Train Smarter with Functional Movement Exercises


When I first started working out, I used to think that I had to work all of my “problem” areas to get results where I wanted them. So I crunched away for a flatter tummy and bicep curled for nicer arms, lunged and squatted for nicer legs – completely ignoring the rest of my body and as a result slowly got nowhere.

Working out like a body builder (unless you’re a body builder) is a very inefficient way to train. If you think about it, it’s unnatural for your body to just move one muscle group at any one time.

When you lift, push, throw, run or jump you use your whole body. Training this way can lead to many injuries, posture issues and imbalance in your physique. Your body never just moves one muscle, so train smarter with functional movement exercises that move your body as a whole and strengthen all the little guys that move the bigger muscles.


How do you do this?

Well, you can start with functional movement patterns that move in all three planes of movement:

  1. Sagittal
  2. Frontal
  3. Transverse


Most workouts just focus on sagittal movement, moving front to back (this involves your basic squat, lunge, bicep curls and crunches). Why? Because it’s something we do every day and it’s also very easy to teach. But moving in just one plane makes you prone to posture issues, inflexibility and injuries which is a big MNB no no. When planning your workouts, switch it up by adding side lunges, speed skaters, lateral shoulder raises, start jumps etc for frontal plane movement and add some twisting motions like Russian twists with a medicine ball or cable chops to move in the transverse plane. By moving more holistically your body will become stronger, you will be more symmetrical and reduce the risk of injury.

Here’s a list of go-to exercises if you get stuck:


So, next time you’re off to the gym or your local park for a workout, remember to train smarter and embrace the functional movement method. Pick some exercises from the table above and incorporate them in your workout to target all three planes of movement.


Valeria xx SSOTWwellnest-valeria_bio (1)

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MNB TEAM: Hey Sporty Sister! Thanks for stopping by Move Nourish Believe. We are the team behind this beautiful site full of pretty pictures, wise words and tools to help you live your best active life. If you have any suggestions, would like to feature on here or have something you'd like us to talk about, email us at Oh & be sure to bookmark the site or save it on your desktop. This way you will be sure to start your day off on the right note or get a little pick me-up when three thirtyitis strikes. We also make a pretty good travel companion too! We hope to see you real soon & don’t forget to MNB always. Xx


    1. Profile photo of MNB TEAMMNB TEAM Post authoron said:

      Hi Hannah,

      Glad you love Valeria’s article as much as we do! Oh yes, it can be tricky trying to master exercises without a PT to guide you.

      If you go to our home page, scroll down to Categories and select Move – you’ll be able to search through our archive of workout moves and tips. Here’s a few of our favourite workout posts to get you started:

      Alternatively, you could grab a fit friend and ask them to show you a few moves in your local park or write you an exercise plan. Working out is always better together :)

      MNB xx

  1. Lara on said:

    This is a fantastic explanation and article of the functional movement patterns. I, also used to only work on sit ups or lunges and didn’t vary my movements. My body is slowly getting there with a year under my belt of training and working out. Great ideas to change your training to keep your body guessing.
    Thank you Valeria for this information!

    1. Profile photo of MNB TEAMMNB TEAM Post authoron said:

      Hi Lara,

      Isn’t it an eye-opener! We’re always learning something new from Valeria. Let us know how you go with switching up your movements, we bet your body will love it!

      MNB xx

  2. Ange on said:

    Functional movement is so important. Great article explaining it.
    As for classes that incoroprate these moves Les Mills have one out called CXWorks its a 30 mins work out and is specifically targeting core muscles but it is also known for its functionality as well have a look online at

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