Intimidation is one of the top reasons for people not wanting to visit the gym. Usually, that nervous feeling comes from simply not knowing what to do when hitting the gym floor, or taking a group fitness class. It really isn’t as simple as copying the person next to you. Your workout should be tailored to your current fitness level, abilities, and goals. If you’re new to the gym or to a class, you may need to modify certain moves. The good news is that making these modifications isn’t as complicated as it sounds. If you’re struggling with a move (and are otherwise in good health), try some of the following exercise modifications to create the perfect workout for you.
One of the simplest ways to modify a workout or move is to lower the weight you’re using during each rep. If you’re having trouble with your form, ditch all weights until you’ve mastered the motion.
You can alter almost any move by making everything a bit more stable. Try using two legs instead of one, utilizing workout equipment instead of free weights, or working out on a flat surface instead of a stability ball or BOSU.
It’s important to remember, especially during group fitness classes, that workouts should remain a very individual sport. Move at a pace that is challenging but comfortable, and don’t worry about the speed of the rest of the class.
Increase Body Angle
Changing the angle of your body is a great way to build up to specific workouts. Push ups are a difficult move but are also incredible easy to modify. Doing a pushup with your hands on the wall or on a chair can prepare your muscles for the real deal later on.
For anyone with knee or joint issues, completely removing all jumps and hops from a workout can decrease the likelihood of further injury. Squat jumps, high knees, and burpees can all be modified in this way. While you’ve removed the jump, you certainly haven’t removed the bulk of the work.
Sometimes your body just needs a longer rest period between reps or sets. Don’t stress yourself out if you have to pause for a breath or sip of water more frequently than the person next to you. Remember, your workout never has to mirror anyone else’s.
Reduce Range of Motion
It can be hard to think of ways to modify moves that include a step, bench, or box. One way that often gets overlooked is simply grabbing one that’s lower to the floor. You can also complete the move without any added height. Marching or jumping in place can be effective, too.