Learn Functional Fitness From Ice Climber Manoah Ainuu

How this climber with his eyes on Everest finally blended total-body mobility with his mountain-ready muscle.

“Functional” anything sounds boring—we get it. But in fitness, functional is one of the most exciting adjectives out there. It’s a catchall word to describe the moves and exercises that prep your body for real-life activities. The pandemic forced people away from gyms and led to a surge in outdoor exercise. We quickly realized that our workouts hadn’t exactly prepared us for wild environments. That extra muscle we’d built in the gym only weighed us down on trail runs and hikes. We rolled ankles and injured knees because we’d only trained on perfect gym surfaces and lacked the right combination of mobility and stability. The 72 degree indoor environment hadn’t readied us for temperature swings, the elements, and the general unpredictability of the outdoors. It’s time to make your fitness truly functional again by lifting heavy awkward objects, climbing and crawling and jumping more, redlining your cardio, and engaging in other total-body sweat shenanigans. Nobody knows and appreciates this more than Manoah Ainuu. Master his lessons in mobility and you’ll have fun getting in the best shape of your life.

Indoors in the gym, outdoors on the mountain, or even at home, contorting yourself to crawl under a bed to retrieve a toy, mobility matters. Not sure what “mobility” is? It’s your joints’ ability to be both flexible and stable at once—and it’s a quality that allows you to stay strong no matter how you twist and turn. Without it, everything from catching a football to sitting cross-legged becomes a challenge.