11 Full Body Functional Training Exercises

Full Body Functional Training Exercises

Full body functional training exercises involve working out all of your body’s major muscles.

Large muscle groups spread throughout your body combine to perform a functional movement. These compound exercises and functional strength training workouts frequently resemble moves you would undertake throughout the day. 

Functional fitness workouts can help you get better at tasks like carrying groceries, reaching for something in a low cabinet, and lifting the laundry basket. 

Your endurance, balance, posture, strength, coordination, and agility will increase after just a few sessions of functional movements.

11 Most Important Full Body Functional Training Exercises

The following list includes the top 11 full-body functional exercises.

“Full body workouts actually have a lot of benefits over split routines for certain people and situations. While split routines are great for triggering maximum growth in specific muscles and especially for bodybuilders, most people aren’t going to benefit all that much from having an entire day dedicated to triceps.” – Adam Sinicki, AKA The Bioneer, author of the Functional Fitness and Beyond

1. Deadlift

Deadlift is a weight-lifting compound exercise that works your lower body and upper body. It is based on the hip hinge movement pattern, or the capacity to bend your hips effectively. In terms of exercise and mobility in general, the hip hinge may be the most crucial movement pattern.

This hip-dominant exercise works the glutes, hamstrings, core, back, and trapezius muscles. Deadlift can be performed with fixed barbells or a bar and plates, but you can also do it with dumbbells.

Deadlift should be performed with feet shoulder-width apart or a little wider. You must maintain straight line in your back during the entire movement to avoid injuries.

Bilateral Deadlift

Bilateral deadlift is also known as a traditional deadlift. This deadlift style is commonly utilized to increase strength and muscle mass. Improving your deadlift as quickly as possible requires a better form.

You may engage more muscles and deadlift larger weights by pulling more effectively.

More muscle and strength are gained as a result. Practicing deadlifts with perfect technique (core tight, feet-shoulder width apart or a little wider, flat back) is the best approach to improving your form.

Unilateral Deadlift

Unilateral deadlift is a variation of a traditional deadlift that involves one leg lifting off the ground and extending out behind you. Balance is enhanced by the more complex movement, which engages even more core muscles and the standing leg. 

This unilateral exercise focuses mainly on the posterior chain muscles, which are essential for power and strength. The primary muscle groups targeted include the hamstrings, lower back, and glutes, just a name a few.

You should perform unilateral deadlift with knees bent (for example, the left leg), while keeping your right hand in front and down for better balance if performing the exercise without weights.

2. Squat

Squat is an excellent exercise for legs that belongs to the squat movement pattern. It activates muscles such as the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes.

Your ability to move heavy objects in day-to-day activities will increase thanks to squats. Squat is one of the best functional exercises for improving mobility, flexibility, and balance.

Bilateral Squat

Bilateral squat is a regular squat that is commonly used in functional training. When performing any activity where you wish to increase your leg strength, this is one of the exercises that you must do.

Single Leg Squat

Single-leg squat is a squat performed on one leg.

When performing a single-leg squat, the hips, quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteal muscles, calves, and other supporting muscles like the abdominal muscles are all constantly utilized.

Your flexibility, balance, coordination, and core strength can all be enhanced by performing this exercise.

3. Push-up Variations

Push-up is an excellent exercise under the horizontal push movement pattern category. 

The triceps, pectoral muscles, and anterior deltoids work out during push-ups.

Pushing against items like doors or shopping carts is typical in daily life. Push-up gives you the strength to make these motions since they improve your functional fitness.

Bodyweight Push-Up

Bodyweight push-up is one of the most effective functional exercises to enhance our upper body strength. Compound bodyweight exercises like push-ups work a variety of upper body muscles. 

Maintaining a neutral spine throughout push-ups might be difficult for most people, so it can be challenging to master. You can perform bodyweight push-ups in the comfort of your own house without any special equipment.

Weighted Push-Up

Weighted push-ups are a great way to strengthen your upper body and develop more muscle. Push-ups with added weight have a higher level of difficulty.

By wearing a weighted vest or resting a weight plate on your lower back, you can add weight to the standard bodyweight workout to assist in developing your shoulders, chest, and core.

Incline Push-Up

Incline push-up is a form of putting your hands on a raised surface.

All you need to get started is an elevated surface like a bench, box, or countertop. They are ideal for amateurs and relatively simple to learn. An inclined one targets more of the chest than a standard push-up.

4. Rowing Variations

Rowing exercises help build the primary back muscles, which can affect how your upper body looks and help you move better in everyday life and during sports.

You will be pushing the weight in the direction of your body when performing a row because it is a horizontal pull workout.

Bilateral Rows

Bent-over two-arm dumbbell row is one of the best exercise variations for a bilateral row. It is a variant of the “row,” a popular move that is possibly the greatest overall for developing the back.

Along with the back muscles, the row also works the biceps, core, lower chest muscles, and forearm.

Unilateral Rows

Unilateral rows include deadstop. In addition to reducing side asymmetries, deadstop row provides significant anti-rotary core benefits.

You go through a wider range of motion and can go heavier than other unilateral variations, thanks to the pause on the floor to rest your grasp.

5. Overhead Press Variations

Overhead press is a strength-training movement that places the weight beneath a barbell, dumbbell, or kettlebell with your palms facing front or away.

Your collarbone is then used to press the weight aloft and lock it out. There are several different exercise choices available for the shoulders. 

Bilateral Overhead Press

Dumbbell overhead press is one variation of the bilateral overhead press. Dumbbell overhead presses are a type of vertical push movement.

It causes the medial deltoid, anterior deltoid, triceps, and rotator cuff muscles to contract. By performing this move, you can determine if you have an imbalance in shoulder strength.

Unilateral Overhead Press

Standing overhead press is a type of unilateral overhead press. Press the weight above your head using your stomach, lower back, and the muscles between your shoulder blades.

If you progress to a standing variant of the exercise, your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes are also required to stabilize the movement.

When performing unilateral overhead press exercise, ensure your left arm and left leg are inline, hip neutral, and spine flat (both right and left foot should be placed firmly on the ground).

6. Pull-up

Pull-up is an excellent exercise that belongs to vertical pull movement patterns. It activates muscles such as your lats, chest, shoulders, and upper back muscles.

Abs are also involved in stabilizing as well. While the chin-up is a variation that often uses an underhand grip, the classic pull-up uses an overhand grip on the bar. You can also perform neutral pull-ups if you want to minimize stress on your shoulders and rotator cuff muscles. For all pull-up variations the starting position is the same, which is hanging from the pull-up bar.

Bodyweight Pull-Up

Bodyweight pull-up is a variation of pull-up that eliminates the need for adding extra weights. For a beginner to advance and do the more challenging variations of this exercise, they should concentrate on perfecting their form on these regular ones.

Weighted Pull-up

Weighted pull-up is a strength training exercise that requires you to wear added weight while performing a regular pull-up.

You can add weight to your pull-up routine by wearing a weighted vest or belt, which can help you gain even more muscle. Weighted pull-ups make a traditional bodyweight workout more challenging.

7. Front Plank

Front plank is an exercise that belongs to anti-lateral flexion movement patterns. It activates the rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, and erector spinae muscles.

All coordinated and powerful athletic motions are built on core strength. Doing a front plank is crucial for strengthening the core.

8. Side Plank

Side plank is an exercise that belongs to anti-lateral flexion movement patterns. It activates muscles such as your obliques.

Unlike many core workouts, this one does not strain your neck or lower back. By strengthening your core and improving your balance, this exercise can assist you in maintaining good posture and increased mobility.

9. Ab Flexion Variations

These ab flexion variations focus on flexion movement to get you stronger and in better physical shape. Here, we will break down 3 different exercises to help you develop more defined abs.


Crunches are a classic core exercise. Your core muscles, which are specifically worked out by it, are the abdominal muscles.

Despite being a well-liked core technique, the crunches are not suitable for everyone. It works just your abs and leaves the other core muscles unworked, which can put a lot of strain on your neck and back.

Cat and Cow

Cat and Cow is a yoga position thought to improve balance and posture and is beneficial for people with back problems.

You will relax and release some of the day’s stress thanks to the advantages of this coordinated breath movement.

Ab Leg Rises

Ab leg raise is a more challenging move because they engage additional stabilizing muscles in addition to your abs. Leg lifts or leg raises are excellent exercises to learn for increased overall strength because they strengthen the core, hips, and low back.

Leg raise is an excellent exercise to target your lower abs and develop six-pack abs. This is the ideal low-stress method for developing six-pack abs because it puts less strain on your hands and elbow joints.

10. Trunk Rotation

Trunk rotation is an exercise that targets particular upper body areas. Try resistance band rotation to get a good burn in your obliques.

Each of the twenty muscles that make up your core, particularly your obliques, will be tested as you twist your torso against the resistance of an attached elastic band.

11. Trunk Anti-rotation

Trunk anti-rotation movement is when you tighten your core and maintain it perfectly steady while moving your entire body in one way.

Pallof press is an anti-rotation hold exercise that is fantastic for building a strong core.

During this workout, you press a resistance band or wire out and back while holding it in front of your body.

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How to Start Training Your Whole Body in a Functional Way With Functional Movements?

You can start training your body as a whole in a functional way by implementing all the exercises mentioned above. 

Functional training teaches your body to function as a whole rather than working out specific body parts. This approach to total-body strengthening has a lot of positive benefits for your health.

Instead of concentrating on one muscle at a time, functional workouts can be more time-effective for fitness and weight loss. Your program will burn more calories if you include a few sessions of full-body exercise that are shorter and more intense.

Share your thoughts on this type of training with us, and let us know if you plan to use any of these exercises throughout your workouts.

Vanja Vukas

Vanja Vukas

Student at the Faculty of Sport and Physical Education and a hardcore functional training enthusiast. Heavily inspired by Michael Boyle, a strength & conditioning specialist, and by Adam Sinicki, the founder of Bioneer. Vanja believes that transitioning to a movement-based exercise program can drastically improve your fitness, balance out your muscles, and support your current lifestyle.

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