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While resistance training isolates and works individual muscle groups through linear (single direction) movements, functional training recruits multiple muscle groups using multi-planar (non-linear) exercises that involve circular or twisting motions - much like how the body actually functions in the real world. Training multiple muscle groups simultaneously makes a body "functionally" strong in that all muscles begin working together more synergistically and therefore more efficiently. As a result, normal movements are much easier, risk of injury is greatly reduced and muscular imbalances are virtually eliminated.

Our muscles and joints were meant to rotate or twist, yet most sudden injuries occur when we are bending or twisting (reaching down to pick up a squirming child, vacuuming, gardening, shovelling the driveway, etc.). Functional exercises help train your body to be stronger when engaging in these types of activities so that they are easier to do without accidentally hurting yourself. Most bending and twisting involves the core muscles of the abdomen and lower back and therefore functional training exercises almost always involve the core muscle group.

Functional training will make you both look and feel younger, because you will move more loosely and gracefully, and feel more energetic overall. You will also look better visually, because your body will be nicely toned and more evenly developed.

Listed below are functional exercises you can do at home to improve your strength, flexibility and muscle tone. I will be adding additional exercises to this section of this site, so check back regularly for the lastest additions.

If you're new to working out, start at the basic level and progress from there at a realistic pace to avoid injury. It takes time to build a strong and healthy body, so don't start with unreasonable expectations that within a few weeks you'll be smoking hot. Understanding and accepting this will prevent you from becoming discouraged and allow you to actually enjoy your transformation process.

Functional Training Exercises
(Click on each exercise to reveal/hide details.)


Always exercise in a safe and responsible manner. Please be aware that as with most physical activities, there is always a risk of injury associated with weight training and other exercise programs. While I have made every effort to describe how to perform the exercises outlined on this site in a safe manner, note that every body is different and so not all exercises can or should be peformed by all people. Therefore, if you feel pain or discomfort when attempting any of the exercises described on this site, please stop immediately.

It is always important to consult your physician before starting any exercise program, especially if you have been sedentary for an extended period of time. This is particularly true if any of the following apply to your current medical condition:
  • chest pain or pain in the neck and/or arm
  • shortness of breath
  • a diagnosed heart condition
  • joint and/or bone problems
  • currently taking cardiac and/or blood pressure medications
  • have not previously been physically active
  • dizziness
In addition, if you have any chronic medical conditions (such as diabetes or arthritis) or risk factors (such as smoking or being more than 20 pounds overweight), and have not discussed exercising with your doctor, you should do so before beginning. Exercise is often an important part of the treatment for such conditions, but you may have some limitations or special needs that your doctor can tell you about.

If none of these apply to you, start gradually and sensibly. However, if you feel any of the physical symptoms listed above when you start your exercise program, contact your physician right away.


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