Being a bodybuilder is awesome until you have to scratch your back or tie your shoes, then it becomes a little less awesome. Neither are the constant muscle tears, vertebras fusing together and the constant threat of 400lbs crashing down on your neck.
So, for variety’s sake, let’s look at some exercises that won’t just make you super strong, but make that will also make you functionally strong
9 Functional Strength Exercises
Let’s start this off with the definition of “functional strength”, which according to Google is the following: “…the strength that gets us through life and daily survival. Lifting a heavy load overhead is a fantastic measure for Hercules or the competitive weightlifter but the history of manual labor has consisted of something very different.”
Chin-up and its exercise sibling, the pull-up, is one of the basics when it comes to functional strength. it builds upper body strength and works the entire upper body.
If you are stuck in a typical action movie situation where you are hanging from a ledge of a fairly tall building, you’ll need some pulling strength in order to survive, which this builds.
2. Kettlebell Swings
Doing anything with kettlebells is great for everyday strength because it doesn’t have a conventionally proportioned weight like a dumbbell or a barbell, making every exercise you do with it very awkward.
With swings, you build your shoulders, lower back, hamstrings, grip strength and more importantly, your conditioning.
What’s even better, it isn’t all that time consuming. Doing 2 sets of 20 reps takes you 10 minutes to perform and will give you a great quick workout.
3. Turkish Getup
Turkish getups require you to take a kettlebell and raise it to a standing, overhead position from a lying position with nothing but your body’s own strength.
It doesn’t look all that difficult, but it requires balance, concentration, precise technique and above all — strength. If you think this isn’t impressive, try doing it with a light weight and you will quickly see it’s a lot harder than it might look at first.
Continued on the next page…
4. Clean and Jerk
Time for some conventional exercises. Just because they are conventional doesn’t mean it can’t be on this list. The clean and jerk is an Olympic-style exercise that requires your entire body to be strong.
With the clean and jerk you are doing four exercises: deadlifts, cleans, front squats and push presses. That’s a lot of movement and requires strength — a lot of it.
Mastering this Olly lift, you will have no problem putting things on high shelves or doing anything that requires physical strength. A cool side effect of this exercise is that since it requires lots of energy, it burns lots of fat.
5. Battle Rope swings
Battle ropes are very underrated when it comes to functional workouts. A common misconception is that it only works your arms and that it’s very boring. Battle rope requires your entire body to work in sync and it very quickly starts draining your energy. So, to do it for time or for reps will require lung power—and lots of it—combined with some overall body strength.
Drop down, palms on the floor and start pushing the earth down. Push-ups are as functional as function gets. It’s just you and your body and the gains that follow. When regular push-ups become boring, there’s lots and lots of variations that will keep you entertained for quite some time.
Continued on the next page…
Love it or hate it, you can’t deny its effectiveness. Squats build lower body and core strength. You can do them with a barbell loaded with heavy ass weight on your back or do them with your own bodyweight.
8. Power Sled
Sled work is another energy draining and strength building exercise that’s very underrated. To be perfectly honest here, it requires some serious empty space to properly work and that’s hard to come by in a standard gym. However, if you find it in your gym, unload on that sucker. It’s basically a demon version of the mountain climber exercise.
You can load the sled with as much weight as you want and either push it forwards or put a harness on yourself and pull it backward. Either way, it will require shoulder strength, stamina, explosiveness and leg power.
How is that functional? Ever had to push your car when it stopped working or had to run towards the bus when it’s just pulling into your stop? There. Two everyday situations that require stamina, speed, and whole body strength.
9. Box Jumps
Explosiveness, lots and lots of explosiveness. That’s what this is, and the higher the box the bigger the jump will be and so will your overall fitness. Mastering a high box jump means you have athleticism and that you are a badass. It will also burn a whole lot of calories and build your physique.