It’s easy to focus on the aesthetic impacts of working out, but this means we can often overlook the many health and wellbeing benefits exercise offers, from boosting our mood to improving the way we move.
Functional strength training workouts, like this kettlebell session from fitness trainer Rhiannon Bailey, are great for building practical muscle that you can put to use in everyday life, whether you're carrying shopping bags or climbing a flight of stairs.
This is because functional training builds full-body strength using compound exercises like the squat, deadlift, and push-up, which closely mirror daily tasks such as standing up from a chair or picking up a heavy object.
Bailey's workout includes five functional moves split into two circuits. Perform the first two moves back to back for eight-12 repetitions each, rest for 60 seconds, then repeat. Continue this for four rounds in total.
After you've finished this, rest for two minutes then complete four rounds of the second, three-move circuit, sticking to the same number of repetitions as before.
For more details on the five exercises and a demonstration of how to perform each one correctly, watch Bailey's video below.
Watch Rhiannon Bailey's five-move kettlebell workout
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This session includes several unilateral (or one-sided) exercises, each of which will provide a core workout and help improve your balance.
This is because they challenge you to hold the kettlebell away from your center of gravity and remain stable while standing on one leg, kicking your midsection muscles into action to support your spine and torso.
These moves, like the single-leg Romanian deadlift and reverse lunges, might feel tricky at first, so try practising them without any extra weight to start with. To build a balanced body, you should also swap which hand you are holding the kettlebell with each round.
As this workout uses a kettlebell rather than gym machines (which are designed to follow a pre-set movement pattern) it also requires good coordination. Try to move at a steady and controlled pace while focusing on your form to ensure you're engaging the targeted muscles.
If you’re looking for more enjoyable ways to boost your balance and coordination, try these balance board exercises . This bodyweight abs routine is also great for building a strong core and improving your stability.
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Alice Porter is a freelance journalist covering lifestyle topics including health, fitness and wellness. She is particularly interested in women's health, strength training and fitness trends and writes for publications including Stylist Magazine, Refinery29, The Independent and Glamour Magazine. Like many other people, Alice's personal interest in combining HIIT training with strength work quickly turned into a CrossFit obsession and she trains at a box in south London. When she's not throwing weights around or attempting handstand push-ups, you can probably find her on long walks in nature, buried in a book or hopping on a flight to just about anywhere it will take her.
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