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Start Doing Functional Fitness: What You Need to Know (Part II)

Whether you’ve decided to participate in a local gym or make use of the extensive on-line Community, functional fitness provides powerful workouts to take your training to the next level. The style of workout is designed to push you to your limits, while remaining scalable for all levels of fitness. Assuming you’ve done your preparation through a Fundamentals/On-Ramp program at a local functional training facility or are making use of a knowledgeable trainer and the on-line community and resources, you can begin supplementing your home workouts with daily exercises. Most gyms will recommend scheduling your training week with three day/two day training schedule, meaning you will train for three days, take a day for active recovery, follow that by training for another two days, then schedule active recovery for your final day.

Once you’re ready to begin training, your rowing machine, elliptical machine, and treadmill are valuable components of your daily exercise. Many daily exercises include a cardio aspect for time or calories (such as a 400 meter row or 25 calorie aerodyne bike), the console of your home fitness equipment can help you in keeping track of this aspect of your workout or developing a good substitution. You can also choose any cardio equipment to start with a warm-up of 5-8 minutes. Follow this work with some basic strength training and mobility work that includes movements and ranges of motion that are similar to your workout. If you are using your home workout for active recovery, concentrate on your mobility issues or any areas of soreness from your previous workouts.

If you’re ready to begin your functional training but need time and coaching to work into more complicated lifts, the benchmark daily exercises can be a great way to start building endurance and improving your form. Many of the daily exercises are simple and scalable movements such as air squats (bodyweight only squat), sit-ups, push-ups, and pull-ups (for which you can substitute dumbbell presses or resistance band pull-downs). One daily exercise consists of 5 pull-ups (or your substitute), 10 push-ups, and 15 air squats, performed AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) in 20 minutes. Another classic daily exercise that can be easily modified for a simple home workout. The full exercise is five rounds for time of a 400 meter run followed by 15 overhead squats at 95 pounds. For a scalable version, walk or run the 400 meters on your treadmill (you can also substitute 400 meters on your rowing machine) and complete your overhead squats without weight, preferably facing a wall to help you to keep your torso upright.

There are tough workouts that are designed to build endurance and push you to your limit. They are named for heroes in the armed forces or other branches of service who have died in the line of duty. Many of the daily simple workouts that are all-out efforts to complete as many reps as possible (AMRAP) or as quickly as possible, allowing you to maximize your training time and effort. Check out the workouts below for a few suggestions for home workouts.

These home workouts will push your endurance using little more equipment than a treadmill or rowing machine. If you don’t have a pull-up bar, substitute an overhead plate/dumbell press or banded pull down. Squats may also be performed without weight. If you need a bigger challenge, some exercises can also be performed wearing weighted vest or body armor. For the best results, train with a friend or partner to push each other through the toughest moments of these workouts. Remember weights and movements can be scaled to your skill and strength.

Home Workouts

Exercise #1
For time
1 mile run
100 push ups
200 bent over rows
300 jumping jacks
1 mile run
*add 20 pound weighted vest or body armor

Exercise #2
For time
Sprint 1/2 mile
Row 2000 meters (2K)
Sprint 1/2 mile

Exercise #3
For time
25 strict pull-ups
25 strict dips
100 push ups – release hands at the bottom
Run 5K
*add a 20 pound weighted vest or body armor

Exercise #4
3 rounds for time
Run 400 meters
40 burpees
50 push-ups

About the writer: Joli Guenther is a certified personal trainer, yoga instructor and clinical social worker practicing in and around Madison, Wisconsin. Learn more about Joli. 

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