11 Functional Strength Exercises Trainers Love

Moves to make literally everything easier.

Fitness pros recommend doing functional strength exercises in your workout routine for better everyd...
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Functional training exercises are beneficial because they use multiple muscles at once to strengthen your body and improve your overall stability. The end result? Trainer Corey Lewis says they help make everyday activities easier. Here are 11 to add to your workout routine.

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Farmer’s Walk

Lewis says this move translates to you being able to carry heavy grocery bags.

- Hold a medium weight in each hand.

- Draw shoulders back.

- Engage your core and keep your head lifted.

- Walk forward 20 steps while holding weights at your sides.

- Repeat 3 times.

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Walking Lunges

This lunge variation hits your glutes and calves, says Lewis.

- Step forward with one foot.

- Bend both knees to 90-degrees as you lower into a lunge.

- Use front leg to push up, stand, and step forward with your other leg.

- Do 3 sets, 12 reps.

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Speed Skaters

This explosive move improves your overall power, says trainer Erin Mahoney.

- From standing, shift weight to left leg.

- Jump to stand on right leg as left arm reaches forward and down toward right leg.

- Jump quickly back and forth between each leg for 20 seconds.

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Trainer Laura Gravelle recommends burpees to work your shoulders, chest, arms, core, and legs.

- Get into high plank.

- Do a push-up.

- Hop both feet forward into a high-powered vertical jump.

- Land and hop feet back into plank. Repeat two sets of 25.

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Rotating Push-Ups

Gravelle says these engage shoulders, chest, core, abs, and glutes.

- Start in a plank, hands on dumbbells.

- Rotate to side plank, raise dumbbell into air.

- Return to plank. Do push-up. Rotate to other side. Raise that hand holding dumbbell.

- Do 3 sets of 25.


Alternating Curtsies

These will strengthen your lower body, says Gravelle.

- Stand with feet apart.

- Step right leg back. Cross it behind your left leg.

- Bend knees, lower hips with left thigh parallel to floor. Keep torso up.

- Return to stand. Alternate legs for 2 sets of 25.

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Kettlebell Swings

Trainer Sergio Pedemonte says swinging exercises can boost your strength in everyday movements.

- Begin with feet apart, bell in both hands.

- Push hips back as bell lowers.

- Extend hips, use momentum to swing bell to shoulder height.

- Swing for 10 reps.

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Toe Touches

Standing ab work like this move improves balance and core stability, says trainer Ashley Kelly.

- Stand with hands extended at eye level.

- Raise one leg up.

- Try to touch toes to hands.

- Repeat with other leg.

- Alternate for 20 reps on each side.

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Cross-Body Crunches

Another standing ab exercise to try:

- With hands at ears, rotate torso and take opposite elbow to opposite knee.

- Engage your obliques to maintain balance, says Kelly.

- Do 20 reps on each side.

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Good Mornings

This move strengthens the muscles along your spine, glutes, and hamstrings, says trainer Shari Roberson Belmarez.

- While standing, hinge at your waist.

- Engage core.

- Lean forward until your back is flat.

- Pause. Slowly come back up.

- Do 10 reps.

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Trainer Jody Braverman says a proper squat will work your entire lower body.

- Stand with feet hip-width apart.

- Extend arms in front of you.

- Bend knees and push hips back, like you're sitting a chair. Keep chest up.

- Press into feet to stand.

- Do 3 sets of 12.

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