Physical Therapy

My Favorite Functional Exercises

July 26, 2022

I’m Tanya.
I’ve learned that a little bit of intentionality goes a long way in accomplishing the goals we set for ourselves. This blog is meant to equip you with just that - simple tips, tricks, advice, and encouragement that help you live an intentional life. 
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Here are a few of my favorite FUNCTIONAL exercises to add to your workouts:

  • Squats w/ toes in – I love this exercise bc squats, in general, are functional, but turning the toes in helps activate our pelvic floor – a win-win for this Pelvic floor PT!
  • Tricep dips – I really like this body-weight exercise bc it is a more difficult version of using our arms to get out of a chair. I’ve worked w/ plenty of elderly patients who struggle to get out of a chair, & diminishing tricep strength is one contributor, among many.
  • Shoulder press – a very basic but important exercise! Think about how often you lift things overhead, like getting groceries off the highest shelf, getting the Christmas decorations out of storage, or putting the dishes away. Again, I’ve worked w/ plenty of older individuals who struggle w/ this task & so it’s a great exercise to keep up as we age!
  • Slow burpees – I don’t mind burpees (I’ll take them any day over high knees), but my issue w/ burpees is that typically people are just trying to move as fast as they can without thinking about HOW they are moving = a great recipe for injury. Moving a little slower helps you focus on form, it’s a great modification, & it’s FUNCTIONAL bc it helps us practice getting up off the floor – another ability we lose as we age!
  • D2 flexion – such a technical name but I wasn’t sure what else to call this – the seatbelt exercise? Keys: start w/ your thumb pointing back & finish w/ your thumb pointing back so you get some nice rotation throughout! This movement combines all 3 planes of motion which is great training for life bc we typically combine planes when we move!
  • Backward rotational lunge – I teach these often in my clinic, but just like the 1st exercise, we don’t often move in straight planes of motion, so we should TRAIN in multiple planes. Think about how often you stop to pick something up behind you – most likely you don’t stop, turn, line up your body, & lunge forward to get it – instead, you are probably doing some type of rotational lunge!

Do you love or hate strength workouts? If they aren’t your favorite, how do you make them more fun?

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