Making online workouts your own

If you’re into fitness (raises hand) and spend a lot of time online (guilty again), your news feed is probably bombarded with YouTube exercise videos and ‘Pinnable’ workouts (I know mine is and hopefully, some of the workouts in your news feed are ones I’ve created…).

online workouts

I ‘pin’ a ton of workouts. Do you?

The thing is, those online workouts weren’t put together with you in mind. Your body. Your fitness level. Your goals.

While they’re fun to do in a pinch (when you’re on the road or ready for a new exercise program) and may have been written by a personal trainer (someone who’s educated in the principles of workout design), chances are, you’ll need to modify them to address your own unique needs.

Common reasons for modifying a workout (with suggested work arounds) include:

  • shoulder impingement or rotator cuff injuries: substitute bent arm lateral raises for overhead work
  • arthritis in the hands and wrists: substitute supine bench exercises with dumbbells like triceps skull crushers and bench press for tricep dips and pushups, respectively
  • ‘achy’ knees that prevent pain-free squats and lunges: substitute supine hip thrusts, lateral band walks and hamstring curls on the ball to effectively target the legs and butt
  • excess body weight, poor level of fitness or joints that restrict your ability to include high impact moves: substitute high knees walking-in-place for running or jumping jacks; step, rather than jump back into the high plank portion of a burpee; stationary cycling for the upright elliptical and treadmill
  • not enough time: shorten online workouts by reducing the number of sets by one or the duration of intervals by 25-30%, rather than skipping the workout entirely or by-passing much-needed post-workout stretching
  • limited equipment: substitute dumbbells for kettlebells, sandbags and barbells (you may need to modify the exercise slightly as well); use a stability ball in lieu of a workout bench; many cable and pulley exercises can be approximated with a resistance band; bottles of milk, water and diet pop can also work as hand weights in a pinch!

One of the skills that I strive to teach my group fitness participants and personal training clients (both in person and those who belong to my online training group) is to listen to their bodies.

Pay attention to and avoid movements that cause pain. Choose more challenging versions of an exercise if it feels too easy. Substitute alternative movements for those that don’t serve you, rather than performing them incorrectly or skipping over them entirely.

Always make the workout your own.

Below is a sample of the types of workouts I share with my monthly #40plusfitness women’s online training group (not a member? I’ll be opening up registration for the October through January session next week. Bookmark this site or subscribe to my newsletter to ensure you remain in the loop).

Each exercise has two modifications; one that’s slightly less challenging, one that’s slightly more challenging.

Make this online workout your own by choosing the modification that allows you to (just) complete 12 good form repetitions. And feel free to mix and match from the three levels shown; chances are you’ll find some of the middle column options too easy while other will be too difficult.

SampleProgram

My clients performed this workout 3-4 times weekly for an entire month. (I gave them weekly progressions, including the plyometric moves between the exercise pairs during weeks 3 and 4. Feel free to include these or not, depending on whether 60 s of jumping jacks, burpees or skipping rope meets your fitness needs and abilities.)

Not sure about the correct way to perform the above exercises?

Take a peak at the Demonstration Videos that I usually only share with my monthly peeps. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a video? Closer to a million ;)

Do you ‘Pin’ online workouts to do later?

Do you ever modify them to address your own fitness level, abilities and goals?

Deloading | what is it and how might it benefit your training?

Benefits of deloading

Body builders do it. So do long distance runners, cyclists and professional athletes of all kinds. Even weekend warriors and recreational athletes can benefit from it. Deloading: what is it? Deloading is simply a planned period of recovery from … {keep reading...}

What I read on my summer vacation | fitness book reviews

Disclaimer: Ulysses Press sent me a free copy of Special Forces Fitness Training to review here. No other compensation was provided, and as always, the thoughts and opinions expressed here are all mine. Way back at the beginning of the summer I … {keep reading...}

Get a grip | 5 ways to improve grip strength

improve your grip strength

Lately, I've found myself unable to complete the last few reps of my bent-over rows, lat pulldowns, assisted pull-ups and dead lifts. Not because I've lost strength (I've actually been slowly increasing the loads I can lift on each of these … {keep reading...}

The Miracle Marathon | a family-friendly fitness fundraiser

20140813_140704

This post is part of a sponsored campaign for the Miracle Marathon; a virtual fundraiser for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals across North America. I encourage you to participate in this most worthy cause by joining my team or donating to the … {keep reading...}

3 Strength-Training Upgrades for Goddesses {guest post}

Upper body strength exercises

I've got the best surprise for you today. A guest post from my friend, fellow fitness professional, sister in strength and muscle-builder extraordinaire. Honestly, if you're a woman looking to build a killer physique,  Suzanne Digre's (aka Workout … {keep reading...}

Make your own meal plan | benefits of a boring diet

20140807_143631

Back when I started paying attention to nutrition I craved structure. A meal plan that I could follow as I learned the in's and out's of fuelling my body so that it performed well, looked good and felt great. For a couple of months, I swore by … {keep reading...}

Unsolicited advice at the gym | why it’s sometimes better to keep quiet

advice in the gym

I love that many people view their gym or workout studio as a community. That they support and encourage their fellow gym-goers. Share workout tips and tricks. Are quick to offer a spot when need be. Share equipment when it's busy. Express concern … {keep reading...}

Why 40 is NOT the new 70* | fitness after 40

SkirtSports_Gym

*with apologies to my 70-year old clients who are nowhere near ready for chair aerobics either... Earlier this summer, I pitched a draft of a book I'd like to write on the topic of fitness for the over-40 female crowd. In the process of … {keep reading...}