You don’t need a personal trainer beside you to get a great workout.
Home workouts are an excellent way to develop an understanding of your own body and create a sense of independence in your exercise routine.
But what happens when you feel like your workout needs to be changed to match your fitness level?
Whether you’re new to fitness, dealing with an injury, or just feeling fatigued, modifications to a workout are normal.
When and how should you modify your home workouts?
Let’s go over some of the most important tips on modifications so that you can turn your Body FX Home Workouts into a success.
When and Why to Modify Your Workouts
Here are several reasons you should modify your home workout:
Learning Something New
If you are new to exercise or learning a new movement pattern, you should consider modifying your workout.
It is always a good idea to build a strong foundation.
You do this by learning the base movement for any exercise so that you can progress in difficulty.
You’ll also have the knowledge to regress back to the base move when needed.
Pain or Injury
Chronic pain or injury is another important reason to modify your workouts.
Exercise should be challenging but not painful.
If you feel pain, it is your body’s way of telling you something is not right. In this case you should back off and modify the movement to a place that doesn’t cause pain.
Injuries can occur when an incorrect movement pattern is repeated over time or if there is structural compensation happening in the body that affects the kinetic chain.
The body is extremely intelligent and will generally take the path of least resistance.
When you try to push through an injury, it forces other areas of the body to compensate and overwork.
Muscle Fatigue and Soreness
Additional reasons you may want to modify include fatigue and muscle soreness.
Keep in mind that your body will feel different from day to day and your workouts can adjust based on how you feel.
If your body is fatigued or sore from a previous workout, you can’t expect it to perform at the same level of intensity.
Modifications can help keep you moving and offer a lower intensity option without getting off track by missing a workout.
Increased Weight or Resistance
When we change certain variables in a workout such as the resistance, tempo, or intensity, it can be beneficial to modify in order to adapt progressively over time.
Safety should be the number one priority to decrease risk of injury and deliver better long term results.
Faster Tempos or More Explosive Movements
When you’re performing faster tempo or more explosive exercises like those seen in JNL Fusion by Body FX, it’s a good idea to modify until you adjust to the movements.
There are a variety of rhythms and tempos in the Body FX Programs, such as Rhythm Fit and Figure 8 Dance Plyo, which are specifically designed to target your muscles in different ways and will thus provide different results.
A general good rule of thumb is to maintain good form and execution above all else.
Quality over quantity.
Usually when we increase reps or speed to work on endurance, the weight/resistance needs to decrease.
On the inverse of that, when we increase the load, reps and pacing will need to go down.
Benefits of Modifications
foundation of mobility,
flexibility, stability, and
options to change up
your workout and
How to Modify Your Workouts
Now that we have talked about when to modify and the benefits of using modifications, let’s get into how to modify your workouts.
Once you have an understanding of what to do, you should feel more at ease stepping into any workout and knowing you can tailor it to your needs.
Keep in mind that all Body FX Programs feature a modifier who alters the workouts for those who need them.
So follow along with pride!
- Smaller range of motion: Reduce or limit the range while you work to improve mobility and stability.
- Slow down: Master your movement with a slow and controlled form before adding speed.
- Add Stability: Create a bigger base to make balance and stability easier. Switch single leg movements to both legs or widen your stance for more support.
- Weight/Reps: Decrease weight/resistance being used or lower your rep ranges and focus on good form and technique.
- Rest: Increase your rest time between movements or sections so you can better recover before heading back into the exercises.
- Reduce Impact: Take out big jumping plyometric movements to reduce impact and intensity. Focus first on proper landing mechanics and execution before building up to more dynamic drills.
- Keep it simple: Start with the base movement or break down something more complex into smaller pieces. You can always increase difficulty as you master the foundational exercises.
- Stay with it: You can modify for as long as you need to. You will know when it is time to increase the level of difficulty. It is more important to build the foundation of the movement and progress incrementally over time. You want to develop the strength, stability, and coordination necessary all while avoiding injury. When it no longer feels challenging, it’s time to take it up a notch.
Tips to Remember
- Start simple: start with the base move and you can always increase in difficulty.
- Listen: Each day feels different. Listen to what your body needs as it changes daily.
- Repetition: The best way to learn movement patterns and improve technique is through repetition.
- Mindfulness: Practice mindful movement and work on developing the connection between mind and body.
- Goals: Create a goal to do what you can each workout and go at your own pace until you are ready to progress.
- Quality over Quantity: Focus on form and execution over reps and speed.
- Safety: If it feels unsafe or you are unsure of a movement, modify first and make safety a priority.
- Purpose: Listen to the Body FX trainer to determine the purpose of an exercise or the specific target muscles and movement pattern. Once you know the purpose, you can easily modify while still getting the same benefits.
- Challenge: Aim to challenge yourself in different ways, but realize it’s not a competition. Do you need to modify a movement due to lack of strength or due to pain and injury? To maintain consistent results, avoiding pushing through injury and instead challenge yourself at the right intensity.
The Most Common Exercise Modifications
Let’s talk about some of the most common ways to modify your home workouts:
Equipment To Body Weight
We don’t necessarily need to add more external weight.
Your body doesn’t know the difference in numbers on dumbbells, it understands muscle contraction and effort.
If you are purposeful with your movement and output, you will see results. Ways to challenge yourself with body weight exercises would be to focus on improving form and technique and creating a mind to muscle connection.
Fully engaging the core for every exercise and activating the targeted muscle groups with effort and intention.
Not cheating the movement patterns, put every ounce of energy into each move and rhythm.
Additionally, you can always increase range of motion, speed, and power. Squat lower, jump higher, run faster.
Squats And Lunges
This really depends on where the challenge lies in the movement. If it is about balance and stability, hold on to a wall, counter, or couch to assist with balance.
Use a chair to provide a higher base for your squats.
If it is in the movement itself or due to injury, then there are many ways to modify or build up to the level you are looking to achieve.
First, check the alignment and form of your squats and lunges.
For a basic squat, set your feet shoulder-width apart with toes facing forward. Depending on your hips and comfort level, you may need to turn your toes out slightly.
Maintain a tall spine, neutral pelvis and tight core as you sit your hips back and down into your squat. Drive through your feet and squeeze your legs and glutes to stand up. Make sure your knees don’t cave inward throughout the movement.
When it comes to lunges, your legs should be 90/90.
Front knee stacked over the ankle, with the knee tracking over the second and third toes.
Don’t let your knees fall in!
Back knee should be underneath the hip. Spine tall, shoulders packed, and core activated!
The best way to modify these movements is to actually go for a shallow (smaller) range of motion and not go so deep into the bottom of the squat or lunge.
Build the strength, stability, and mobility before increasing to a full range of motion.
You can also slow down the tempo to work on form over speed and reps and then build up to match the rhythms and tempos.
Another option is to keep the feet set and go for a shallow split lunge, so you don’t need to worry about the feet moving and weight shifting.
Check out Rhythm Fit Basics for more.
The most common complaint with deadlifts is pain in the lower back. Oftentimes, this is caused by either the improper placement of weight or the position of the pelvis and spine.
Check that the resistance stays close to the body, almost like sliding down in front of the thighs, knees, and shins.
The first step to modify is to reduce or eliminate external weight and work with only body weight.
Make sure the pelvis is in a neutral position (not tilting forward or backwards) and the spine is straight with core engagement.
The second way to modify is to perform with a very shallow (small) range of motion. You also have the option to use a resistance band in place of free weights.
Additionally, you can change the stance (feet) into a staggered position to help take the load off the back.
If deadlifts just aren’t for you, I would recommend glute thrusts on the floor.
You can still target the glutes and hamstrings but in a more supported position.
Lay flat on your back with your feet on the floor, hip width apart. Drive through your feet and squeeze your glutes and hamstrings to lift your hips into a bridge.
Knees, hips, shoulders in a diagonal line and no arching in the low back. Lower your hips back to a hover keeping your spine straight and pelvis neutral and repeat.
Modifications can depend on where the trouble spot is in the movement.
The purpose of the inchworm is to warm up the entire body with a focus on hamstring flexibility, shoulder strength, and core activation.
Planks and Pushups are full body exercises with a focus on core and upper body strength.
A great way to modify these exercises is by bringing the floor closer to you.
Set up an elevated, secure surface such as a fitness box, sturdy foot stool, or even the couch.
For planks and pushups, you can do them on an incline with your body at an angle. Simply place your hands on a wall from a standing position and walk your feet back to set your angle.
If you decide to stay on the floor, you can lower one or both knees down to take pressure off your shoulders and core in a plank position. Check out DaYo Basics for more.
For your inchworm, place your hands on the elevated surface and walk your feet back into a plank position.
Slowly walk your feet forward, trying to keep your legs as straight as you can, almost into a forward fold.
Then walk back out into your plank to repeat. Once this becomes easier, stand up in between each rep or reduce the height of the object.
There are a couple of great ways to modify for knee issues.
One option is to have more cushioning underneath your knees if you are going to stick with the exercises. Use a blanket, pillow, or more supportive mat.
Additionally, sometimes knee problems can be caused by tight quads and hips.
Make sure you are mobilizing before your workout and stretching afterwards.
If it is serious, chronic pain you can check with your doctor on which movements are right for you.
Power & Agility
These modifications really depend on the exercise itself and it may be different for each movement.
Agility exercises can be performed with more speed, but make sure you aren’t sacrificing good form and precision of movement.
Power movements generally require high output but in a small rep range.
Other movements will deliver greater results if you slow down and focus on full range of motion and technique.
If you are limiting range of motion due to injury or need to modify, why not try an isometric hold (pause) at your end range?
For example, if you are taking shallow squats but want to stay on rhythm with the team, hold at the bottom for a few seconds before standing back up. Isometric holds are excellent for developing strength and endurance.
Plyometric exercises can seem overwhelming and advanced in the beginning but become easier with practice.
A great way to increase stability in these dynamic movements is by performing smaller hops with a short three-to-five second-pause hold in between each rep.
For example, to improve Plyo squats perform a smaller squat hop and hold the squat landing for five seconds before performing another rep. This allows you to focus on the landing mechanics and adjust body alignment.
You can also modify plyometric movements by eliminating the jump entirely and switching to a step or tap. Check out JNL Fusion Basics in the Body FX Programs for more.