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…).
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.
If you’re brand new to exercise (and/or strength training), one set of each exercise pair is likely enough. More experienced? Need a bit more of a challenge? Try a second (and even a third) time through each super-set. The key is to listen to your body and work at a level that’s challenging, leaves you feeling like your had a good workout and lets you walk up and down the stairs the next day without too much discomfort :-).
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?