Moves that will Make Your Life Easier

When you’re in a small group fitness class at Synergy do you ever wonder why the trainer chooses the exercises they do? Sure, they choose them because they are exercises that will stimulate your body and tone your muscles. Yes, they choose them because they are moves that will spur your body to burn excess fat. But, they also put together exercise routines that will help you do things in your everyday life better. It’s called functional fitness.

The ACSM defines functional fitness as “using strength training to improve balance, coordination, force, power, and endurance to enhance someone’s ability to perform activities of daily living.” I think of it as practical fitness. At Synergy we want to help you feel more comfortable in a bathing suit and help you fit into your jeans better. But we also want to make it easier for you to lift your toddler out of his car seat or lug a suitcase through the airport. Functional fitness moves do just that. They strengthen your muscles, improve your endurance and boost your stability so that the activities in your everyday life get easier.

Here are some of our trainers’ favorite functional exercises that will help you feel strong in and outside the gym.

  • Deadlift – Deadlifts are a total body functional exercise that will give you stronger glutes, quads, hamstrings and back muscles and also engage your core. The application of this to real life is pretty obvious.
  • Planks – Think about it – planks are such a simple exercise. All you have to do is hold yourself up on your forearms and toes. You’re not even moving. But doing these with proper form will challenge every muscle group from your shoulders to your feet.
  • Kettlebell Swings – This full body exercise targets your back, core, glutes, hamstrings, quads and shoulders. But to do them correctly you’re working many other secondary muscles. The bonus with these is that their high intensity can get you burning 15 calories a minute!
  • Push Ups – This classic exercise will give you a stronger chest and arms while also working your core for stability.
  • Burpees – Burpees are perhaps the most dreaded exercise of all time. Though it may feel like they suck the life right out of you, they strengthen your entire body. They’re intense, so they burn a ton of calories. And, they give you greater endurance for anything that requires physical effort.
  • Lunges – Lunges are really just exaggerated walking steps. They are super for improving your lower body strength and they also challenge your core by forcing you to stay balanced and stable. If you have a weaker side (and most of us do), lunges will help even that out.
  • Squats – The squat just might be the most important functional exercise of all. Think about your daily routine. How many times do you squat down to pick something up? How many times do you get in and out of a chair? Squatting at the gym helps to ensure you don’t throw your back out when you squat down pick up the phone you dropped.

So, the next time you’re in the gym feeling silly as you do walking lunges across the room or resisting the urge to just let your body drop from a plank, remember these exercises will help you do everything better.

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