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functional lower body workout

by Monica

One of the biggest reasons people struggle to lose fat is a dysfunctional lower body. A dysfunctional core, low back or knee pain, and even hip, shoulder, and neck issues often prevent many of my clients from working out at a higher intensity and from progressing to more challenging movement patterns.

If this is something that you're struggling with and it's limiting your ability to burn fat, be sure to get started with the functional exercises and workouts in this series. The workout below was actually designed for one of my clients but it's great for anybody dealing with knee pain, hip or low back pain as well as limited lower body mobility.

Functional lower body workout instructions:

stability ball leg curls w/yoga block 6-10 reps
yoga block wall sit 30-60 sec.
valslide warrior lunge 8-10 reps each side (arms overhead or use furniture for support)
knee raise to warrior one w/arms spread out
alternating cossack lunge 6-10 reps each side (use your hands or a stability ball for support)

Perform 2 circuits with little to no rest between exercises for 1-2 weeks. Once you start feeling stronger you can progress to 3 circuits with no rest between exercises for 2 weeks. You can do this workout once or twice a week and follow it up with some core work, upper body work, or cardio. Always do your functional exercises first.

Workout option 2: If you're more advanced you can follow the instructions on the video and perform 45 sec. of each exercise with 15 sec. rest between exercises. Try 2-3 rounds of that for 1-2 weeks. If you feel stronger progress to 3-4 circuits for two more weeks. You can also eliminate the rest period all together between exercises if you feel like it.

Workout Tips: Use your deep abdominal muscles (TVA) and glutes to stabilize and balance. Squeeze the shoulders blade gently on all exercises to improve posture and technique. Breathe deeply and take it slow. This is a rehab pain relief workout.

BTW, I learned cossack warrior lunges from coach Sonnon's Tacfit Commando workout plan. He does the super advanced hardcore version that includes a plyometric jump. If you are healthy and fit try adding the regular cossack warrior lunge featured in the video below to your weekly workouts and I guarantee you'll skyrocket your fatloss and butt lifting results.

I'll be posting my entire functional fitness series along with an entire functional training section in the next few weeks. It includes all the best functional exercises as well as mobility and flexiblity exercises.

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functional lower body workout

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by: Deb

This is so timely for me. I have been struggling with an imbalance in my hips and legs. This has been causing pain and keeping me from the full workouts I love. I can see just watching the video this is what I need. I will order my valslides today. Also, there is one exercise between the valslide and the cossack lunge. What is that called? I will write it in on my workout sheet. Thanks so much.

I knew something was missing!
by: Monica

Hey Deb

Thanks so much for posting so quickly and for pointing that out. The missing exercise is called a knee raise to warrior one or knee raise to single leg deadlift.

All the exercises in this workout are designed to lengthen the hamstrings, hip flexors and inner thighs. They require tons of core activation (TVA activation), glute activation as well as balance so take it slow and breathe deeply : ) This workout is strictly for rehab and pain relief.

My friend Jeri said she noticed a difference in 2 weeks after starting with these. I recently had a 60 year old client with serious hip pain doing a similar version of this and she also noticed a difference in just two weeks.

More mobility, flexibility, and functional exercises coming soon.

Thank you!
by: Tracy

I had to give up running a year ago because the asymmetrical imbalance of my hips and ankles are giving me shin splints and ankle/knee pain. I have been trying to strengthen them since then but never found anything that addresses the issues specifically. Do you have any more resources I can turn to??

balancing the lower body
by: Monica

Hi Tracy, I have a whole arsenal of tools that I use to help clients balance their lower body. I'll list them first and place a star next to the ones I've found work best. You can find all this stuff on my amazon home gym shop.

Egoscue Method*
Franklin Method (with thera-bands)
Foam Rollers*
Shiva Rea Vinyasa** (her best dvds are fluid power or yoga shakti)
Kinesio Taping Method
Miracle Ball Method
Yamuna Body Rolling
Scott Sonnon's Intu Flow*

What I generally do with a client when they come in with this type of issue is I figure out what areas need length, which areas need strength, which areas are facilitatated (they're doing all the work), which areas are doing no work. This can vary from side to side and front to back, top to bottom.

I then take them through 5-10 min. of Egoscue Method followed by 5 min. of IntuFlow mobility drills, then we do functional exercises for 20 min. followed by any fluid power vinyasa moves that are appropriate for their level or situation for another 10-15 min. then if we have time we foam roller and we finish up again with a bit of Egoscue.

It's not complicated to figure out your own routine. Just listen to what your body needs and find the exercises and therapies that are right for you. Different things work for different people and often certain combinations work best for some than for others.

I'll be posting more of this type of stuff in the next few weeks so be sure to check the blog for more videos.

functional Lower Body WO
by: Deb

Well I ordered some discs and got right on this workout...I love it! At first my knees were giving me trouble but I'm only on the fourth day of this and can feel my knees getting stonger. In fact my lower back is already feeling better, my balance is better, and I will be back hiking by next week. Thank you so much for this workout and for all you do to keep me going. I may very well be cancelling the appointment I made with the orthopedic doctor in two weeks. That's how much better I feel in only four days!! Thanks!

Love this workout!
by: Deb

Thank you Monica! I have been at this workout for a week and a half. I cancelled the doctor (orthopedic) appointment and went hiking in the Cabinet Wilderness Area yesterday. I was able to hike ten miles without pain, just some tiredness. And the doc I saw last (hoping for some PT)said "at your age" (I'm only 57!)be glad if you can walk 5 miles. I really dislike the "at your age" comment. Unless it is preceeded by "wow"! Anyway, this is a great workout and I'm glad to be able to prove the...doc...wrong. Deb

functional exercises are pretty amazing!
by: Monica

Happy to hear this workout is helping you. Be careful and progress into more intense exercises slowly to allow your body to fully heal or adapt to postural corrections : )

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