A common thread that runs through any challenging program or activity is the destructive feeling of defeat. I can’t think of any worse ‘down and out’ feeling than that. As a coach it’s heart breaking to see it creep in and alter the behavior and attitude of the client. All the same, a good coach will do her best to modify each exercise so the client feels challenged, yet successful – never defeated.
The delicate balance comes with the modification of the exercise. It’s our goal to help you get stronger, which requires progressions. Doing an exercise the wrong way just to avoid a modification will not do much for your strength gains, which means you’ll continue to do the exercise wrong… Also, if it hurts (you know, the bad/injury type hurt) – don’t do it. As a dear friend friend used to always say “There’s more than one way to skin a cat.”
Modifying does not translate into easier unless you have passed that particular fitness level. A modified pushup (not a ‘girl’ pushup) will allow you to focus on form and your core rather than a military pushup (not a ‘boy’ pushup) where your focus may just be avoiding impact between the floor and your face. Eventually you gain the strength to extend your legs, but it’s silly to force it. This holds true for all exercises. If you feel like you may pass out – slow down. If split jumps hurt your knees – switch to alternating back lunges. These are not areas of defeat. It means that you’re learning to listen to your body and respect it. It’s not worth the risk of injury and it’s certainly not worth the feeling of defeat. I hope you conquer your workout today!