The Functionally Fit Fast Workout — Presses: Chest, Shoulders, Thighs (Part IV)

This is Part IV of a six-part video-based workout series on getting functionally fit fast.

strong boy overhead press
Note: This is part of my FREE guide, Transform Your Body and Mind. Go here and get the rest.

The 6-Part Functional Strength Series

  • Part I gets you oriented to the workout, including the important “Workout Guidelines” and “Workout Routine”, which are presented below.
  • Part II  focuses on mobility, which is the full range of motion in joints, and flexibility in ligaments and muscle, as well as some specialized exercises for overlooked muscles.
  • Part III focuses on the back, lats, glutes and calves.
  • Part IV is what you’re now reading and focuses on the chest, shoulders and thighs.
  • Part V focuses on chest, biceps and triceps.
  • Part VI focuses on very important post-weight lifting stretches.
[Continuing from Part III…]


4. Presses: Chest/ Shoulders/Thighs 3X Workout

Presses use the muscles that shorten as the movement is done, as opposed to “pulls” where typically the muscles lengthen when the movement is done (the dead lifting being an outlier). For instance, the bench press is a movement whereby the pectoral muscles are lengthened when the bar is on your chest, and lengthened when the arms are extended; whereas the bent over row, for instance, is a movement whereby the latissimus dorsi (lats) muscles are lengthened when the arms are extended and contract when the bar (or dumbbells or body if doing chin-ups/pull-ups) is pulled to the body.

4.1 Presses

This part of your workout begins with a shoulder press.

If you don’t have a barbell, use dumbbells, or one at a time as our innovator par excellence, Ben Bruno, demonstrates:

Yeah, a nutty way to press a dumbbell, but this technique introduces instability which will require strength and balance to overcome.

Move directly to…


4.2 Squat

There’s a near infinite number of ways to do a squat, but if you haven’t done them much, begin with a “free squat”, which means without weights. Then progress to squatting with dumbbells before you move on to the barbell.

Once you can do more than 40 reps, add weight. But not much. Form is critical. Have an exercise instructor assist you.



You’re huffing and puffing by the time you done with squats, but move quickly to…


4.3 Bench Press

If you don’t have weight, do push-ups. There’s something for everyone here:


Have a bench and barbell? Well, try this:


Dumbbell version:


Right after you’ve done one of the three above chest exercises, go do the calf raises…

4.4 Calf Raises

As discussed in Part III where calf raises were introduced, this is your rest period. Yes, you’re working your calves, but you’ll be able to catch your breath while doing so.

There are three muscles in the calf, and you work each of them by pronating your toes in, parallel and out. So, start if toes in and do the reps relative to the weight you’re using, but not less than five, then immediately go to the parallel position for five, and finally the toe-out position for the last five.

in the example below, the woman is on a weighted calf raise machine, but you can do the same exercise without weights, on one leg at a time, or holding a dumb bell. She does not turn her toes in, parallel and out, but you can.


After completing the calf raises, rest for three minutes or less before you move on to the fourth sequence of compound exercises for this workout.

Ready for Part V?


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Last Updated on August 27, 2023 by Joe Garma

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Joe Garma

I help people live with more vitality and strength. I'm a big believer in sustainability, and am a bit nutty about optimizing my diet, supplements, hormones and exercise. To get exclusive Updates, tips and be on your way to a stronger, more youthful body, join my weekly Newsletter. You can also find me on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.

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