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Finding Fit: Top 3 Functional Workout Moves

By Jessica Morris on October 30, 2014, categorized in Active Living

Finding Fit: Top 3 Functional Workout Moves

Are you ready to be the best version of you? Whether you’re a fitness guru, or a fresh face to world of health and movement, this column is your new home (gym). You can expect articles, photos and videos on sports nutrition, optimal weight and energy! As a certified nutritional practitioner and personal trainer who has worked with professional athletes, Olympians and celebrities, I’m ready to share my unique approach to health and fitness to help you thrive.

Let’s face it—we’re all busy these days! Work, family, relationships...all of these things can feel overwhelming at times, and we can easily forget to focus on ourselves, our nutrition or exercise routines. Not to fret, here are my top three functional workout moves that require no gym or additional weights at all to keep you fit, without wasting time. I selected these specific moves because they are all compound movements meaning that you are engaging a multitude of muscle groups at once, instead of one muscle in isolation. Why not target more muscles in a shorter amount of time, to get maximum results?!

1. Squat

workout moves

You’ve probably heard of squatting before, but this move truly is my favorite. If you’re looking to strengthen your legs (calves, hamstrings, quadriceps and glutes) this one is for you!
To protect your body, keep proper form when performing a body-weight squat:

  • Keep your legs approximately shoulder-width apart with your toes slightly turned out
  • Look upward to keep your chest up
  • Pull your shoulder blades together to maintain a strong back (crossing your arms in front of you will also help you do this)
  • Push knees outward when both squatting down and coming up. Watch to ensure your knees are not tracking forward beyond your ankles
  • Squat downwards (just past 90 degrees) but make sure you maintain your flat, strong back
  • Push through your heels
  • Squeeze your glutes at the top

Try to perform 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps of squats with your bodyweight to begin!

2. Push-up

The widely known and used push-up is great for so many reasons. It truly is a full body workout. I love push-ups because I can feel my legs, core, back and arms.

workout moves

workout moves

To perform a proper push-up, I recommend:

  • Rest your hands on a bench or ledge (or drop down to your knees) for beginners. More advanced start is on plank on a flat or declined surface
  • Place your hands and arms shoulder-width apart, keeping your hands directly underneath your shoulders
  • Fire up your legs by squeezing your quads and glutes
  • Tighten your core and try to lift your belly button towards your spine
  • Slowly lower your chest towards the ground (or ledge) until you are 1-2 inches from the ground
  • Push directly back up until your arms are straight

Try to perform 3-4 sets for 10-15 reps!

3. Plank

workout moves

Say goodbye to a soft tummy and tighten up with a plank! This move is fantastic as it targets your entire abdomen and can be done anywhere.

  • Choose if you’ll be planking on your hands or elbows (both are great in my opinion!)
  • Place hands or elbows directly under the shoulders and engage your back (retract your shoulder blades together)
  • Form your body in a horizontal position with straight legs balancing on your toes
  • Engage your lower back and abdomen, and pull your belly button to your spine
  • Fire your glutes and legs for extra strength

Try to hold your plank for as long as possible—but remember to keep that perfect form! Don’t let your hips fall towards the ground or hike up towards the sky!

Use these three workout moves at the gym, at home or outdoors if you’re looking to engage multiple muscles while getting strong. And remember your nutrition plays a huge role in your results, so be sure to eat clean and train mean!

Jessica Morris

A Certified Nutritional Practitioner (CNP), Jessica specializes in blood sugar and weight management, natural sports nutrition and longevity. Jessica is a certified personal trainer and indoor cycling instructor. Her enthusiasm for plant-based nutrition, fitness, and health inspires her clients to take charge of their health and create positive changes.
Jessica Morris