please share them in the comment box given below.
Mark Kreps is a highly qualified fitness expert and writer who has been an integral part of the Creative Fitness team for several years. With a deep passion for health and wellness, Mark Kreps has helped countless clients achieve their fitness goals through personalized training programs and nutritional guidance.