No Shame in the Modification Game
Strive for progress, not perfection
It doesn’t matter if you’re a fitness newbie or a seasoned veteran–-when you find yourself needing to modify a particular exercise, it usually isn’t something that is embraced with open arms. We seem to have an almost defeatist attitude about it – like we didn’t hold up to our full potential or we failed. The crazy thing about this is that the exact opposite is true: Modifications are the key to a better, safer workout. Modifying doesn’t mean you are doing less than everyone else, it just means you are doing all that your body is physically capable of doing. Modifications bridge a gap where exercise may have otherwise ceased altogether. For those recovering from an injury or ailment, alternative movements keep them moving as they rebuild strength and expand range of motion. Modifications also protect against future injury. If it hurts, don't do it!
The Most Common Modifications
1. Reducing impact. High impact exercises involve anything that get both feet off the ground at the same time-running, jumping, etc. The easiest way to modify here is to eliminate the jumps, slow down, and focus on form.
Examples: Squats, lunges, marching in place
2. Reducing range of motion. This is about making movements smaller.
Examples: For a squat, only descending a couple of inches as opposed to a full deep squat, or doing push-ups from the knees instead of plank position
3. Increasing stability. This can involve using a chair or the wall for balance, keeping both feet on the ground as opposed to isolating to one leg, or going to the floor or a non-moving surface depending on the exercise.
Examples: holding the back of a chair for lunges or skipping single leg deadlifts in favor of doing regular deadlifts
4. Reducing reps and weight. It's always ok to go at your own pace and reduce your load. You can always build up over time!
Listen to your body. It’s always important to remember that the end goal is improving and maintaining our health, and that's going to look different person to person. It's important to make protecting it a priority!