Functional training will maximize results

  • Try adding a twist to your pushups.

    Try adding a twist to your pushups. Courtesy of Push Fitness

  • Instead of using a shoulder press machine, try a dead life to overhead press with a dumbbell.

    Instead of using a shoulder press machine, try a dead life to overhead press with a dumbbell. Courtesy of Push Fitness

  • A walking lunge with rotation uses your entire body.

    A walking lunge with rotation uses your entire body. Courtesy of Push Fitness

Posted9/1/2018 7:30 AM

Is your current exercise routine specific to your needs? Are the exercises helping or hindering you? Are you getting results?

These are all questions worth asking yourself when assessing your workouts.


No matter what your goals might be, training in a functional manner will maximize your results and reward you with a body trained to take on anything life throws at you.

Functional training can be described as working your body as a complete unit, rather than isolating specific muscles.

For example, rather than sitting on a shoulder press machine and pressing a secured bar overhead at a fixed angle, lift a dumbbell off the floor, curl it, and then press it overhead in one fluid motion. The latter exercise will be much more effective at challenging stability, balance, and flexibility.

By taking on a functional mindset, you're training for everyday mobility and teaching your body to move more efficiently.

A great way to start adding functional exercises to your workout routine is to get off your butt -- meaning get on your feet.

If you're sitting on machines or lying on benches for most of your workout, learn how to perform those same movements on your feet or hands or a combination of both.

by signing up you agree to our terms of service

Rather than doing a lying chest press, try any variation of the pushup instead. In place of a seated leg extension on a machine, perform walking lunges or a weighted squat. These movements will force your core to work in an effort to support your body and posture rather than relying on the bench or seat for support.

If your workout is centered around machines, incorporate the following exercises to improve your functional movement patterns.

Dead lift to Overhead Press

Place a dumbbell on the floor between your feet. With feet shoulder-width apart, squat down and grasp the dumbbell. Tighten your core and begin to stand up while curling the dumbbell to shoulder height. As you continue to stand to an upright position, press the dumbbell overhead. Continue for the desired number of reps and repeat with the other arm.

Walking Lunge with Rotation

Take hold of a medicine ball and extend your arms out in front of you. Step forward with your left leg and lunge down until you have a 90-degree bend at both knees. While you're dropping into the lunge, rotate your torso to the left, so your arms rotate outward across your left leg.

As you rise out of the lunge and back to a standing position, rotate the ball back to midline so your arms are straight out in front of you.

Now step forward with the right foot, rotating your torso to the right.


Repeat for desired number of reps while you move forward across the floor.

Pushup to Twist

Assume a pushup position with your chest positioned directly above your hands. Drop down to the bottom of the pushup in a controlled manner as you inhale. Exhale as you push back to the top and as your arms lock out, raise your right hand off the floor and rotate your shoulders while reaching toward the ceiling. Return to your starting point and repeat on the left side.

So add some functionality to your workouts and you'll immediately feel the difference. For more exercise and nutrition tips, visit for links to our blog and social media resources.

• Joshua Steckler is the owner of Push Fitness, a personal training studio located in Schaumburg specializing in weight loss, muscle toning, and nutrition. Contact him at

Article Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.