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5 Moves For Better Functional Fitness

5 Moves For Better Functional Fitness

Who doesn’t wish they were more mobile and functionally fit at times? Whatever happened to the times when we were kids and we could squat down with our rump hitting the ground to pick something up..?!

Studies have shown that over the years of lifting and running that one’s mobility actually decreases and will ultimately lead to poor range of motion and injury. To avoid this, follow these simple exercises to help all areas of your body moving in different planes of motion than you’re used to in the gym.

#1: Cross-legged Squats

functional fitnessThe cross-legged squat is one of those movements that you probably did warming up in PE when a kid and has gotten out of your daily warm-up protocol. Reintroduce it and reap the benefits of opening up the hip flexor and lubricating the knee and ankle joints.

Begin movement taking on normal shoulder width distance stance

  • Pull left leg behind the right and squat down and back, leading with your butt first
  • Lower yourself as low as possible while still under control, then engage quads and glutes to press yourself back up to the top
  • Repeat on other leg

Sets and Reps: 4 x 6-8 on each leg

#2: High Knees/High Skips

You loved these during warm-ups for any type of sporting event or practice but your coach really was on to something by making your perform these. The high knees portion allows you to full engage your hip flexor through way of imitating a sprint. The high skips will also activate and prime your hips and knees but also gets your body used to leaving the ground and landing on only one leg. Throw this in as a warm-up before your next leg session and notice the difference.

functional fitness

  • Find an open spot in your gym whether it be a long hallway or the basketball courts
  • For the high knees, drive one leg up to where knee is above 90 degrees and snap it back down
  • Repeat on the other side
  • For the high skips, leap of one leg by driving the opposite leg up as high as possible
  • Landing on one leg, repeat on the other leg

Sets and Reps:

  • High Knees- 3 x 10-15 yards
  • High Skips- 3 x 20-25 yards

#3: Turkish Get-Ups

To really get a full-body warm-up that puts your body into correct positions, the Turkish Get-Up is the one to do. Although not for the weak of heart, this movement is tougher than the previous two but will definitely be worth the overall range of motion you’ll be able to achieve as well as overall strength when able to add weight to the movement. This movement is more complex than most so here’s a video of the perfect get up.

Sets and Reps: 3 x 6 on each side

#4: Squat Position “Stays”

functional fitness 3We hear all the time about the most athletic position to be in is the neutral stance squat with knees out and toes pointed forward. How many of us actually practice getting this movement down to a science though? By being in a full glute-to-ground squat, this helps open up the hip joint, the knees and the ankles. This is how ancient people used to go to the bathroom and a lot less of them had bad hips, back and knees.

  • Take up a normal shoulder width stance for the squat
  • Squat all the way down and work on forcing the knees out and keeping toes forward
  • Also, try and keep all the weight on the balls of your feet as well as your heels

Sets and Reps: 2 x 3 minute stays- focusing on getting bottom to ground as much as possible.

#5: Somersaults/Forward Rolls

This is probably one you really haven’t done since grade school but helps incredibly with overall coordination and syncing throughout all muscle in your body working together. The somersault may not seem like much but it helps keep you mobile and active, something most of us are lacking.

functional fitness

  • Start with enough room to complete somersault (at least 10-15 feet)
  • In one continuous motion, place hands on ground, tuck your head and throw your body over the top
  • Engage your core throughout the movement so that legs don’t slam on ground at end of movement. Try to do all reps in a row without breaking form.

Sets and Reps: 2 x 5-6

Take-Home Message

These movements are not a cure all type of thing to solve all mobility and functional fitness issues but is a good place to start. Try to start incorporating things like this regularly into your routine and you’ll see a great difference in how you start performing inside and outside the gym.



Writer and expert

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