“Functional Fitness” is a big buzz phrase right now but do you really know what it means? Personal trainer Irene McCormick says it’s any exercise that mimics real life and helps you do what you want to do – whatever that might be.
“Some of the most important functional exercises are ones that we’ve been warned for years… don’t do that!” Irene explains. “For instance – don’t pick that up with your back, use your legs. I’ve never picked up anything without using my back, ever in my life!” Irene also says not letting your knees goes past your toes is common warning that doesn’t make sense in real life. “Functionally speaking, that’s impossible…I mean, I get cat litter at Costco and I’ve gotta bend down and get a huge fifty pound bag – my knees pass my toes!”
The key is to make sure the movement is pain-free, although that doesn’t mean easy. Every exercise on Irene’s Top Ten list uses multiple muscles and joints – making you stronger – and your life easier.
“Focusing on endurance, strength, range of motion, agility, coordination and balance…those are all functional training.”
Irene’s top ten functional exercises (contact her if you have questions):
1) Climbing stairs while doing biceps curls
2) Dead lift
3) Squat with an overhead lift
4) Diagonal reach and squat
5) Bent over reverse fly
6) Lunge with a row
7) Push up with leg lift
8) Lateral raise with a knee lift
9) Face up bridge with arm extension
10) Plank to downward dog