Back to Basics — Master 3 Exercises for Functional Strength

Now seems to be the time of year when many of us try to get serious about getting in shape. We had some great physical activity during the summer, but then the fall came and we got too busy to get a regular program going. Before we know it, the holidays are looming and we already have that muffin top growing. Rather than start killing yourself at the gym with high intensity workouts, the best way to begin a serious fitness program is to get back to basics when it comes to strength training. That means you should strengthen the three main areas of your body: (1) posterior chain (lower back and glutes), (2) front core (abs and chest), and (3) lower body (legs and hips).

I consider the following three exercises essential to establishing foundational strength in the whole body and to creating a physical frame that is ready for anything. Perform them sequentially in a circuit for three or more rounds, progressing each time, either in weight or in repetitions. Remember to always adhere to good form and alignment.


deadlift-1Image 1

deadlift-2Image 2

1. Deadlifts (for posterior chain of the body): Holding onto dumbbells, stand with your feet a little wider than hip-width apart (Image 1). Bend your knees a quarter of the way, then hinge with a flat back over to a 90-degree bend at the hips (Image 2). Keep your spine and neck straight and let your arms hang straight down from your back. Exhale and stand back up. Repeat 15 times. On next circuits, try to increase the weight as long as you can maintain good form for at least 8 reps.

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  • Jen November 5, 2016 at 9:23 am

    hi-would you consider demos on exercises for sciatica in legs? Thank you.