There are many reasons why you may not be able to do a specific exercise on your workout plan, but don’t let this lead you to believe you can’t achieve the same results.
Just because an exercise is labeled as a modification does not mean it’s easier…or less effective! If you make the RIGHT swaps… you may end up with greater progress!
A little later in this article, we will tell you why.
But let’s take a look at a few examples.
5 Exercise Modifications
(That May Be Harder Than The Original)
STANDARD PUSH-UP -VS- KNEE PUSH-UP
A push up is often seen as only an “upper body strength” exercise, but your CORE also plays a significant role.
Weak core strength is what often results in hips sagging toward the floor when repetitions get tough. If you find this happening, due to lack of upper body or core strength, don’t see using your knees as a weakness! Both variations will give you a solid core and upper-body workout!
Knee push-ups can be even HARDER than the original because when you are on your knees, you are targeting your triceps a little bit more to stay in a good tempo. This means you take the load off the core a bit .. but you engage your arms more.
BARBELL BACK SQUATS -VS- BARBELL FRONT SQUATS
Back squats are a staple in most programs. The best modification is moving from a squat rack to a supported smith machine. You can also use machines or dumbbells when squatting.
There are some situations where a back squat is not possible, even with a change in equipment. In this case, a front squat could be a great modification… especially if you have shoulder concerns or have really long legs. People with long legs sometimes find it challenging to stay upright in a standard back squat.
Front squats are NOT any easier. Many people find them much more difficult. When done correctly, they require much more mobility.
One thing to note if you are going to swap out a back squat for a front squat.
Front squats hit the quads and upper back more. Back squats target the quads for sure, but also the hips, glutes, and lower back. Keep this in mind if you choose this modification.
PULL-UPS -VS- BANDED PULL UPS
Pull-ups are no joke! Most people struggle to do ONE. Instead of struggling to get in a solid rep … try using bands. The lighter the band, the more like an original pull-up it will be!
Start out with a band with more resistance, and as you progress, you can work your way to a lighter band… and then no band at all!
Banded pull-ups also have a few distinct advantages over a body-weight or weighted pull-up. They allow you to fully execute the FULL pull-up movement instead of being tempted to do partial reps.
BARBELL DEADLIFT -VS- DB or HEX BAR DEADLIFT
The barbell deadlift is a very common exercise and often known as KING. But anyone with back issues, or who is new to deadlifting, may want to try deadlifting with dumbbells or a HEX bar.
Each modification has its perks! With DBs, you may be able to control your range of motion and tempo better. With a HEX bar, because of the positioning of the bar, you will most likely be able to use a heavier weight than you would with a standard bar deadlift.
V-UPS -VS- TUCKS
V-Ups make an appearance in MANY of my ab workouts on our YouTube Channel.
They are not easy and require quite a bit of core strength. So rather than struggling and using bad form, try doing “tucks” instead.
Instead of keeping both legs and arms straight when you raise up into a V… tuck your legs on the way up. This puts less pressure on your back if you’re not quite strong enough yet.
Take away your hands and make them “hands-free,” and they can be just as challenging if not MORE challenging than doing them in that “V.”
Modifications ARE NOT a bad thing!!
The Right Swaps Can Build More Strength
You get stronger by doing what you CAN DO instead of attempting to do what you CAN’T DO with proper form and execution. If a lack of strength is why you need to do a modification, don’t worry about it! Once you get good at the modified version, you will be able to advance to the “real” thing.
They Can Keep You Injury-Free
You may be modifying because you already have an injury. But if you are modifying because you aren’t ready for the advanced movement… view this time as simply preparing your body for the harder version. If you try to jump in and do something your body isn’t ready for … you are asking for an injury!
Focus on form and slowly building. You will protect your joints, nail down solid form, and ensure that when you are ready, you will be able to execute at the next level properly.
The patience will be worth it!
You Will Build Confidence and Remain Frustration-Free
There is no quicker way to want to give up than being frustrated, and there is no faster way to be frustrated in the gym, than feeling like you “can’t do” an exercise.
Don’t let ego or attitude hold you back from doing a modification. You will feel better about your lift and enhance your “mental game” … which is more than half of the gym battle!
I GET IT….YOU WANT TO DO THE “REAL” THING….
But never fear modifications…you may discover they yield BETTER results than the original!
In fact, I prefer some of these exercises over the original!!
If you have any confusion about how you should be training to achieve your goals.
A great starting point is to take our BODY TYPE QUIZ!
When you follow a training plan and diet that is best for your genetics, you will see both faster and better results!
It’s only 5 questions and will get you started in the right direction!
We hope these modification ideas helped you out!
If there is another exercise that you are unable to perform and would like to know a modification … comment and let us know!