Exercise Modifications for Every Fitness Level

Let’s face it, nobody ever wants to get injured, but they particularly do not want to get injured when they are working out and supposedly doing something that they think is benefitting them and their health. It can be extremely frustrating to finally commit to an exercise program just to have those ambitions cut short with a short or long-term injury. Exercise is supposed to be fun, exhilarating, stress relieving, calorie crushing but it is also supposed to be safe. Injuries sometimes happen and are not 100% avoidable in workouts. However, there are a few things that you can do especially if you are a beginner that will put you in the best position possible to decrease the likelihood of injuring yourself in a workout such as the following:


Be Realistic About Your Fitness Level

Obviously having confidence in your abilities is a great characteristic to have. But at the same time, displaying a certain level of consciousness about what you are capable of REALLY doing can be the difference between you making it back into the gym tomorrow for a workout or having the need to take the next 6 months to rehabilitate a torn muscle. Discover your fitness level by visiting this link: http://totalgymdirect.com/total- gym-blog/how-to-determine-your-fitness-level


Take Baby Steps

This one piggy backs the above sentiment about knowing where you currently are and where you want to be. If you haven’t worked out for over a year, it is probably in your best interest not to try to lift or do as much as you did when you were in high school. Start where you are and continually get better every single day no matter what your perceived obstacle is. Time is usually the biggest reason that people say that they don’t have time to workout but you can even use baby steps here too and begin with 20 – 30 minute workouts for the first month to build a foundation and then go from there. If time is an issue for you, try visiting the following link to help you to find time to place your health and fitness at the forefront of your life: https://blog.totalgymdirect.com/finding-time-for-your-health- and-fitness


Focus on Your Form

This is a biggie right here because it is the place that a lot of people get injured. Way too often people will mimic in the gym what they saw someone else do, what they saw in a magazine, or what they found on online/social media and the problem with that is the proper assistance is not getting requested nor is the research to do it correctly is being conducted. Form is the most important part of every exercise that you do because one small thing done incorrectly can have a long-term effect on you. If you are going to be exercising on a regular basis, it is definitely worth it for you to either do the research on your own proper for proper form or hire a professional (a la Personal Trainer) to help you safely navigate your form during your workout.


Constantly Switch Up Your Workouts

Consistently varying your workouts can have a huge positive impact on not only your fitness results but also from preventing injury for yourself. It is hugely important to switch up your workouts to avoid burning them out so that your muscles don’t get overused and exhausted by doing the same exact routine every single day which allows your muscle to increase the risk of injury. The bonus that you receive from also switching up your workouts is that you get to keep the body guessing by providing some muscle confusion which helps to speed up the results that you receive!


Modify When You Need To

There is no shame at all in modifying your workouts. Too frequently, people will show that they are too prideful when it comes to working out and not wanting to look “weak” among to their peers or even just to themselves. But you have probably caught on by now that the message in this blog piece that you are reading is simply, SAFETY FIRST AT ALL TIMES. This ties directly back to the tip listed above at #3 where you have to do your research or hire a professional to know that you are doing something correctly or incorrectly when you are exercising. I’ll be the first to admit that men probably struggle the most when it comes to swallowing their pride, especially when it comes to fitness and modifying exercises and if you are one of those guys who need to learn a few secrets to help you to leave your ego at the door and elevate your fitness level, please visit the following link: https://blog.totalgymdirect.com/five-fitness-secrets-for-men. Just remember that there is never a reason to push to the limit and simultaneously allow your form to be sacrificed during a workout…NEVER!


To help you identify a few modifications for common callisthenic exercises, please check out the following:

  • Pushups: Start in a high plank position. Place hands firmly on the ground, directly under shoulders. Ground toes into the floor to stabilize your lower half. Brace core (tighten abs as if preparing to take a punch), engage glutes and hamstrings, and flatten your back so your entire body is neutral and straight. Begin to lower your body—keeping back flat and eyes focused about three feet in front of you to maintain a neutral neck—until chest grazes floor. Don’t let your butt dip or stick out at any point during the move; your body should remain in a straight line from head to toe. Draw shoulder blades back and down, keeping elbows tucked close to your body (don’t “T” your arms). Keeping core engaged, exhale as you push back to starting position.
    • Modified Pushups: Begin in a kneeling position on a mat with hands below shoulders and knees behind hips so back is angled and long. Tuck toes under, tighten abdominals, and bend elbows to lower chest toward the floor. Keep your gaze in front of your fingertips so neck stays long. Press chest back up to start position. Repeat for desired number of repetitions.
  • Lunges: Keep your upper body straight, with your shoulders back and relaxed and chin up while engaging your midsection. Step forward with one leg, lowering your hips until both knees are bent at about a 90-degree angle. Make sure your front knee is directly above your ankle and make sure your other knee doesn’t touch the floor. Keep the weight in your heels as you push back up to the starting
    • Modified Lunge: Decrease your range of motion where you only lower yourself down halfway to help you keep good form without putting pressure on the knees.
  • Squats: Stand with your head facing forward and your chest held up and Place your feet shoulder-width apart or slightly wider. Extend your hands straight out in front of you to help keep your balance. You can also bend the elbows or clasp the fingers. Sit back and down like you’re sitting into an imaginary chair. Keep your head facing forward as your upper body bends forward a bit. Rather than allowing your back to round, let your lower back arch slightly as you descend. Lower down so your thighs are as parallel to the floor as possible, with your knees over your ankles. Press your weight back into your heels. Keep your body tight, and push through your heels to bring yourself back to the starting position.


    • Modified Squat: Use a wall to help support your back while you slide into a squat position. Just make sure that the knees stay behind the toes and only slide down as far as you comfortably can without placing too much pressure on your

Mike Robinson

Mike Z. Robinson is the owner of the highly successful personal training facility, MZR Fitness as well as Mike Z. Robinson Enterprises which features & highlights a myriad of options to help fitness professionals grow their businesses and careers. Mike was the 2015 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, is the author of the E-Book: “Fitness Up, Everything Up”, and he is also a Media Spokesperson for both the American Council on Exercise & IDEA Health & Fitness Association.

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