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3 Functional Strength Drills For Fitness And Performance

3 Functional Strength Drills For Fitness And Performance

  1. Are you training to be functionally strong for life? 
  2. Are you using your strength and conditioning program to prepare you for your sport, job, or life? 
  3. How much emphasis do you place on being functionally strong?

These days I often find myself talking to my students about the importance of having life skills. After all, when it comes to fitness your goals should line up to what you’re doing in life. In other words, if your job demands that you be functional then why wouldn’t your fitness program mirror that? Today I’m going to discuss three functional strength drills to get you on track.

Functional Strength

I realize the definition of functional strength may vary from coach to coach, but I prefer a rather simple explanation to what being functionally strong means. Functional strength is about possessing the strength to perform movements that are involved in everyday life without inhibition, or restriction. This only comes from training movements that challenge the body as a whole for stabilization and control.

For this I’m going to cover three functional strength drills here to help you ramp up your functional strength training program.

Functional Strength: Deadlift

The deadlift is highly valuable in terms of developing significant total body strength. The deadlift is versatile and there are several variations and implements you can use to perform the deadlift. Essentially with the deadlift you’re learning to pull dead weight off the ground. This is done by learning to hinge and lift with your hips and legs while simultaneously learning to activate and stabilize your pillar/core.

Stabilizing your core midsection is vital for executing the deadlift. This is the case because in order for you to exert the force needed to pull significant weight off the ground using total body effort is being able to create intrathoracic pressure. This internal pressure creates muscular tension throughout your body so that you can support your spine.

The deadlift allows for a significant development of functional strength as it’s a winner for you if you find yourself having to move a couch, pick up a load of lumber, or to perform better in a sporting event. The deadlift is a functional strength movement that delivers on helping you to develop real world strength to apply to most any scenario.

Functional Strength: Bear Crawls

Strict bear crawls are great for training control and purposeful movement with your body. As seen in the video the movement is intentional and my focus is to offset the movement of both my hands and feet while maintaining a completely neutral spine during the crawl.

In fact, when coaching this movement I like to cue my students to brace their core midsection and to imagine that they’re crawling with a glass of water balanced on their back. This forces them to engage the movement with quality and to keep that neutral spine position.

The strict bear crawl is great for building function and for enhancing shoulder and core stability. This can prove to be incredibly valuable as it can be done anywhere you can find some flat open floor space.

Functional Strength: Goblet Squat

The goblet squat is one of the most underrated functional strength movements. The thing is that the goblet squat is tremendous in helping you to build a super strong body. Just because the goblet squat doesn’t involve having a barbell loaded with hundreds of pounds across your back doesn’t mean it won’t get you stronger.

In fact, I would argue that this movement will challenge you a hell of a lot more than you may anticipate. For starters, the goblet squat is tremendous for helping to force you into a quality squat pattern. By having the kettlebell, or dumbbell loaded in the front of your body it serves as a counterweight which can help to stabilize you in the base of the squat where most people tend to experience instability.

The goblet squat is also a great way to train the squat movement with a loaded weight. I always make sure my students are proficient in the goblet squat before I ever put them under a loaded barbell.

Functional Strength: The Takeaway

When looking to get functionally strong you’ve got include multi-joint movements such as the deadlift, bear crawl, and goblet squat with quality and purpose. If your focus is function then you’ve got to be purposeful in pursuing the execution of function.

What functional strength drills are you currently working on in your training program?

What functional bodyweight movements are you currently including in your strength program?

Please post up and share in the comments here below.

Also if you want to learn how to tie these together then make sure you check out my brand new 120 Day Functional Fitness Program right here below! I guarantee it’ll get you into the best shape of your life, or I’ll give you your money back no questions asked.


It’s changing lives already!

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I'm a Certified Strength And Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and author. I have had over 17 years experience in MMA fitness, strength and conditoning, and athletic performance for most every sport. As an author and specialist I've written close to a million words on fitness and strength. I'm also a Muay Thai practictioner and enjoy helping others to reach their peak potential through fitness and performance.

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