Every gym has one. That guy who never misses a workout, but only ever does bicep curls. While massive guns are certainly impressive, the biceps are such an isolated muscle that they offer very limited use in day-to-day life.

For optimal, all-around wellness, personal trainers know that functional training is the way to go. By simulating real-world motions and engaging multiple muscles simultaneously, such exercises make everyday actions easier and safer to do.

To help wean off members who are set in their iron-pumping ways, here’s a quick recap of functional training exercises and their real-life applications.



Proper deadlifts helps you avoid injuries when lifting water bottles

What is it?
The deadlift is a compound exercise that involves lifting a loaded barbell off the floor until your hips and knees lock. You then lower the barbell back to the floor by pushing your hips back, then bending at the knees. Check out this comprehensive guide from on proper deadlift form.

Muscles engaged
Hamstrings, calves, glutes, and lower back

Don’t allow your back to curve or round when doing the deadlift—this makes you more prone to back strain and even spinal injuries, says Drive your heels into the floor, and use your hips and glutes to power the lift. When you are at a full standing position, push your hips outward and lock your knees. Don’t forget that the core must always be engaged during the entire motion.

Real-life applications:
-Lifting heavy furniture from the floor
-Lifting a water bottle off of the floor



Carrying grocery bags is quite similar to doing the farmer’s carry

What is it?
As the name suggests, this exercise involves holding heavy weights in both hands and carrying them over a certain distance. You don’t necessarily need special equipment to do the farmer’s carry—holding a pair of heavy dumbbells or even kettlebells will do the trick.

Muscles engaged
Forearms, abdominals, glutes, hamstrings, lower back, quadriceps, and traps

Pro-tip says that each dumbbell or kettlebell should be equal to a quarter of your total weight. Place your hand in the middle of the dumbbell’s handle and don’t let it tilt forward. Your shoulders should be level and your back should maintain its neutral curve. Your core should always be engaged when doing this exercise.

Real-life applications:
-Carrying heavy luggage from one point to another
-Carrying water containers from one point to another
-Carrying grocery bags from to your car or from your car into your house



Exercises like prowlers develop both your speed and your capacity for pushing objects

What is it?
Prowlers require pushing weight stacks from one point to another and is a staple of CrossFit boxes. Luckily the SKILLMILL, Technogym’s self-powered professional training equipment, has variable resistance settings that allow users to perform prowler exercises.

Muscles engaged
Quadriceps, calves, chest, glutes, hamstrings, triceps

Dr. John Rusin recommends using a natural running stance when doing prowlers. Keep your toes in contact with the floor at all times for better stability, and make sure to brace your core and avoid hyperextending your spine.

Real-life applications:
-Pushing heavy furniture
-Pushing supermarket carts



Kettlebell swings make it easier to lift your child

What is it?
This exercise entails swinging a kettlebell—which looks like a metal ball with a handle—between your legs and hoisting it to about chest height.

Muscles engaged
Hips, glutes, hamstrings, lats, abs, shoulders, and pecs

As advises, use your arms to swing the kettlebell; rather, use your hips to propel the kettlebell forward.

Real-life applications:
-Picking up items from the floor and placing them on a shelf
-Lifting your toddler up in the air



Crouching while gardening resembles a squat

What is it?
The squat is a compound exercise that resembles a crouching motion, and often uses weights such as a barbell or a dumbbell to add resistance. To perform a squat, stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width and your toes pointing forward. Slowly descend by bending your hips followed by your knees, and stop when your knees reach a 90-degree angle. Return to the starting position. Check out this video for a full guide.

Muscles engaged
Quadriceps, calves, glutes, and hamstrings

Real-life applications:
– Lifting a toddler out of a high chair
– Crouching while gardening

Working out shouldn’t just be about looking good, it should also help you develop real-world strength. If your facility needs functional training equipment, Technogym—the official equipment partner of the 2016 Olympics—has a selection of top-notch products to choose from. For more information, send E-Sports International an e-mail via or call 809-7134 / 807-9813.


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