What Is Functional Fitness?
Either you’ve heard of functional fitness or you will very soon. The word “functional” has been on the rise in the world of fitness, and functional training, though not exactly new, is about to become as mainstream as kickboxing or cycling. Functional itself means:
“Having or serving a utilitarian purpose; capable of serving the purpose for which it was designed.”
And that is exactly what functional fitness is about. Functional fitness is about training your body as an entire unit instead of muscle by muscle. It is about training your body to move the way in which you move in everyday life: bending, lifting, throwing, reaching, and twisting. Functional fitness is for everyone and it should be used by those who want to stay strong, fit, and moving well into their old age.
To prevent injury and keep your body moving with ease, you have to keep training your body in a functional way. Think of it this way; what good is it to be able to bench press 500 pounds if you throw your back out carrying a suitcase down the stairs? So let’s train for life!
Use this functional fitness workout whether you want a low-impact way to stay in shape, are recovering from an injury, or simply planning ahead and want to keep your body strong and, yes, functional as you age!
Here’s the plan:
- In this workout you will not need any equipment; although a step, bench, or chair should be nearby.
- After you completed each exercise one time through, take a one minute rest. Repeat the sequence for a total of 3-4 times.
Step Up Knee Lift
A) Begin with your feet shoulder width apart, then step one foot up onto the bench.
B) Rise up until that leg is straight then lift the opposite knee up to hip height and step down to the floor.
C) Repeat on the other side.
Perform 10 per leg.
Run The Tires
Note: If you actually have some old tires or rings, try them out! But this can be done equipment free.
A) From standing, hop to left, landing on left foot with right knee raised toward chest. Take 3 quick, small steps to right, lifting knees high and pumping arms in opposition.
B) Land on right foot with left knee raised. Continue moving from side to side.
Perform for 1 minute.
Bear Crawl/Crab Walk
Two for the price of one! Read the descriptions and then try the Bear Crawl in one direction down the floor and the Crab Walk to return. Once might be plenty depending on the amount of space you have, but if it’s small, go for 2 or 3 sets back and forth!
A) Begin by getting onto all fours and then rise to your feet with your hands remaining on the floor.
B) Crawl forward starting with your right hand and your left foot following with the left hand and the right foot.
A) Begin by sitting on the floor with your feet hip distance apart in front of you. Bring your arms behind you with your hands flat on the floor. Raise yourself off the floor.
B) Begin “walking” forward by moving your left hand, followed by your right foot and then your right hand followed by your left foot.
A) Start with your legs slightly wider than shoulder distance apart and arms at the sides.
B) Bring one leg behind at a slight angle into a reverse lunge. The front knee will come to a 90-degree angle.
C) Swing the arms in front of that bent knee and leap the back leg forward to switch sides in a skating motion. Arms alternate as you switch sides like a speed skater. Be sure to land and hold on one leg to balance before leaping back to the other side.
Perform for 1 minute.
Core Body Hops
A) Begin in a plank position with your shoulders over your wrists, feet together, and your body in a straight line.
B) From this position, bend your knees and hop both feet to your left, keeping your feet together.
C) Hop back to center and then to the right.
Perform 10-12 total hops (5-6 per side).