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This Functional Workout Gets You Fit For Life In Just Seven Moves

exercise
(Image credit: Unknown)

A functional workout is one with a practical purpose, focusing on building strength in the muscles you use most frequently. As such, they incorporate a lot of familiar daily movements, such as squatting, carrying heavy things and moving quickly across short distances.

Trainer Emily Furey offers plenty of these full-body routines in her Fi7ness programme on the TRUCONNECT (opens in new tab) fitness app. Specifically, her routines home in on seven types of movement: push, pull, squat, lunge, bend, twist and travel. These are sometimes referred to as primal movements, although the list of primal movements changes depending on who you ask.

Each workout in Furey’s programme features seven exercises, performed in seven-minute rounds for a period of seven weeks. “This programme really is for everyone,” says Furey. “As a society I think we’re so focused on exercise as a mechanism to improve the way we look, that we often look past the physiological. The beauty of the seven primal movements is they’ll develop your functional fitness – getting you fit for life, if you like.”

Here, Furey takes us through an example session. Perform the reps of all seven exercises, rest for 60 to 90 seconds, then repeat two more times for a total of three rounds.

1 Squat: Prisoner squat

Squat

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Reps 10-15 Rest 0sec

With your hands behind your head, bend your knees until they’re at 90°, pushing your knees out in the same direction as your toes. Then push up through your heels, keeping your hands on your head at all times. Keep your chest up, shoulders back and engage your core. Your toes should be pointing outwards, and make sure your knees don’t collapse inwards as you move.

2 Lunge: Lateral lunge

Lunge

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Reps 10-15 each side Rest 0sec

Stand with your feet slightly apart and engage your core. Take one leg out to the side, bending that knee to lower. Make sure your knee follows your toes, so if your toes are pointing outwards, so is your knee. The leg that’s not working shouldn’t bend at all. Drive back up and return to the starting position, with both legs straight. Complete all the reps on one side, then change legs.

3 Bend: Floor press

Floor press

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Reps 10-15 Rest 0sec

Sit on your bum, with your legs to one side. Lean to one side and place both hands on the floor. Then push the floor away as if you’re doing a press-up to return to a sitting upright sitting position. Keep working through the chest when you’re down close to the floor. The rest of your body should be as still as possible.

4 Twist: Lateral shoot-through

Lateral shoot-through

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Reps 10-15 Rest 0sec

Start on all with your knees held just off the floor. Engage your core and keep your hips level with your body throughout. Twist to one side, lift your hand off the floor from the side you’re twisting towards, and bring your opposite leg through the gap you’ve created. Return to all fours and alternate sides with each rep.

5 Push: Diamond press-up

Push: Diamond press-up

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Reps 10-15 Rest 0sec

Place your knees on the floor and lean forwards to place your hands on the floor with your forefingers and thumbs touching in a diamond shape. Then press the floor away to raise your body. Keep your shoulders back and engage your core throughout. You should also have a straight back, your hips should be in line with your chest and your head in line with the spine.

6 Pull: Dead bug

Dead bug

(Image credit: Unknown)

Reps 10-15 Rest 0sec

Lie on your back with your legs in tabletop position – hips and knees bent at 90°, and your head and shoulders off the floor. Lower one leg to just above the floor while your opposite arm goes back above your head. Move your arm and leg back to the starting position and repeat with the opposite arm and leg. Alternate with each rep, and move smoothly and slowly.

7 Travel: Run

Reps 10-15 Rest 60-90sec

Either outside or on a treadmill, perform short bursts of running. Keep your chest up and your core engaged, and maintain a good knee lift. If space is an issue, try high knees or jogging on the spot.

Emily Furey’s Fi7ness workout programme, created with former three-time world karate champion Dean Hodgkin, is available on TRUCONNECT (opens in new tab) by TV.FIT

Ruth Gaukrodger is the fitness editor for Future Plc, the publisher of Coach. A keen runner and yoga enthusiast, she has worked across both print and online media for more than five years, contributing to national newspaper titles and popular tech sites, such as Top Ten Reviews (opens in new tab) and Trusted Reviews (opens in new tab), as well as Space.com (opens in new tab). Find her on Instagram at @rgaukrodger (opens in new tab).