While the words functional training might bring to mind images of buff young athletes performing muscle-ups and throwing around heavy weight, many of the functional movements included in functional movement type workouts are a fantastic way for home gym athletes to increase range of motion, power, and strength without lifting heavy weights and completing complicated movements. These workouts can fit easily into nearly any home gym and even provide travel friendly options when you are away from your home fitness equipment. Here are some essential pieces of equipment to do 2 workouts at home. If you want to skip to the workouts right away, scroll to the bottom of this article.
First, essential equipment for doing Functional workouts at home:
The benefits of functional movement style workouts include constant variation of the nature of the workout. You can easily find workouts online apps and websites. Many provide options that allow you to select workouts that emphasize bodyweight and certain types of equipment. You can start out with daily exercises that use bodyweight only, while investing in a few space efficient and affordable pieces of equipment that will let you level up your home gym. Here are the most essential pieces, as well as the type of workouts that emphasize them.
Adding a couple of Kettlebells to your home gym is an efficient way to complement your strength training. These multi-purpose resistance trainers add variety and greater resistance to your squatting movements, as well as functional swinging actions. You can even use them for bicep curls and as an alternative to weightlifting Snatch movements. Holding a Kettlebell up front while squatting will target increasing the depth of your squat and improving your torso position throughout the movement.
Rowing and running are two major components of functional training workouts and provide serious opportunities for power and cardiovascular conditioning. Assuming you are comfortable running outside, a rower, such as the Oxford 5 by Horizon Fitness, is space efficient and the best cardiovascular machine to add to your home gym. Rowing will strengthen all major muscles of your body, including your legs, core, back, and arms. You can use it for steady or interval style training, active recovery, and daily performance driven workouts.
Dynamax Wall Medicine Ball:
While wall balls using a Dynamax ball are a staple in the rotation of movements, they do require high ceilings, sturdy walls, and will erode your equipment over time. The Dynamax ball can be used to create a functional, home gym friendly variation of the wall ball. Squat with the ball as though you are catching it and then extend the ball fully up and overhead as you lift up through your toes, as though you are throwing the ball at the wall. The Dynamax ball can also be used to make weightlifting movements scalable for a small home gym by using it to perform cleans, squats, and overhead presses.
The Plyo Box gives you the option of adding in step ups and box jumps to increase the variety and explosive demands of your workouts. You can also use it for tricep dips in order to modify ring dips. If you’re working on building upper body strength, or lack good wall-space, you can use the Plyo Box to modify handstand push-ups and handstands.
While you will need floor space and a high ceiling to add a jump rope into your workouts, you can begin to master stringing your jumps and working on double unders (think two swings of the rope and one jump). This tool will help you to build your explosive power and endurance, and can even double as a yoga strap to assist you in your post workout stretches.
Most of the equipment included in this article can easily be transported for outdoor workouts and supplement bodyweight movements and running for a scalable approach to functional training that can work in nearly any space or setting. The benefits of training with the full range of motion and variety of movements provided in functional exercise can be tailored to any individual and setting and complemented with minimal equipment. You’ll find that the competitive nature of these workouts as you focus on beating the clock or your last performance will keep motivation high and drive you to find your own personal bests.
Get Started with functional training with these 2 full workouts
Now that you have all the essential equipment for your home gym, here are two efficient and effective Home Gym workouts that will immediately become a go-to in your home workouts.
A well-rounded daily program should add to your selected daily exercises by including a warm-up, mobility, and strength work to provide a better rounded workout. Ideally, the movements that are included in the warm-up will prepare the body for the demands of your daily workout. These two full daily workouts fit that bill and are suitable for nearly any home gym or travel workout space.
Home Exercise: Workout #1
This workout is a serious calorie burner that will emphasizes developing explosive power and improving range of motion and upper/lower body integration.
Equipment: Dynamax Medicine Wall Ball, Plyo Box, exercise band or pull up bar, treadmill or outdoor running space or substitute a rower.
- Run/walk 800 meters (.5 miles) (may substitute rowing)
Repeat three times:
- 10 air squats
- 10 push-ups
- 5 pull-ups or banded lat pull downs
Complete five rounds of the following as quickly as possible:
- Run 400 meters
- 30 box jumps (or box step ups)
- 30 wall balls
- Walk 400 meters, stretch and foam roll calves, hamstrings, and quadriceps.
Home Exercise: Workout #2
This workout emphasizes improving strength in the posterior chain and shoulders. The warm-up targets building core strength and improving squat form to support healthy movements during the workout. Following the heavy demands of this workout, don’t miss the shoulder mobility during the cool down.
Equipment: Rower, Kettlebell, Jump Rope.
- 5 minutes jumping rope (singles or practice double unders)
- Foam Rolling calves and lats
- Row 500 meters
Repeat three times:
- 1 minute plank
- 5 burpees
- 10 push ups
- 10 front squats (using Kettlebell)
Complete four rounds of the following as quickly as possible:
- 500 meter row
- 12 burpees
- 15 push ups
- 20 Kettlebell swings
- 40 double unders
- Stretch low back, hips, calves, and hamstrings, shoulder mobility using exercise band or jump rope
About the writer: Joli Guenther is a certified personal trainer, yoga instructor and clinical social worker practicing in and around Madison, Wisconsin. Learn more about Joli.