Being able to easily do everyday things like getting up from the floor or walking up and down the stairs is important when it comes to feeling happy and healthy.
The best type of exercise to assure that you’ll be able to do these everyday movements with ease is functional training.
Functional training works to mirror daily movements by moving your body in every plane of motion and by working multiple body parts at once. These easy functional exercises will increase your flexibility, improve your posture, and reduce your chance of injury. The best part is that you can do all of these functional exercises from the comfort of your home – no gym, heavy weights, or treadmill required.
For best results, do 2 sets of each of the functional exercises below.
Wide Push-Ups | 15 reps
This functional exercise strengthens and tones the chest, shoulders, arms, and core!
- Begin in a high plank position with your shoulders stacked over your wrists. Then, walk your hands out a little bit wider than your shoulders. Firm up your quadriceps and engage your abs. Press the ground away so that the space between your shoulders rises up slightly.
- Inhale to bend your elbows to 90 degree angles, lowering your chest half way towards the ground. Your elbows should point out at 45 degree angles and your hips should stay in line with your shoulders.
- Exhale and press the ground away to straighten your arms back out. Repeat for 15 reps.
To Modify: If you feel your lower back arching or if it is too challenging to push back up, lower to your knees. Make sure to squeeze your glutes and keep your hips in line with your shoulders.
Spider Plank | 20 reps, alt sides
This exercise increases coordination and tones the shoulders, arms, abs, and lower back. Bonus: It gets the heart rate going!
- To start, find a high plank position. Stack your shoulders over your wrists, engage your abs, and squeeze your glutes. Bring your feet together.
- Shift the weight onto your left foot and slowly pick up your right foot. Exhale and tap your right knee to your right triceps while keeping the high plank position with your upper body.
- Inhale to take the right foot back to start. Pick up your left foot and exhale to tap your left knee to your left triceps. Inhale to take your left foot back to start. Continue alternating for 20 reps.
Single Leg Deadlift | 15 reps per side
This exercise increases balance, coordination, and flexibility while toning the hamstrings, glutes, and core.
- Start standing up with your feet together. Engage your abs and squeeze your shoulder blades together.
- Shift your weight onto your left foot and point your right foot on the floor behind you. Reach your right hand slightly forward and place your left hand on your hip. Keep a small bend in your left knee to keep it from locking out.
- Maintain a lift in your chest as you inhale to slowly lift your right foot up and lower your torso towards the ground at the same time. Keep your back flat and reach your right hand towards your left knee. Exhale to slowly stand back up to start. Repeat for 15 reps and then switch sides.
Walk Ups | 8 reps per side
This dynamic exercise replicates getting up and down off the floor. It will help strengthen and tone your quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, and core.
- To begin, kneel down on a mat. Place your hands on your hips, engage your core, and squeeze your shoulders down your back.
- Shift your weight onto your left leg and pick up your right leg. Keep your right knee bent and place your right foot out in front of you so that the knee is at a 90 degree angle. Then, press into your right foot to pick up your left leg. Keep the left knee bent to place your left foot down. You should end up in a squat, then straighten your legs and stand all the way up.
- To take it back down, shift your weight onto the left leg again, bend your left knee and carefully lower your right knee back down to the mat. Shift the weight onto your right knee and slowly place the left knee down so that you are back in the start position. Repeat that for 8 reps, going up and down with the right leg first. Then switch sides for 8 reps, going up and down with the left leg first.
Plank Press-Up | 8 reps each side
This exercise works the shoulders, triceps, biceps, core, and even the thighs. It also gives you a big cardio boost.
- Start in a high plank position. Bring your feet together and squeeze your glutes, quadriceps, and abs. Your hips should be in a straight line with your shoulders.
- Shift your weight onto your left hand. Inhale and pick up your right hand, bend the elbow and slowly lower down onto the right forearm. Shift your weight onto your right forearm, pick up your left hand, bend the elbow and place your left forearm down. Now you should be in a forearm plank position. Make sure your hips are still in line with your shoulders.
- Next, shift the weight onto your left forearm and pick you right forearm up. Place your right hand on the mat below your right shoulder. Exhale and press into your right hand, pick up your left forearm and place your left hand on the mat. Now you should be in a high plank position. Repeat for 8 reps using your right arm first and then switch sides for 8 reps using your left arm first.
To Modify: Lower to your knees for the whole exercise, making sure to squeeze the glutes and keep the hips in a straight line with your shoulders the whole time.
Superman | 15 reps
This exercise tones and strengthens the entire backside.
- To begin, lie on the floor face down. Place your forehead on your mat and spread your arms out wide with your palms face down. Your hands should be slightly in front of your shoulders.
- Inhale to lift your chest, arms, legs, and feet off the ground. Keep your gaze down on your mat so that your neck is long. Reach through your fingertips and toes, and feel your spine, glutes, and thighs strengthening.
- Hold for a moment at the top and then exhale to release back down. Repeat for 15 reps.
Lunge with Rotation | 10 reps per side
This exercise increases balance and coordination while toning the glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, and the obliques.
- Start standing with your feet together and place your hands together in a prayer position in front of your chest.
- Step out into a lunge with your right foot. Bend both knees towards 90 degrees so that your left knee hovers above the ground about an inch.
- Staying in your lunge, exhale to twist your torso to the right. Inhale to twist back to center, then push through your right heel and step your right foot back to meet your left. Repeat 10 times and then switch sides.
Side Plank with Twists | 12 reps per side
This exercise increases strength in the shoulders, arms, obliques, and core.
- Start in a high plank position with your shoulders stacked over your wrists. Bring your feet together.
- Pick up your right hand and place it underneath your face. Spread the fingers wide and press down through the palm and knuckles. Keep your feet flexed as you spin your heels to the right. Stack your left foot on top of your right food. Then, inhale to reach your left arm up towards the ceiling. Lift up through your left hip and keep it from dumping weight into your right shoulder and wrist.
- Keep the side plank position and exhale to sweep your left hand underneath your torso, bringing your upper body into a twist. Inhale to reach your hand back up. Repeat for 12 reps, then switch sides.
(Your Next Workout: 10 Bodyweight Exercises You’re Doing Wrong (& How to Correct Them))