Top: Neck Happy Middle & Bottom: Neck Sad & Straining
In the world of COVID-19 where many people are doing workouts from home you may not have an instructor cueing you to modify. And even if you do as in the case of a virtual workout, having exercise modifications that you can always go to and learn for you body is helpful. I often say one way to tell if someone is ready to move to advanced exercises is not just about strength, but about whether they know their body well enough to know when to modify and they are familiar enough with the moves that they can modify without being told.
Basic Tips for Exercise Modifications
Here are some general rules you can follow to modify a move:
If your back or hips hurt with legs in the air try 1 or both feet on the floor (bent)
If your neck hurts when doing abs, put your head down on the floor. It doesn’t always make the move easier. Often it makes it different hard. You can always come back up, but working through strain is not how you make gains. Check out the image above for ideal neck alignment. If you can’t find that or maintain it take breaks.
Do your wrists hurt? Depending on the move you can come onto your elbows or prop yourself up on your fingers.
If your back hurts during seated exercises consider propping yourself up on something a little higher that can support your weight or if the legs are straight try putting a soft bend in them.
If your knees hurt try kneeling on a foam pad or fold your mat a few times for extra padding. But don’t force yourself to kneel if that still doesn’t feel good. If your knees bother you on squats make the moves smaller.
If your hips hurt when your legs are straight in the air, bend them.
Modifying is not bailing on the movement. In fact if you can get comfortable modifying when you need to chances are you are targeting the goal muscles more effectively and you will likely make gains faster with less risk of injury. Exercises modifications are a win all around.
This video will talk you through and show you many of those described above. If you need another one reach out. I’m happy to add more.
Click here for tips on thinking about your body during daily life and making better choices for it.
Don’t be afraid to try a new exercise. Take your time building up. If you haven’t perfected it yet, you have not failed…you’ve failed when you have given up. Click here for more.
Thank you for giving your time to stop and read my blog. I hope it encourages you to keep moving. Move and the body will be happier. And when you're moving you can hike, run, swim in Jell-O, race over non-Newtonian fluids, travel the world or build igloos--if that's your thing. If not, you can watch me do it. This is just a spot to try and feel good about life.