A woman performs a barbell squat. Photo by Sven Mieke on Unsplash.

If you’re a health buff, functional fitness is one of the best things you can do to enhance your performance, endurance, and overall well being. Functional fitness is founded on the idea of practicing exercises that mimic everyday motions and actions, such as squatting, rowing, pressing, and pulling. 

By strengthening the muscle groups responsible for these movements, a wide variety of tasks become easier to execute. This means that everyday activities will put less strain on the body, prevent injuries, and be easier to perform.

In this article, we’ll briefly review the three fundamental functional fitness exercises — try saying that three times fast! — you need to incorporate into your training regimen in order to reap instant benefits and long-term gains.

The Squat

The squat is one of the most effective exercises you can do for your overall health, regardless of whether your goals center on strength training, weight loss, mobility, or even cardiovascular endurance. 

Because there are so many ways to execute this simple movement, it can be modified in order to meet a wide range of goals, fitness levels, and physical barriers. 

For instance, if you suffer from lower back pain, a trap-bar squat can take some of the load off that part of your body, helping you build strength without sacrificing form or causing injury. Same goes for hip mobility and Bulgarian split squats.

There are at least nine major variations on the squat, so regardless of your experience with the exercise, you’re sure to find a style that can work with your body and your objectives.

The Deadlift

Deadlifts are a fantastic way to build strength all along your posterior chain, which is the collection of muscles that run along the back of your body. 

From your Achilles tendon to your glutes to your trapezium, the deadlift is arguably the best functional fitness exercise for training some of the largest and most important muscle groups in your body. In fact, it even strengthens your core and forearms!

Deadlifts can easily be performed incorrectly, though, so it’s important to learn and reinforce proper form before adding weight to barbells or machines. Failure to do so will result in severe strain on your shoulders, back, and even knees, so avoid an unnecessary injury by taking the time to do your research.

The Push-up 

Last but not least, the push-up. This is the only exercise on the list that directly works your pectoral (chest) muscles, but trust us — it’s one of the only ones you’ll need. In addition to strengthening your pecs, push-ups will also build  your shoulders and triceps, making any and all pushing movements feel like a breeze. 

Bonus: If you’re an athlete, push-ups are extremely effective for improving your upper body driving force and taking on opponents.

Regardless of how you choose to get involved in functional fitness, taking the first step is the most important part to getting started on a life-changing journey.

At F45 Seattle, we specialize in functional fitness and HIIT training classes designed to boost metabolism, raise energy levels, and elevate mood. Find out more by visiting our site or by contacting one of our three convenient metro Seattle locations.