Functional Fitness: 3 Exercises that Strengthen Your Movement
Functional fitness is a trendy phrase these days as more and more people want to set their bodies free to enjoy day-to-day activities, both mundane and extracurricular. But what does it mean to be functional? For some, it means having the strength to lift heavy things without collapsing to the ground. For others, it’s being able to slice and dice through a field of defenders. For you, it may be something completely different, but to all functional fitness plays a part in a more enjoyable existence.
If you want to improve your functional capabilities here are three exercises that set you free for just about every recreational activity or sport.
Try these unique and effective exercise progressions straight from our online courses and see how your functional abilities stack up.
Exercise #1: Hanging Leg Raise
Hanging leg raises are an effective strength and mobility combo that really works your core while testing the active flexibility in your hamstrings and lower back. They are also an excellent way to assess how functional your core is.
There are two main types of hanging leg raises. The easier of the two will require you to lift straight legs parallel to the ground in an L-position. But the bigger benefits happen when your continue raising your straightened legs all the way up to the bar overhead without using momentum.
Stay centered with these killer core exercises from the GB Foundation Series!
Scaling tip: If you lack the flexibility to keep your knees straight and toes pointed, try the bent knee variation. From your hanging position, bend your knees upward until your legs form a ninety-degree angle. Keep working your hamstring flexibility till you can do it with straight legs.
See how many you can do of each, and go slow if you find yourself using momentum.
Exercise #2: Bent Arm Chin Hang
An old classic. The bent arm chin hang, as the name implies, requires you to hang with your chin over a bar. Sounds easy enough, right?
Begin this hang by grabbing onto a bar or set of gymnastic rings, palms facing you. Jump or pull up until your chin is as high above the bar as you can get it. Now hold on tight and make sure to keep your body straight, core engaged tightly. Expect to feel your back and biceps burn as you fight to hold your chin above the bar.
A good standard for strength in this position is being able to hold it for 30 seconds. See how long you can hold and let us know in the comments!
Exercise #3: Static Single Leg Squat
Most able-bodied folks can do a squat on two feet. But can you hold the bottom position of a squat, while balancing on a single leg?
This lower body exercise is a lot more challenging than it might look. Even if you can do a full ROM squat on two feet with ease, you may find it challenging to hold the static single leg squat for 30 seconds.
Squat down till your thighs are resting on the back of your calves. Extend one leg straight out in front and hold. Then switch legs.
Did you find any of these movements challenging? If so, then be sure to check out the GymnasticBodies Foundation Series for a myriad of functional full body exercises, guaranteed to add some excitement to your workout, while giving you the capabilities to engage in MORE of the hobbies and everyday activities you love.