One of the great things about functional training is you don’t have to follow typical gym rules. You aren’t training to have the biggest biceps or bootylicious glutes. You are training to become a functional and fit person, that means you can move with coordination, lift things in random situations without fear of throwing out your back, and generally live a more pain free life. All while maintaining a lower body fat and having strong muscles. Doing a total body/core workout can have amazing benefits!
These workouts are more fun, don’t require a lot of equipment, and keep you from being bored. These types of workouts are perfect for any introverted Geek/Gamer who wants to get in better shape, but who doesn’t want to deal with the alpha-ness of typical gyms. As a gamer myself, I want to be like the characters I play – able to do pretty much anything physically, but that’s so hard with time constraints, and of course, dedicated game time.
Here is a beginner core/total body workout using only a weight plate, in this case a 25 pound weight plate. You can use any weight, and you can get a weight plate fairly cheap used (craigslist, offer up, Facebook). You can do this workout mostly in your living room (carpet works fine with metal plates), in your back yard, or at a park (long grass might be hard with some of these, but turf works great).
Lower Body/Core Workout
3 sets of 12-15 reps of each exercise
- Walking Lunge with Slide – This exercise works your whole leg, but especially activates those hip flexors and strengthens them. Stay low and drag that weight plate towards you, ending with your feet together in a squatted position.
- Walking side Squat with Pull in – This exercise works the inner thighs, which become especially tight and weak when doing a lot of sitting. Keep your feet pointed forward, and try not to lean either direction when pulling the weight plate in.
- Good Morning – This hinge exercise helps you maintain good posture, strengthens your lower back, and stretches those tight hamstrings. Keep your spine straight/neutral and push your hips back during the downward movement. Keep knees slightly bent, and weight plate slightly in front of your chest.
Total Body/Core Workout
- 3 sets of 12-15 reps
- Squat to overhead press – This exercise works legs and shoulders specifically. Make sure you drop as low as you can in your squat, keeping your weight on your heels. Have the weight plate held in front of your chest, then as you stand up, push the plate all the way overhead, straightening arms all the way.
- Arch/Rainbow chops – An exercise that works arms, and deep abdominal muscles and obliques, the ones that really support your spine. Keep arms as straight as you can while you arch the weight up and over your head, and bring it down to your knee. Pivot (Pivot PIVOR in Ross’s voice) your lower body so your knee doesn’t get all crazy twisted. We want to avoid injuries!
- Bear Crawl with a plate push – A total body exercise! Keep knees bent and back straight, and get yourself in a high crawl with one hand on the weight plate. Crawl forward and push the weight with one hand. You can do this timed, about 30 seconds with each arm, or do repetitions, about 15 on each arm.
- Bear crawl with plate pull – (not pictured) This is basically the same exercise as above but in reverse. Pull the weight towards you and crawl backwards.
- Pendlay Row – This in another hinging exercise, but now adding in a plate row to active more of your upper back and arms. This is also a great stretch. Do the bottom part of the Good Morning, but instead of standing all the way back up, only go up about halfway, then bring the weight plate to your chest.
3 sets of 15 – All these exercises are done in a high plank/push-up position. Starting and finishing each movement with a plank, core tight, back flat. If you can, do these by a mirror and check your form!
- Tuck – Bend your knees, pulling them towards your chest. Walk hands forward and repeat.
- Pike – A bit more advanced than the tuck. Keep knees straight and push your hips to the ceiling(sky), dragging that weight plate in. You don’t have to be terribly flexible to do these, as just a little lift will do!
- Plank – This is a traveling plank. Goal is to keep your body as straight as possible!
- Push/Pull – If you don’t have a lot of room, you can combine any of the above movements into a stationary exercise! This works more upper body as well, because when you push that weight plate back out, your shoulders and chest really have to stabilize.