...don't those words just make you feel..."less?"
Movements have different goals. If you're not able to reach a goal by performing a movement in a specific way, you SHOULD make a change. And that change should not make you feel like you're failing.
No trainer or coach should EVER denigrate their clients for adjusting movements. Being smart about your body should be rewarded.
Therefore, I will call these changes OPTIONS or ENHANCEMENTS!
SO...let's talk about how to ENHANCE movements to meet your needs, or your clients' needs.
There are many different reasons to use a different option during a workout. Maybe you're hurting. Maybe your body is fatigued. Maybe you just hate that movement and you're not in the mood that day. Regardless...here are a few ideas to help you enhance a workout so that your body is safe, and your needs are met.
Try this: limit your range of motion. Can’t do full range of motion squats? Try something like a high box squat to limit the range of motion.
Then, try this: do an isometric hold instead of the dynamic version of the movement. Instead of moving through reps of a specific exercise, try holding in a challenging position during that movement. In a squat, travel about 70% of the way down and hold it.
Then, try this: switch to a supported or unilateral version of the movement. In the case of squats, you can try some squat-adjacent like a step up or a lunge, or you could move to a supported squat where you are holding onto an object/band/TRX and allowing it to assist in the movement.
Then, try this: substitute a different movement that works the same or similar muscle groups. Tried the first three steps, but any movement that resembles squatting just doesn’t cut it? There are hundreds of different lower body activities.
Then, try this: exchange for a different movement altogether. Maybe lower body movements aren’t in the cards for you today. Find a movement that you CAN do (even if it means substituting a squat with a plank), and do that instead.
Then, try this: do something non-physical. Tried all of the steps above, and still have pain or alarm bells during ANY physical movement? Take the time today to focus on diaphragmatic breathing, and use the time to take your mind off of your body altogether.
TRAINERS, CLIENTS, AND EVERYONE READING THIS:
This trial and error method is something that should be repeated often. Just because someone can’t do squats on Monday doesn’t mean they won’t feel better by Wednesday. Just because someone COULD run on Monday doesn’t mean that running won’t cause them pain on Wednesday.
Our bodies are different every day. Keep trying new things. Keep adjusting. Keep learning. Never judge!
Have a Pain-Free Day!
PS: have someone who could benefit from this information? Pass this message along!