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Getting into shape and building a dynamic and enduring body, can be a herculean task especially when you are bombarded with a plethora of options. Functional fitness workouts will be best suited for you, if you are looking forward to having a well-toned and agile body. Functional body workouts help exercising on five levels, each workout enhancing the base, stability and dynamics. If you hate going to the gym and confronting people, these integrated exercises will help you get into shape, all in the comforts of your home or garden. Functional fitness workouts are specially beneficial for those of you, who are recuperating from strokes or injuries. These exercises help build stability and endurance; besides, it helps in developing a flexible body post an injury, thus aiding your healing process.

Functional and Strength Training Workouts

1. Pre-workout Stretches
2. Strength Training
3. Weight Training
4. Squats
5. Balance Enhancing
6. Abdomen Crunches
7. Hyperextension
8. Press-ups
9. Post Workout Stretches

*Click on each image for a better view. Another click on the enlarged image will revert you to the article.

Pre-Workout Stretches
Shoulder Roll
Shoulder Roll
Flexing side bend
Side Flex Bend
Touch Toe Forward Bend
Forward Bend
Leg Stretching
Leg Stretch
Standing Side Stretch
Side Stretch
Sitting Forward Bend
Forward Bend


Before you begin your workout, it is essential that you do a minimum of 15 minutes of warm up, that is 15-30 counts of the following exercises to avoid muscle pull and strains. These sets form the base of training and conditioning of your body.

Shoulder Roll: Start with your arms stretched out at your side, and roll your shoulders clockwise followed by an anticlockwise pattern. You could even start with rolling your fists in both directions and follow it by the shoulder roll.
Side Flex Bend: Raise your hands heavenwards, then bend and touch your toes with the opposite palm; do not bend your knees while doing the stretch. Remember to look straight ahead and not in the direction of your hand.
Forward Bend: Raise your hand up, then bend and touch the ground, stretch your back in front, while stretching your hands with a side sweep. You can also try the side hip sweep with this set, follow the same steps for the side hip bend.
Leg Stretch: Lift your leg to either a raised platform or a windowsill, bend and stretch the knees of alternate leg with this leg stretch. You can also do this exercise by stepping forward and bending. Hold position for a few minutes to strengthen your knees.
Side Stretch: Raise your hands above your head, with figures pointing straight up, or fold hands above the head and bend sideways. You can even try the side arm swing, with swift side pushes. It works best to enhance your side profile.
Forward Bend (Sitting): It is very similar to the standing forward bend, except that you perform this when sitting down. Bend forward and touch your toes, if possible hold position for a couple of minutes to stretch the bones, and muscles of your back, while crunching your abs.
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Strength Training Workout
Forward Kick Workout
Forward Kick
Leg Bend Workout
Leg Bend
Lower Body Raise Workout
Lower Body Raise
Side Bend on Stability Ball
Side Bend
Leg Lift Front
Leg Lift Front
Leg Lift Side
Leg Lift Side

Once you are done with the warm-up sets, begin with strength training or more specifically opt for step aerobic exercises as they will help you burn out all your excess fat, almost instantly. This helps in strengthening the body dynamics that include coordination and balance. Try aerobics with these variations.

Forward Kick: Raise your arms forward, almost shoulder level and keep steady. Kick forward and touch your feet to the opposite palm. This exercise will help you strengthen your knees as well as burn off your tummy fat.
Leg Bend: Hunch down on your hands and knees, stretch your foot behind while bending forward. You can even try alternate side bend, for an intensive workout. You can try it with the stepper as well for a standing, leg bend workout.
Lower Body Raise: Lie flat on the floor, rest your arms by your side, lift your lower body up balancing your weight on your shoulders, arms and neck. Hold position for a few minutes before returning to flat position.
Side Bend on Exercise Ball: Place an exercise ball in front of a mirror, lock your feet at the edge of the mirror and bend sideward while sitting atop the exercise ball. It stretches and flexes the thigh, calf and abdomen muscles. Make sure you bend and touch your feet.
Leg Lift with Exercise Ball: You need to lie flat on your back and grip the exercising ball in between your legs, raise your feet at an angle and try lifting your upper body off the ground. If you are an amateur, you can skip the latter half of the exercise and raise only your feet.
Side Leg Lift: Lie on your side and grip the ground with your opposite palm, raise your head on the hand which lies beneath you. For additional support, use the exercise ball between your feet, raise your leg up and hold. Repeat the exercise on both sides.
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Weight Training Workout
Side Dip with Stability Ball
Side Dip
Dumbbells Raised to Side
Skating Bend
Knee Bend Workout
Knee Bend
Shoulder Dip
Shoulder Dip
Chest Stretch Workout
Chest Stretch
Shoulder Raise
Shoulder Raise

For those of you looking out for complete core strengthening, opt for weight training. A disclaimer though - for those of you who wish to have a lean body, alternate between aerobics and weight training as only weights will develop muscles.

Side Dip with Exercise Ball: Raise the exercise ball above your head, side dip, holding the ball firmly. You can also try the side sweep with the ball. This helps shed all the extra pounds from your love handles and waist.
Skating Bend: Take hold of dumbbells or a filled water bottle in each hand and bend your knees while keeping your feet together. Pretend as if you are skating on a rink and push your hands forward and backward. You can also try variations like the swimming bend with dumbbells.
Knee Dip with Weights: Step forward holding two dumbbells, bend at the knee with the behind leg touching the ground. Raise alternate hands and stretch your leg and hand muscles with this exercise.
Behind Shoulder Dip: Raise a dumbbell above your head, dip it between your shoulder blades. Make sure you do not bang it into your head, and end up with a sore bump. For better results, while doing the dip, bend your knees as well.
Chest Stretch: For this exercise, you can either use a flat bed or an exercising ball. Start with lying flat on the bed or platform and hold dumbbells in front of you, pull inwards till your arms are at par with your shoulders. Another way of doing it is, by pulling your hand sideways.
Shoulder Stretch: Lift the weight while lying on the flat bed, stretch your arms from your chest to above your head. Stretch your arms as far as you can, it will help stretch your chest muscles as well.
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Squats
Medicine Ball Squat
Squat
Bar Squat
Bar Squat
Thigh Squat Workout
Thigh Squats
Arm Squat Workout
Arm Squat
Squats with Weights
Squats
Shoulder Flex Shoulder
Shoulder Flex

Squat exercises are helpful to increase stability, besides it works wonders toning up your thighs and lower back.

Squat with Exercise Ball: For an ultimate workout, lift the exercise ball or weights, while bending at your knees. While performing this exercise, you must go down vertically keeping your spine straight.
Bar Squat: Use a bar without any additional weight disks for this exercise, hold the bar on your shoulder and bend forwards. Remember to bend waist forward and avoid the neck thrust. It works well to tone up your shoulders and arms.
Thigh Squat: Stretch your arm forward, then bend your knee sideways and pull your arms to your chest. You can either bend your knees forward or sideways for this squat and keep your spine straight. It works wonders to tone your back and strengthen your thighs.
Arm Squat: It is similar to the previous squat, except that you bend your arms along with your knees. It is good for toning your biceps along with your thighs and knees.
Squats with Weights: Keep legs together and stretch your arms above you. Bend and pull your arms towards your shoulders. Your knees should bend forward and not sideways during this set.
Weights and Shoulder Flex: This is a relatively simpler version which can be performed using the shoulder flex machine. Increase or decrease the weights according to your needs. However, do not go overboard with this exercise.
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Exercises for Right Balance/Posture
Back Stretch Workout
Back Stretch
V-up
V-up
Donkey Kick Workout
Donkey Kick
Leg Raise Up
Leg Raise
Towel Swipe
Towel Swipe
Butterfly Poise
Butterfly Poise

All those who have problems with their lower back and shoulders, can now flex those muscles with these exercises. These exercises are a bit tough to master, but once you do, there's no stopping you in achieving that perfect body.

Back Stretch: Kneel on a yoga mat, and bend backwards, till you can hold your feet. Look upwards, breathe and stay in this position for a few minutes before you relax and redo the exercise.
V-up Crunch: The picture says it all. It is a perfect exercise to tuck in your stomach, and give you stability. Ensure that you balance yourself well without touching your feet to the ground.
Donkey Kick: Go on all fours for this exercise, then lift your leg up in a simple kick. You can even try the wagging tail by shaking your leg once you have raised it.
Leg Raise: It is similar to the donkey kick, though this time you have to raise your legs sideways. If you find this too tough, lie on your side and raise your leg upwards as far as they can go, hold and repeat.
Towel Swipe: A relatively easier exercise, this workout flexes your shoulders and your chest muscles. You can try this exercise with weights for that added strength.
Butterfly Crunch: Sit in a position like shown in the picture above. Once you do that, raise and lower your thighs in quick succession. This will tone down flabby thighs, not instantly though!
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Crunches
Bicycle Crunch
Stomach Chops
Crunch on Stability Ball
Neck Crunch
Side Crunch Workout
Side Crunch
Cobra Pose Leg Lift
Static Abdomen
Twisted Crunch
Twisted Crunch
Standing Back Crunch
Back Crunch

Try these abdomen crunches and get a perfectly flat tummy. Some respite though, you can lie flat on your back, even if it is for a few minutes.

Stomach Chops/ Sleep Cycling: Lie flat on your back, and raise your legs up, alternately pull your leg towards your chest. This circular motion of your legs will be akin to cycling.
Forward Neck Crunch: Lie flat on your back, either on the platform or on a yoga mat. Bend at your knees, raise your hands above your head and raise your neck up. Simple, isn't it?
Side Crunch: Lie flat on the floor, cross your legs, now with your hands crossed above your head, rise and touch your right elbow to your left knee. Repeat on the other side.
Static Abdomen Crunch: Lie on your stomach for this exercise, then raise yourself on your hands and knees as in the picture, thrust yourself down till you are parallel with the ground.
Twisted Crunch: Lie on the floor with your legs bent at the knees, stretch your hands as far as you can, then raise yourself to touch your toes. Do it on alternate sides to give the body a complete workout.
Lower Back Crunch: Stand with your feet a little more than shoulder length apart, raise your hands above your head and bend your lower back forward, do not try to lunge waist forward as you might end up with a nasty sprain.
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Hyperextension
Back Glide
Back Glide
Lower Back Stretch
Back Arch
Boat Extension Workout
Boat Extension
Neck Extension
Neck Extension
Kick Up Workout
Kick Up
Recliner Pose Workout
Recliner Pose

These exercises are an extension of the abdomen crunches and aid in developing stability and agility. Balance and coordination are the key words of this exercise.

Stomach Back Glide: Start with lying on your stomach facing the floor, raise yourself above the ground on your palms and toes. With a forward thrust, lunge downwards at an angle, then raise and repeat. This is more of a circular glide, and helps strengthen your back and flattening your abs.
Back Arch: Lie flat on the ground, raise yourself on your arms, slowly raise your lower body till you form an arch.
Boat Extension: Lie stomach facing down, raise your feet above the ground, grip your feet with your hands and hold position for a few minutes. Another variant is the 'superman pose' when you can raise your stretched hands in front.
Shoulder Extension: Start by lying flat on the ground, lift your lower body off the ground, thrust your legs forward till they touch the ground above your head. Hold position for a few minutes before you return to a flat position.
Kick Up: Lie flat on the floor, raise your feet slightly above your head level to form an acute angle, raise your upper body so that your fingers touch your toes, you can even try swinging your hands higher and lower to maintain the posture.
Recliner Pose: Sit up straight for this exercise, lower your upper body to form an obtuse angle. Use your arms to grip the ground, hold position for a couple of minutes, before you pull in your legs to your chest.
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Press-ups
Hand Stand
One Handstand
Downward Facing Dog
Back Press
Chinese Style Hand Stand
Chinese Style
Press Up on Stability Ball
Press-up
Side Press on Left
Side Press
Cobra Pose
Hand Press

Finally, you can try these different press-ups, to strengthen your limbs and back.

One Handstand: If you are an amateur, I would advise you to start with taking the support of a wall. You need to balance your entire body on one arm at a time, you can start with an arm and a foot, while keeping yourself vertical and parallel to the wall as far as possible.
Back Press: This exercise has two steps, step one involves bending your back to face the ceiling and it has to be followed by a swing action wherein you have to face the floor.
Chinese Handstand: For this exercise, sit on your hunches, then raise yourself on your hands. The extreme version of this is, raising your feet as in the back arch pose and balancing on your hands.
Hand Press using Exercise Ball/ Platform: This one works well for women, all you have to do is raise your feet on a platform or exercise ball and push yourself as in the push-ups. It works well to strengthen your arms.
Side Press: Lie on your side, hold on to a rope or ask someone to lend you a helping hand; by gripping the rope/hand with just one hand, push yourself away from the ground with the free arm.
Hand Press: The basic of all press-ups, hand press involves raising yourself on your palms and toes, while facing heavenward. Remember to push with your hands and not raise your body.
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Post Workout Stretches
Side Bend Workout
Side Bend
Forward Bend
Forward Bend
Shoulder Flex Workout
Shoulder Flex
Leg Stretch on Railing
Leg Stretch
Side Stretch
Side Stretch
Forward Bend Standing
Forward Bend

How much ever tired and lax you feel after all the exercise regimes, do not forget to end your workout with these essential stretches.

Side Stretch: Raise your hands above your head, with figures pointing straight up, or fold hands above the head and bend sideways. You can even try the side arm swing, with swift side pushes. It works best to enhance your side profile.
Forward Bend (Sitting): Stretch your feet in front of you, bend forward and touch your toes, if possible hold position for a couple of minutes to stretch the bones, and muscles of your back, while crunching your abs.
Shoulder Flex: Raise your hands heavenwards, then bend and touch your toes with the opposite palm, followed by the other side. Do not bend your knees while doing the stretch.
Raised Leg Stretch: Stretch those beautiful long legs on a high platform or a bar, stretch your hands to touch your toes. Simple ain't it?
Side Bend Stretch: Take one step sideways, bend at your knees and stretch your other leg as far as you can and then turn and bend at the other knee.
Forward Bend: Raise your leg onto a platform or a bar, bend forwards and touch the ground. Repeat with the other leg raised up.

General Disclaimer
  • Before you begin any exercise, consult your physiotherapist; especially if you have had an injury or pain.
  • Take it easy with the exercises, if you have chronic backache.
  • Listen to your body, and the tell-tale signs of pains and strains.
  • Do not by any means, overdo the exercises on any given day.
  • Remember to give adequate rest to your body after a strenuous workout.
  • Consult a physician if you experience pain or discomfort.
I just remembered this song that I used to dance to, when I was a kid; it might be useful if you remember and practice it, just when you feel your body a wee bit sluggish. It goes as, "Point your fingers to your toes, then from your side, rise and touch your nose, and when you swing around, start to sing, and say to the skies, I'll reach you". Besides, if you can simply shake up the child in you and run around, and skip and jump, I guess, nothing beats that as an exercise.