Top 9 Functional Training Exercises

Conjunction, junction, what’s your function? If under 30, you are probably unfamiliar with that rhyme being played back in elementary school. (It’s from School House Rock). As far as functional exercises, your body should get familiar with them. Functional exercises train your muscles to work together and prepare them for daily tasks by simulating common movements you might do at home, at work or in sports.

Overall, functional training ensures you work every muscle movement that you use in every day life. There are several exercises that are considered functional. Here are 9 of them.

Standing Shoulder Press

 When it comes to functional training, the emphasize is executing exercises that simulates real-world actions. The standing shoulder press fits the bill. The standing shoulder press hits a multitude of muscles. Besides the shoulders, this exercise also targets the abs, triceps, lower back, traps, serratus and upper thighs. This movement prepares you to lift those heavy boxes that’s been on your attic shelf since 1972.

Kettlebell Swings

Every wanted to swing your boss from a building? Well this exercise will help you do that (Note: Please don’t swing them from a building). During the course of the day, you will likely be lifting or carrying an object. Doing kettlebell swings primes your pulling muscles (e.g., lower back, hamstrings, etc.) to perform those activities.

Note: Most other exercises done with the kettlebell will improve your functional strength


Like kettlebell swings, deadlifts strengthen your pulling muscles. From lifting a couch to your growing child, doing heavy reps of this exercise ensures you get the job done.


If the only time you squat down is when using the restroom, you are missing out. Squats is probably the best exercise for functional strength. This exercise works your entire lower body. Also, squats make sure you have well-defined legs with a butt to match!

Jump Squats

Ever had to jump over a puddle during a bad rainstorm? Jump squats makes sure you actually jump over the puddle. This exercise strengthens your jumping muscles (e.g., thighs, hamstrings, calves, hips, knees, and ankles).


Besides being the ultimate upper-body sculptor, pushups is one heck of a functional exercise. This work your pushing muscles (e.g. chest, shoulders, triceps).


You know the expression, “Take it one day at a time?” Well now it is time to take it “one leg at a time.” Lunges is a great exercise to improve functional strength in both legs, lessening the chance you trip over your own feet.

Barbell Power Cleans

Functional and power goes hand in hand. Barbell power cleans is a superb at working multiple muscle groups.

Running Stairs

Thought stairs was just useful when the elevator broke down? This is an obvious functional exercise because it helps you improve…. running stairs. Also, this exercise engages your legs, butt and other running muscles. So you may want to skip the elevator altogether from this day forward.