There are several ways to define “functional training,” but essentially it involves moving the body through different planes of motion while working multiple muscle groups and challenging balance. While complex moves are perfect for one-on-one training, teaching functional movements to a large group is also possible with a straightforward strategy that allows for modification.
Add It Up! includes an upper-body move, a lower-body move, a core exercise that offers active rest, and then a compound movement using the same strength exercises. Participants may stay with the separate moves if the combined exercise is too hard. The keys to success are precision and control.
Add It Up! Details
TOTAL TIME: 60 minutes
GOAL: 60 minutes
EQUIPMENT: 60 minutes
MUSIC: 60 minutes
- Ensure participants are engaging their core muscles to help with injury prevention, especially during compound movements.
- Constantly cue participants to lift the chest, keep the shoulders back and down, and tighten the core.
- Cue class to move slowly; offer variations and modifications.
- “Road-test” combinations before teaching them.
- Look for movement fluidity and continuity through full range of motion.
Warm-Up (10 minutes)
Teach the following body weight exercises, focusing on form. Perform 2 sets of 10 repetitions.
- alternating knees
- parallel squats
- lunges side to side, reaching arms to push-ups
- alternating forward lunges
- wide squats
- alternating reverse lunges
Work Phase (45 minutes)
SET 1: UPRIGHT ROW + ALTERNATING LUNGES
- Upright row: From neutral standing
position, core engaged, lift dumbbells toward chin, elbows pointing to sides, squeezing between shoulder blades, 24x.
- Complete 1 set of alternating forward lunges (with or without weights). Keep knees at 90 degrees at bottom of range. 16x each leg, alternating.
- Core interval: standing side-bends. From neutral stance, hold dumbbells in hands and lean to right side; engage oblique muscles to return to standing, and repeat left. 16x each side.
- Upright row with alternating lunges: Lunge forward with dumbbells by sides; pull dumbbells into upright row while moving back to standing. 16x each side, alternating.
- Repeat standing side-bends.
- Repeat upright row with alternating
SET 2: TRICEPS EXTENSION + ALTERNATING REVERSE LUNGES
- Complete 1 set of triceps extensions from lunge position, torso slightly forward, elbows bent as you extend dumbbells behind until arm is straight, 24x.
- Do 1 set of alternating reverse lunges (with or without weights). Step back into lunge, front knee directly in line with second toe, and return to standing. 16x each side, alternating.
- Core interval: Charlie’s Angels twist. From sumo squat position, extend arms in front of body and interlace fingers as if pointing gun. Rotate ribs slowly R and L, hips facing forward, 16x.
- Triceps extension with alternating reverse lunges: Do triceps extension as one leg steps into reverse lunge. 16x each side, alternating.
- Repeat Charlie’s Angels twist.
- Repeat triceps extension with alternating reverse lunges.
SET 3: FRONTAL RAISE + PARALLEL SQUAT + BALANCE KNEE
- Frontal raise: Lift dumbbells forward to shoulder height with elbows mostly straight, but active, 16x.
- Alternating frontal raises with balance knee: Raise one arm into frontal raise while lifting opposite knee to hip height. 16x each side, alternating.
- Parallel squat: With feet hip distance apart, sit back while keeping knees over heels, chest lifted, 24x.
- Core interval: mountain climbers. From plank position, alternate bringing in knees toward nose, 32x.
- Frontal raise with squat and balance knee: Slowly lift both arms into frontal raise as hips lower into squat position over 2 counts; lower arms and return to standing. Then raise one arm into frontal raise while lifting opposite knee to hip height. Alternate sides and repeat, 8x each side.
- Core interval: cross mountain climbers. Drive knee toward opposite elbow, keeping hips low, twisting between ribs and hips, 32x.
- Repeat frontal raise with squat and balance knee.
SET 4: ALTERNATING WIDE SQUATS + LATERAL RAISE
- Alternating wide squats: From standing position, step R wide into squat, toes pointed out slightly, chest high, knees over heels; step back to center and repeat L. 16x.
- Lateral raise: Keeping elbows slightly bent, raise dumbbells laterally to shoulder height, 24x.
- Core interval: boat pose. Sit upright on floor, knees bent. Recline with straight spine to 45-degree angle. Lift heels until calves are parallel to floor; hold 30–60 seconds.
- Alternating wide squats with lateral raise: Step R, and lower into wide squat while lifting dumbbell on R side into lateral raise; lower dumbbell and return to standing. 16x each side, alternating.
- Core interval: rotating boat. From boat pose, rotate ribs far enough to touch elbow to floor; alternate. 16x.
- Repeat alternating wide squats with lateral raise.
SET 5: DEAD LIFT + REVERSE FLY
- Dead lifts: From standing position, hold dumbbells and hinge forward at hips, keeping spine straight and shoulders together. Lift back to standing by contracting hamstrings and gluteals. 32x.
- Reverse fly: Hinge forward from hips, core engaged, and lift and lower dumbbells laterally, engaging posterior deltoids, 16x.
- Core interval: plank (from forearms and knees, or from hands and fore-foot). Hold with hips at shoulder height, core engaged, 30–60 seconds.
- Dead lift with reverse fly: Lower into dead lift over 2 counts. Stay at bottom of movement and complete reverse fly, 2x. Return to standing over 2 counts. (Modification: Bend knees into squat instead of dead lift.) 16x.
- Core interval: single-leg plank. From plank, extend one leg straight at hip height and hold 15–30 seconds. Repeat with opposite leg.
- Repeat dead lift with reverse fly.
SET 6: PUSH-UP + SIDE PLANK
- Push-up: Lower chest to ground with legs straight or knees bent, 16x.
- Side plank: From push-up position, open hip until square with side of room, keeping supporting hand directly below shoulder. Hold 30–60 seconds; switch sides.
- Push-up with side plank: Do one push-up and then open into side plank; hold 4 counts. Repeat; alternate sides, 16x in total.
Cool-Down (5 minutes)
Stretch all major muscle groups, placing special emphasis on trunk rotators, hamstrings, quadriceps, chest, shoulders and upper back.