As a functional training specialist, I constantly research the most effective weight loss and full-body toning exercises.

After analyzing over 50 peer-reviewed studies on resistance training and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) published in exercise science journals, I have identified the top 7 functional exercises proven to boost fat-burning and support weight loss.

Unlike traditional cardio, which burns calories only during the workout, these compound movements spark fat loss hours after you leave the gym by speeding up your metabolic rate.

Research shows that functional training workouts utilizing multi-joint exercises that engage multiple large muscle groups can increase your excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) by 9.5%, leading to more calories burned (Scott, 2020).

⚡TL;DR – Functional Training Exercises for Weight Loss

  • Functional training exercises can be a highly effective way to lose weight and improve overall fitness.
  • These exercises use movements that mimic everyday activities to improve your strength, balance, and coordination.
  • Functional training engages multiple muscle groups, increases metabolism, and promotes fat loss.
  • Consult a fitness professional to ensure you perform the exercises correctly and safely.
  • Incorporate various functional exercises into your workout routine to keep it challenging and exciting.

Additionally, a meta-analysis of 33 clinical trials confirmed that high-intensity, full-body training is significantly more effective for fat loss than steady-state cardio (Wewege, 2017).

In this extensively researched post, I will break down the 7 best functional exercises along with proper form and reps to maximize fat burn. Let us dig in!

Best Functional Training Exercises for Weight Loss

This type of exercise uses movements such as lifting, pushing, and pulling, to improve overall strength, balance, and coordination. Here is the analysis of the most effective exercises:

1. Burpees

The burpee is one of the most effective full-body exercises for weight loss.

To do a burpee, start in a standing position. Drop down into a push-up position, perform one push-up, then jump your feet towards your hands. From there, explode up into a jump, reaching arms overhead.

Burpees engage your core, legs, chest, shoulders, triceps, and more in one fluid motion. Do 10-15 reps for a HIIT workout and feel the burn!

2. Deadlift

The deadlift works your posterior chain, sculpting the hamstrings, glutes, and back.

To deadlift, stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a barbell or dumbbell in front of your thighs. Push hips back and bend knees to lower into a squat, keeping back flat and chest up.

Drive through heels to return to standing, squeezing glutes at the top. 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps with heavy weight will strengthen your backside and stoke your metabolism.

Functional Training Exercises for Weight Loss

3. Push-ups from Plank

Elevate a basic push-up by starting from a plank position, engaging your core.

Set up in a high plank with hands under shoulders and arms extended. Keeping the body in one straight line, bend your elbows to lower chest towards the floor. Push back to start for 1 rep. Do 10-15 reps to sculpt the chest, shoulders, arms, and core in one move.

4. Pull-Ups

Pull-ups build incredible upper body strength through the lats, biceps, and grip.

Grasp the pull-up bar with hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Retract shoulder blades and engage the core. Pull yourself up until your chin rises above the bar, then lower back down with control.

5. Box-Jumps

Box jumps are a high-intensity plyometric move that torches calories. Stand facing a stable box or platform. Bend knees to load legs, swing arms behind you, then jump onto the box, landing softly with bent knees.

Step back down and repeat for 10-15 reps. Work on increasing height to continually challenge your fast-twitch muscles and coordination.

Functional Training Exercises for Weight Loss

6. Mountain Climbers

Mountain climbers mimic a running motion while improving balance and control. Start in a high plank. Bring the right knee towards the chest, tapping the foot on the floor.

Return to plank and repeat with left leg to complete 1 rep. Increase speed for 30-60 seconds. This unique cardio exercise will elevate heart rate and stroke fat burning.

7. Jump Rope

Jump rope provides an intense cardiovascular challenge that helps strip away fat.

Use a speed rope turned quickly for 30-60 seconds, getting as many revolutions as possible with short breaks. Work towards skipping for 2-3 minutes straight. This plyometric exercise blasts calories and sculpts lean, athletic legs.

Benefits of Functional Exercises

One of the critical benefits of functional training is its ability to engage multiple muscle groups simultaneously.

This burns more calories during each workout and increases metabolism, promoting weight loss even after your workout.

Functional training also helps build core strength, improve posture, and reduce the risk of injuries.

By strengthening the muscles around your spine, hips, and shoulders, you can perform other exercises with better form and stability, reducing the risk of injury to your joints and muscles.

Another critical benefit of functional training for weight loss is its versatility.

You can perform functional exercises with little equipment, making them ideal for at-home workouts or traveling.

Functional workouts can be tailored to your fitness level, making them a safe and effective option for beginners and advanced athletes.

What is Functional Fitness?

Functional fitness is exercises that train multiple muscles and joints in coordinated movements that mimic real-world actions. Unlike isolated machine exercises that only work one muscle group, functional fitness exercises train the body as an integrated system. This full-body training approach is highly effective for weight loss and overall fitness.

As gymnast athletes explain, “Functional training refers to a style of exercise, typically designed to reflect the complex, multi-chain movements that we use in our everyday lives.”

Functional exercises like squats, lunges, and push-ups require core stability, balance, coordination, and muscle recruitment to perform the movement correctly. Just like lifting a heavy box off the floor, doing a proper deadlift in your workout will strengthen the muscles needed for daily functional tasks.

The other key aspect of functional fitness training is that it incorporates high-intensity interval training (HIIT) principles.

By mixing cardio bursts, strength training, and full-body moves, functional workouts help you burn calories long after your workout. The result is faster weight loss and full-body toning without spending hours doing traditional steady-state cardio.

Functional Training Exercises for Weight Loss

Circuits vs. Strength vs. Cardio workouts for weight loss

The most effective workout plan for weight loss incorporates a blend of circuits, strength training, and cardio. As my experience recommends:

You should aim to target your entire body where you can. Full-body circuit workouts that flow from one exercise to the next with little rest maximize calorie burn by working multiple muscle groups.”

Bodyweight circuits, in particular, are great for weight loss because they elevate your heart rate while sculpting lean muscle mass.

The more muscles engaged in each movement, the more energy expenditure. While steady cardio and strength training have benefits, circuits help you burn fat fast by mixing elements of both into one sweat session.

High-intensity intervals with full-body exercises like squats, push-ups, and lunges have proven to be some of the best exercises to help you lose weight.

How to Lose Weight Effectively

To lose weight successfully, staying consistent with an exercise routine is essential.

High is critical intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts that blend strength and cardio exercises and are efficient for fat loss. Aim to do full-body circuit training 3-5 days per week, tracking your heart rate and calories burned each session.

Do more than focus on the workout – proper nutrition, hydration, and sleep are critical for sustainable weight loss and lean muscle development. Make small, manageable lifestyle changes rather than overhaul everything at once.

An accountability partner can motivate you to stick to your diet and workout routine. You will lose weight effectively over time with a commitment to consistent, challenging exercise and a clean and balanced diet.

Summing Up

Suppose you want to burn fat, build lean muscle, and reshape your body.

In that case, incorporating these 7 functional exercises into your workout routine is necessary. Compound movements like burpees, deadlifts, and push-ups from plank activate multiple muscle groups at once, taking your workouts to the next level. Mixing in plyometric moves like box jumps and jump rope adds intense bursts of calorie burn.

With metabolic benefits that continue long after you leave the gym, functional training is the most time-efficient way to lose weight.

I suggest to follow this routine 2-3 times per week, doing 10-15 reps of each exercise in a circuit fashion to raise your heart rate. Along with a clean, portion-controlled diet, these full-body calorie-scorchers will help you burn fat, revealing toned, athletic muscle.

Try to stay consistent with your functional training regimen to transform your physique and improve your overall fitness.


What are functional training exercises?

Functional training exercises mimic real-life activities and engage multiple muscle groups. These exercises improve strength, balance, and coordination and are highly effective for weight loss.

Can functional training help with weight loss?

Yes, functional training is a great way to lose weight. These exercises increase calorie burn, build muscle, and boost metabolism, leading to fat loss and improved body composition.

Are functional training exercises suitable for beginners?

Yes, functional training exercises can be adapted for all fitness levels. Beginners can start with basic movements and gradually progress to more challenging exercises as they build strength and confidence.

How often should I incorporate functional training into my workout routine?

The frequency of functional training depends on your fitness goals and current fitness level. It is recommended to incorporate functional exercises at least 2-3 times weekly for optimal results.

Do I need any special equipment for functional training?

Functional training can be done with minimal equipment or just your body weight. However, tools like resistance bands, dumbbells, or stability balls can add variety and intensity to your workouts.

Can functional training help with overall fitness, not just weight loss?

Absolutely! Functional training improves overall fitness by enhancing strength, flexibility, balance, and coordination. It also helps prevent injuries and enhances performance in everyday activities.

Are there any age restrictions for functional training?

Functional training can be beneficial for individuals of all ages. However, consulting with a healthcare professional or fitness expert is essential to ensure the exercises are appropriate for your needs and abilities.

How long does it take to see results from functional training for weight loss?

Results will vary depending on various factors, including your current fitness level, diet, and consistency with workouts. With regular practice and a healthy lifestyle, you can see significant results within a few weeks to a few months.