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Functional Workout | Full Body Strength & Conditioning

Updated: Dec 19, 2023

A group of exercisers completing a functional workout.

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This functional workout has been designed to develop dynamic fitness, core strength, and muscle endurance. Because it’s comprised of big functional exercises, it also engages all the major muscle groups. And if you have a go at the end of workout fitness challenge, your heart and aerobic system will be stimulated.

Why do this functional workout?

As briefly outlined above, this functional workout promotes several fitness benefits. The range of functional exercises can help enhance complete strength.

For example, the kettlebell swing into snatch pull improves strength in the lower back and upper body. In addition, because this exercise destabilises your position, you must maintain muscle contraction constantly to keep control of the kettlebell.

This functional workout also improves muscular endurance. Partly for the reason outlined above, performing functional exercises engage a wide range of muscles including those of the posterior chain. The kettlebell overhead lunge or sumo squat into high pull, for example, activates almost every muscle in the body. Performing these exercises work the quadriceps, glutes, lower back, core, and a whole host of upper body muscles.

This is a hallmark of functional movements. Unlike static or isolation exercises, which engage a narrow and specific group of muscles, functional exercises typically stimulate the whole body. Thus, you get more bang for your buck with functional workouts.

Function workout fitness benefits

  • Whole-body training session

  • Improved functional fitness

  • Improved core stability

  • Increased muscle strength and control

  • Increased muscle endurance

  • Enhanced muscle definition

  • Engage your muscles in unconventional ways

  • Fat loss and activated aerobic system

How to do this functional workout

Before starting the workout, it is important to warm-up first. A 10-minute progressive warm-up can improve exercise performance while reducing injury risk.

There are two ways that you can approach this functional workout. The first is structured similarly to a standard gym session. Starting at the first exercise, kettlebell swing into snatch pull, select the desired number of sets and reps, and proceed to work through them. Once all the sets have been completed progress to the next exercise in the workout.

Related: Best Competition Kettlebells >

The second approach is organised into an AMRAP (as many reps as possible). After setting a five-minute countdown timer, your objective is to complete as many reps on each of the six exercises as possible. To clarify, you are spending five minutes on each exercise. Concluding the AMRAP, take a two-minute rest before moving on.

Functional workout warm-up

Begin the warm-up with a 1000-metre row. Concluding the initial warm-up phase, progress through the cardio into resistance pairing four times: 250-metres row followed by 10 kettlebell swings.

Functional workout

1: Kettlebell swing into snatch pull

Option one: 3 to 5 sets of 12 to 20 reps

Option two: 5-minute AMRAP

Key techniques

  • Standing directly over a kettlebell, bend at the knees and grasp the handle with one hand.

  • Pull the bell back between your legs then propel it forward from your hips.

  • The first part of the exercise as described is a single-arm swing.

  • To perform the snatch pull: as the kettlebell passes into the zone of your torso, pull it to your chest.

  • The kettlebell handle should very nearly touch your chest or anterior deltoid.

  • From here, push it back out and repeat the movement.

2: Kettlebell overhead lunge

Option one: 3 to 5 sets of 12 to 20 reps (each leg)

Option two: 5-minute AMRAP (alternate legs)

Key techniques

  • To get the kettlebell into position, perform a snatch or clean and jerk – your choice.

  • With the kettlebell suspended overhead, which is where it must remain for the lunge, proceed to perform a lung.

  • Remember, you are stepping forward with the leg on the same side as the kettlebell.

  • As you step forward step out a little as well. This helps to stabilise the position. Also, do not allow the kneecap of the rear leg to touch the floor.

  • To return to the start position, push back with the lead leg.

  • If you have selected option one, complete all the reps on one leg before changing.

  • If you have selected option two, change hands after each completed rep. This will ensure that you perform an equal number of reps on both legs.

3: Kettlebell under the leg pass

Option one: 3 to 5 sets of 12 to 20 reps (one pass constitutes one rep)

Option two: 5-minute AMRAP (alternate legs)

Key techniques

  • Stand over the kettlebell and adopt a one and half shoulder-width stance.

  • Bend the knees and grasp the kettlebell with one hand. The knees remain bent throughout the exercise.

  • Now in a partial squat, the kettlebell is about a foot off the floor, proceed to thread it back through the legs.

  • The other hand is open and prepared to receive the pass.

  • To make transitions smoother, hold the handle at the corner. This creates more handle space for the receiving hand.

  • The back should remain straight throughout the movement.

Related: Best Olympic Barbell for the Home gym

4: Sumo squat into high pull

Option one: 3 to 5 sets of 12 to 20 reps

Option two: 5-minute AMRAP

Key techniques

  • Standing in front of an Olympic barbell, preferably loaded with bumper plates, adopt the sumo squat stance: feet are spaced one and a half shoulder-widths.

  • Bending at the knees, take a shoulder-width hand grip on the bar.

  • The exercise is comprised of two distinct phases. However, they should be performed in a single movement.

  • Phase one: execute a sumo squat.

  • Phase two: just before the legs straighten pull the bar up to the chin.

  • If you’re using bumper plates drop the bar. If not, retrace your steps under control.

5: Hang clean

Option one: 3 to 5 sets of 12 to 20 reps

Option two: 5-minute AMRAP

Key techniques

  • Holding an Olympic barbell at your front, the bar is resting against the upper quads, adopt a neutral stance.

  • Both your feet and hands are spaced shoulder-width apart.

  • To initiate the exercise, hinge forward at the hips.

  • Using lower back, trapezius, and arm strength clean the bar into the front rack position.

  • To assist the lift, you can physically thrust the bar up with the quads or hips.

  • As the bar comes to rest across the anterior deltoids – front rack – simultaneously rotate the hands round. This action raises the elbows which locks the bar in position.

  • To complete the exercise, either drop the bar (if you’re using bumper plates) or return under control.

6: Barbell thruster

Option one: 3 to 5 sets of 12 to 20 reps

Option two: 5-minute AMRAP

Key techniques

  • Standing with an Olympic barbell front racked – the concluding position of the hang clean – organise your feet and hands. Both should be spaced about shoulder width.

  • To initiate the exercise, first squat to 90 degrees.

  • Using quad and glute strength fire out of the squat.

  • Use this energy and momentum to assist with the should press.

  • As with the sumo squat into high pull, the thruster is comprised of two separate exercises: squat and push press. However, the thruster should be performed as one fluid movement.

An image of the Hungry4Fitness Functional Workout session plan.

Functional workout fitness challenge

If you’ve still got juice left in the tank after the functional workout, have a go at the following fitness challenge.

The challenge consists of rowing intervals and sets of thrusters. Your objective is to complete the exercises in the shortest time possible.

First, row 250-metres. Remember, because this is a challenge, you should maintain near-maximal intensity.

As soon as you cross the line, hop off the rower and perform 10 thrusters. The barbell should be relatively light, about 30 to 40% of your one-rep max (1RM).

That’s one set. You are to complete 10 sets of the pairings in total. Concluding the challenge, you will have rowed 2500-metres and performed 100 reps of thrusters. See the tracker below.

A chart showing a functional workout pairing of exercises.


Enjoyed this functional workout?

Get your hands on 70 more with the Hungry4Fitness Book of Circuits & Workouts Volume 2.

This image shows the Hungry4Fitness book of circuits and workouts volume two. Inside the image it identifies the key features of the book which include: Over 70 fully customisable circuits and workouts suitable for all levels of fitness and ability; 4-Week Functional Fitness Training Programme; How to create your own circuits and workouts including essential training principles; Key exercise explanations and tutorials; A complete guide to fitness testing; The 10,000 Kettlebell Swing Challenge; CrossFit-style training sessions including EMOM, AMRAP, and HIIT workouts; An illustrated, step-by-step guide to stretching.


About Adam Priest –

A former Royal Marines Commando, Adam Priest is a content writer, college lecturer, and health and wellbeing practitioner. He is also a fitness author and contributor to other websites. Connect with Adam at

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