Spending a lot of time at home only helps your fitness journey. There are a countless number of streaming services of all kinds, whether you’re into Pilates or dance cardio, free fitness videos on YouTube, and all the at-home training tech you could ever want. But if you’re just getting started, some of the workouts can be a little intimidating.
The good news is no matter what you’re doing, there are exercise modifications for beginners that allow you to feel the burn while you’re still building up your strength. Once you master the basics—be it planks, push-ups, or squats—you’ll have developed the initial skills you need to venture into harder workouts. Soon enough, keeping up with your favorite trainers will be a piece of cake.
Before you press play on your next sweat sesh, go through these six exercise modifications for beginners that you’ll see in nearly every workout video.
If you’re a fitness newbie, start by modifying these 6 at-home workout moves
Burpees are one of the hardest movements around. When you’re just starting out, trainer Charlee Atkins recommends skipping the pushup portion until you’re ready. You can also avoid jumping back into a plank and instead walk your feet out and in.
2. Mountain climbers
Mountain climbers can be tricky, as you’re holding a strong plank the entire time. Trainer Simone De La Rue recommends trying them on your forearms opposed to straight arms as you’re driving your knees toward your chest, which takes some of the pressure off as you’re doing the exercise.
If you’re having trouble holding a straight-arm plank, drop down to your forearms. You’re still reaping all the benefits—especially when it comes to the core, which you’re actually targeting more than when you’re performing a plank on your hands.
Instead of doing major push-up no-nos like shoving your butt in the air or pointing out your elbows, start with a modification. “All you need to do is add a little bit of elevation,” Atkins says. When you lift yourself up, you’re not so far down onto the ground, making the push-up easier and allowing you to keep proper form.
Whether you’re doing normal squats or single-leg squats, trainer Traci Copeland recommends modifying the exercise by using a chair. “If you need to add a chair or a bench behind you, that’s one way you can modify. You can also start from a seated position and work your way up to stand.”
6. Side planks
Side planks don’t just take strength—they also take balance. As you’re building up to doing a full side plank, Pilates instructor Chloe Gregor recommends starting on your forearm and knees. Just make sure when doing so, you’re walking your elbow forward so it’s in line with your knee. That way, you’re keeping the correct form.
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