Build your workout plan: progress or modify any workout

If you’ve ever skipped out on a workout because you think it’ll be too hard (or too easy), keep on reading! Anything can fit into your workout plan!

As a personal trainer (and online fitness junkie), I find a lot of my workouts online. For the last few years, I’ve consistently worked out at home, making online workouts perfect. YouTube, Pinterest, and my favorite blogs fueled my workout routine.

While there are tons of options to get your sweat on, to maximize your results, it’s imperative that you are able to take a workout to YOUR level. Trying out a workout that’s much too advanced or beginner for you is not an effective use of your time. Whether you need to make a workout more difficult or easier, it’s important that you do.

create your workout plan

How to create your workout plan

When it comes to changing up a workout to fit your fitness level, you can manipulate the different training variables to make an exercise more or less challenging. The following are the training variables I consistently switch up for my clients and for my own workouts.

Load

This is the easy one. Increase or decrease the additional weight you’re carrying. If the workout calls for 20lb dumbbells, grab weights heavier or lighter.

Intensity

AKA, how hard you’re working or how explosive can you make your movement. We all know how to do a squat jump when we are just putting in the motions vs. pushing as hard as we possibly can go.

Tempo

I LOVE playing with tempo. Moving really slow or really fast puts different challenges on your body, so it’s important to do both.

Range of motion

Think, how much you move. For a squat, you can go “ass to grass” or you can squat to chair depth. You can probably guess which is harder 😉

Stability

Basically….how much does your body have to work to keep you stable. Standing on two feet to perform an exercise is much more stable than standing on one foot or on a BOSU ball.

Rest periods

Most workouts will have defined rest periods between exercises (or intervals in a cardio or HIIT session). Lengthening or shortening them changes up the demand on your cardiovascular system.

To progress or modify a movement based on these variables, use the table below! The graphic is also pinnable so be sure to save it for the next time you come across a workout that isn’t quite at your level.

 

How to change training variables to progress or regress any workout

 

Now, let’s put this into practice for one of my favorite full body workouts.

Full body dumbbell circuit

 

1.  Weighted Burpee

Load: use heavier weights OR eliminate/lighten them

Intensity: add a tuck jump at the end OR step backwards/forwards instead of jumping

Tempo: move as fast as possible OR slow it down

Range of motion: tap your chest on the floor for the push up OR take the push up from your knees

Stability: perform one-leg burpees OR perform push up with hands on floor (not on weights)

2. Walking Lunge and Press

Load: use heavier weights OR eliminate/lighten them

Intensity: add a hop between lunges OR perform lunge and press in place (no walking)

Tempo: move as slowly as possible, holding at the bottom for 1-2 seconds OR eliminate any pause at the bottom of the movement, use a standard pace

Range of motion: bring your knee to the ground in the lunge OR keep lunges shallow

Stability: one-leg shoulder press OR place both feet on the ground for the shoulder press

3. Mountain Climber Push Up

Tempo: move through mountain climbers as fast as possible OR slow them down

Range of motion: tap your chest on the floor for the push up OR elevate your hands for your push up

Stability: perform one-leg push ups OR perform standard push ups on the ground

4. DB Push Press

Load: use heavier weights OR eliminate/lighten them

Tempo: move as fast as possible OR slow it down

Stability: perform one-leg shoulder press OR keep your feet grounded

5. Squat Jump + Lunge Jump

Load: use weights OR perform bodyweight only

Intensity: make the movements as explosive as you can OR eliminate the jumps

Tempo: move as fast as possible OR slow it down

Range of motion: squat and lunge as deep as possible (bringing your bum and knee close to the floor) OR keep squats and lunges shallow

In regards to rest periods for this workout, you could add 10-20 second rest periods between each interval to modify. Always rest as needed in the work interval.

Knowing how to progress or modify a workout to fit your level opens so many doors. This allows you to take on any workout you find, whether that’s on Pinterest or in a workout class.

If you’re struggling to update a particular workout to fit your workout plan and goals, let me know in the comments below. I’m happy to advise 🙂

Where do you find your workouts?

4 thoughts on “Build your workout plan: progress or modify any workout

Leave a Reply