Functional fitness is all about preparing your body for everyday life, rather than just the gym. For most of us, exercise is a way to improve our quality of life. And that’s the main focus of functional fitness.
This type of exercise mimics everyday actions while engaging multiple muscle groups at once — helping improve your overall strength and stability. Chances are, you’ve probably done a variety of functional fitness exercises without even realising.
Alex Beattie lives by his functional fitness routine to stay in shape, day in day out. While a lot of moves focus on dumbbells and barbells, there are many bodyweight exercises you can do from the comfort of your own home.
So, we’ve picked our five favourite bodyweight exercises from his Functional Fitness Guide…
1. Bodyweight walking lunge
The walking lunge is a variation of the traditional static lunge that targets your glutes, quads, and hamstrings. Rather than staying stationary, you’re continually stepping forward which engages your core muscles with every step.
To make this more difficult try holding dumbbells.
How to do walking lunges:
- Lunge forward as far as you can with your right leg, bending your left knee so it’s just above the floor.
- Using the heel of your right foot, push into the next lunge, leading with your left leg.
2. Kick through
Kick throughs are the full-body move that will work your core, glutes, and shoulders. In addition to toning those muscles, kick throughs can also help boost your balance and coordination.
How to do kick throughs:
- Begin in a high plank position with your hands shoulder-width apart.
- In one motion, rotate your body to the left and kick your right leg through. Use your left arm to touch your hand to your toe.
- Bring your hand and foot back to a high plank position, and repeat on the opposite side, touching your right hand to your left foot.
3. Bench Dips
Your triceps are made up of three heads — the lateral, the medial, and the long head — and if you want to increase the strength and size of your upper arms, you need to work all three. Luckily, you can do that with one exercise — tricep dips.
How to do bench dips:
- Stand facing away from a bench, reach back and grab it with both hands at roughly shoulder-width.
- Extend your legs out in front of you and lower your body, by bending your elbows, until your arm at forearm creates a 90-degree angle.
- Using your triceps push yourself back to the starting position.
4. Jump squat
Squats are a foolproof way to strengthen your legs and glutes, as well as working your core muscles. But, if you’re looking to build explosive power, then you need to consider jump squats.
How to do a jump squat:
- Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart.
- Hinge at the hips and lower into the squat position.
- Press your feet down to explode off the floor and jump as high as you can.
- Allow your knees to bend when you land, and immediately drop back down into a squat, and jump again.
Burpees are one of the few bodyweight exercises that work your whole body and give you a great cardiovascular workout.
How to do a burpee:
- From a standing position, drop into a squat with your hands on the ground just in front of your feet.
- Kick your feet behind you, keeping your arms extended so you’re in a raised plank position.
- Bring your feet back towards your hands, and leap into the air with your arms straight above you.