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Functional Fitness

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What exactly is functional fitness?

You hear me talking about functional fitness all the time. My personal fitness philosophy is centered on body weight functional fitness exercises, thus my keen appreciation of my countless plank variations. Nevertheless, “functional fitness” as fitness guru’s coined it describes exercises that help to train your muscles in working together. Thus, there is no “I” in “Team”. Fundamentally functional fitness exercises help prepare our bodies for everyday common movements; movements in which you may engage in at work, at home and or during your leisure time.
Training with functional fitness exercises can be without a doubt very challenging. However, it will help to enhance your current fitness level as well as simplify everyday activities- consequently improving your quality of life!
Functional exercises can be easily done at home and or at the gym. With equipment, and or without equipment. Some gyms offer specific functional fitness classes. Other highly recommended functional outlets are boot camps and yoga classes. Most enthusiastic resistance junkies adhere to functional fitness by incorporating combo exercises into their workout regimens. For those of you who are not sure what a combo exercise is, basically it is an exercise that simultaneously utilizes both upper and lower body muscles. Combo/ functional exercises are a.k.a. multitaskers. Chiefly- “multijoint, multimuscle” exercises.
Some examples of functional fitness/combo exercises are as follows:
• Step-ups with weights
• Multidirectional lunges
• Squats with bicep curls

Step ups with weights replicate walking a flight of stairs and or getting up off the ground. Stand behind a 15-inch platform or step (higher or lower depending upon ability level) – hold weights if desired. Place the right foot on the step, transfer the weight to the heel and push into the heel to come onto the step. Slowly step back down and repeat all reps on the right leg before switching to the left.
Multidirectional lunges prepare your body for common activities, such as vacuuming and yard work. To do a lunge, you keep one leg in place and step out with the other leg — to the front, back and or side. Remember to keep good form. Front and back leg kept with the 90/90 rule- weight in front heel.
Squat with bicep curl use weights or maybe don’t use weight. This exercise mimics the action of lifting an item from the floor. To perform a squat with bicep curl, you start with your feet hip distance apart, stable core, straight spine. Holding the dumbbells (if using weight) at your side, slowly bend through the hips and knees, keeping your weight back in your heels. Bend until your knees reach a 90-degree angle (as if you were sitting in a chair). As you slowly return to the starting position (weight kept in heels), turn your palms toward the ceiling, flex your arms and curl (bicep) the dumbbells in toward your shoulders.

Therefore, your challenge is to get FUNCTIONAL:…
With the given examples above, and or any other body weight combo functional fitness exercises you embrace in your repertoire – I challenge you to perform them today! Spend at least 30 min working specifically on your functional fitness. If you are lacking creativity and are just sticking with the exercises above, for each exercise perform 3 sets of 15 reps.
Creative note: You may aspire to add in renegade rows, planks, plank climbers, plank jacks, sumo squats with upright rows, squats with overhead press, etc., etc., etc.

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