What is Functional Fitness
Functional fitness exercises use your body’s natural everyday movements, whilst either incorporating
unstable environments, weights or resistance, to strengthen and support your body’s natural movements.
The purpose of functional fitness is to train your muscles in everyday tasks to enhance fitness, mobility
and wellness. The exercises get your body moving and are designed to support and enhance your quality
of life to perform everyday tasks safely and efficiently.
Everyone can do functional fitness exercises.
Examples of Functional Exercise
Bending over to pick something up, sitting down or rising up from a chair, standing on your toes reaching
up for something overhead, gardening, vacuuming, walking up or down stairs; these are all tasks we
might perform every day. Functional fitness exercises use these movements and incorporate resistance,
weights or an unstable environment to help strengthen and stabilise your body’s natural movements.
Functional fitness exercises such as squats, sideways and backward lunges, single leg stability exercises
and steps are some examples of movements designed to enhance your body’s stability and strength.
These can then be combined with weights for a higher intensity to burn more calories and develop
We train this way to enhance our ability to perform everyday tasks safely and efficiently, it strengthens
muscles, increases balance and agility therefore reducing the risk of an injury and enhances quality of life.
Functional fitness helps you to perform everyday tasks safely and efficiently. Ideally a functional exercise
works the whole body, both upper and lower. Everyday tasks utilise the whole body and functional
exercises aim to replicate these movements.
Functional fitness exercises increase stability, strength, power, agility and enhance range of motion;
helping to create synergy with your whole body. Whole body exercises is also more efficient, you spend
less time performing them and you see results faster.
Stability and balance exercises may include single leg balances or sideway lunges for example.
Performing squats, push up or lunges on a BOSU ball or using weights and cables can also increase
stability and strength.
Performing explosive movements help to increase power and strength. These will help you to move
quickly in real life, when and if required. These may include power push ups using full range, jumping
lunges, burpees are all examples of explosive movements. When performed correctly with proper form,
will all help to develop speed and power.
Our body is designed for a full range of motion; frontwards, backward, side-to-side, up and down.
Performing exercises with a full range of motion will enhance our everyday lifestyle. For example, when
performing a squat, rather than stopping at 90 degrees, move all the way down into a low squat position.
Like when you were a child and sitting on your haunches. Assuming you have no injuries, only if you are
able and it’s safe to do so. This will increase the range of motion in your hips.
Instead of just front lunges, try performing backward and sideway lunges. Incorporating a rotational
movement into your exercise will enhance your flexibility and increase your range of motion. We do this
daily by turning around to pick something up or stretching to reach for something. By adding this to your
exercise will help keep your spine healthy, increase core fitness and enhance your function in everyday life.
Whilst your range of function, your core fitness, strength and mobility may at first be limited, it will quickly
increase and you will see improvements in your strength, power, agility and everyday performance.