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Strength training (9)
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Functional fitness training: Is it right for you?
What are examples of functional fitness exercises?
Functional fitness exercises use multiple joints and muscles at once to train your whole body. Examples include:
- Multidirectional lunges
- Squat to bicep curl
- Step-ups with weights
Multidirectional lunges prepare your body for common activities, such as vacuuming and yardwork. To do a lunge, you keep one leg in place and step out with the other leg — to the front, back or side — until your knee reaches a 90-degree angle and your rear knee is parallel to the floor.
The squat to bicep curl uses weights and mimics the action of lifting a laundry basket, laptop bag or young child from the floor. To do a squat to biceps curl, you start with your feet about shoulder-width apart, spine straight and your core stable. Holding the dumbbells at your side, slowly bend through the hips, knees and ankles until your knees reach a 90-degree angle. As you slowly return to the starting position, turn your palms toward the ceiling, flex your arms and curl the dumbbells in toward your shoulders.
Are functional fitness exercises for everyone?
If you're over age 40, haven't exercised for some time or have health problems, it's a good idea to check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program. Similarly, women who are pregnant should check with their doctors.
It's also a good idea to start with exercises that use only your own body weight for resistance. As you become more fit and are ready for more of a challenge, you can add more resistance in the form of weights, resistance tubing or performing movements in the water.
The functional fitness payoff
As you add more functional exercises to your workout, you should see improvements in your ability to perform your everyday activities and, thus, in your quality of life. That's quite a return on your exercise investment.Previous page
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- Collins P. Functional Fitness. Aachen, Germany: Meyer and Meyer Sport; 2009:11.
- Laskowski ER (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Aug. 16, 2010.