Training

What Is Functional Fitness? What Is The Best Functional Workout?

What Is Functional Fitness? What Is The Best Functional Workout?

A lot of us have probably gotten away from training like we used to for high school or collegiate sports. That type of training translated into making us bigger, stronger, more agile and faster for the type of sport we were competing in. This workout will give you a sample of how to incorporate this type of training either all throughout the week or to throw in a couple days a week to keep your body moving correctly and to keep you not just aesthetic but athletic as well.


Exercise #1: Tire Flips

The first of this 4-exercise circuit is the ever favorite tire flip. If you want to improve your sprinting or just overall explosiveness, this exercise will tie-in your posterior chain and also help with hip and glute activation- something we’re all lacking. Keep your form tight with these and pull through your legs while keeping your back flexed. This will imitate a deadlift movement (helps with these as well) and then once at the top will be basically an incline press/shoulder press. This move is all-encompassing and when performed correctly can help build tremendous strength.

what is functional fitness

  • Start with tire laying flat on the ground and use fingertips to get underneath the groves to provide a steady grip
  • Squat down and lift up and forward by using the hips and legs to move the weight
  • Once the weight is now up against your chest, press with the chest/shoulders and push the tire over

Sets and Reps: 4 x 8 flips


Exercise #2: Farmer Carries

The second of this workout circuit is the farmer carry. We all want strong legs that can help us run faster or jump higher, as well as being able to just flat out carry a lot of weight. While a little unconventional in a typical gym, don’t let this be the reason you turn your head to some serious gains. Performed either with a set of dumbbells in each hand or a couple of barbells, the weight will be hard enough on your legs and traps and will also wreak havoc on your grip strength. Don’t be one that reaches for a set of straps to make it easier- build your forearms at the same time without using those!

what is functional fitness

  • Set up is easiest using a really heavy set of dumbbells by squatting down with good form and bringing them up to a standing position
  • Begin walking by keeping constant tension on your traps and not allowing the weight to just hang (bad for the shoulders)
  • Be intentional with your steps by emphasizing heel-to-toe to ensure you avoid injury

Sets and Reps: 4 x 50 yards


Exercise #3: Clean and Press

The almighty clean and press is not just for bodybuilders and Olympic lifters – it’s for athletes as well. Since this movement helps with posterior chain function and explosiveness, as well as power and shoulder strength, it’s an amazing lift that should not be taken lightly in the scope of the workout. Keep your ego checked at the door since this a circuit workout and not a max lift workout- keeping the reps higher will help with the overall functionality of your body.

what is functional fitness

  • Set up a barbell with about 50% of your 1 rep max for the clean and press
  • Clean the weight up to the top of your chest by jumping and shrugging underneath the bar
  • Press the weight up and back by jumping again underneath the weight and dropping the hips
  • Drop the weight out in front of you onto the ground and repeat as quickly as possible

Sets and Reps: 4 x 15-20


Exercise #4: Sled Pushes

Want to get bigger, stronger, more powerful legs that will translate into a faster 40 time and a higher vertical? Sled pushes will have you feeling physically spent but translates great into power and explosiveness for each and every sport imaginable. Mixed with getting your delts torched at the same time, it’s a great full body fat burner.

what is functional fitness

  • Start with feet behind you and arms extended out in front of you on the sled
  • Begin driving with your legs and use short, choppy steps to get the weight moving
  • Once moving, extend your strides to a more powerful push

Sets and reps: 4 x 25 yards


Take-Home  Message

Whether you’re just strictly body focused or training for a sport, functional training will serve you greatly if performed on a weekly basis. This can help translate into other compound lifts like shoulder presses, deadlifts, squats and bench presses if performed correctly and explosively!



Tyler Stark

Tyler Stark

Writer and expert


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