Image: 2020-04/blog-gen-mod-ideas.jpg

TIPS FOR MODIFICATION AND SCALING OF WORKOUTS

Click here for ideas on how to amp up / scale back your workouts

General tips to amp up / scale back intensity: 

  • For cardiovascular / aerobic exercise: My favorite cardio exercises while pregnant are: biking, swimming, rowing, elliptical, walking, and strength circuits (Yes! This can be cardio!)
  • Increase (or decrease) resistance, incline, weight (carry something in hands, wear backpack / diaper bag, your pregnant belly, etc), add / remove rest time
  • Do intervals - increase speed for 30 seconds, slow speed for 30 seconds. I find that this passes the time quickly and allows for recovery - which is super important when pregnant!

More specific modification ideas:

  • Play with your time domains - you can always modify any workout to a time / structure that fits your needs / time constraints for the day
    • There are a variety of ways to structure workouts:
      • AMRAP (as many rounds / reps as possible) for a set amount of time
      • EMOM (every minute, on the minute) for a set number of minutes
      • For time - complete designated number of reps / sets no matter how short / long it takes
      • Tabata (:20 sec of work, 10 seconds of rest - for a set number of rounds - typically 8 rounds or 4 minutes)
        • Example: only have 15 minutes while your toddler is napping or in between work calls? Change a “for time” workout to an AMRAP or EMOM for your desired # of minutes
    • Make it fun! 
      • Set your skills to music 
        • Ex: squatting for length of a song (“Bring Sally Up” is a very popular Crossfit warm-up: every time the words “bring Sally down” are sung, you squat down, then when “bring Sally up” follows, you stand back up). 
      • Use what you have on hand
        • Deck of cards? 
          • Assign a movement to each suite and complete number of reps on cards 
            • Ex: 7 of hearts = 7 push-ups
          • Face cards can be higher numbers, or special exercises
            • Ex: every King is a walk around the block
        • Quarter? 
          • Heads is one movement, tails another
          • Work up to / down from a set number of reps
        • Dice? 
          • Perform 6 rolls of the dice - complete number of repetitions of exercise per each roll
          • Change exercises after 6 rolls
          • Walk the block / do a set of stairs / etc in between rolls or changes of exercise
  • Change the number of repetitions
    • You can amp up or scale down the number of repetitions for ANY workout, or any portion of the workout. 
      • Low back starting to fatigue with overhead movements? Do 5 instead of 10
      • Not feeling any sort of muscle burn with 10 squats? Try 15-20
  • Add weight
    • Grab some dumbbells, kettlebells, water bottle, soup cans, backpack, diaper bag, your kid :) and add weight to any movement to increase the difficulty.
    • Increase (or decrease) the lever arm - a fancy way of saying, the further away the weight is from your body, the harder the movement will feel. 
      • Ex: Leg straight while performing leg lifts, versus knee bent while performing same motion. 
  • Play with the amount of rest time
    • Feeling fatigued or short of breath? Build in more rest time (:30 seconds, 1 minute, 3 minutes) between exercises / rounds / etc. 
    • Need more of a challenge? Remove that rest time and keep moving continuously
  • Change up your ROM (range of motion)
    • Decrease the depth of your squats, lunges, etc to avoid heaviness at pelvic floor
    • Change your base of support
      • Widen your foot positioning during squats to accommodate growing belly
      • Play with the width of your feet during modified planks / push-ups to box, etc. Typically, the wider your feet, the more stable / easier the exercise will feel
      • Sit to stabilize pelvis during overhead motions 
    • Switch up grip / positioning during barbell work - or switch to dumbbells
      • Sumo-style deadlift instead of traditional deadlift
      • Start from the “hang” position (above your knees), instead of at the floor
      • Do kettlebell swings to chest height instead of all the way overhead
    • Switch any asymmetrical movements to symmetrical movements
      • Single limb activities can always become double limb activities
    • Switch to “strict” movements at lighter weight (perfect for at-home exercise!) rather than relying on momentum 
      • Strict shoulder press versus push-press

For more in-depth information, check out my specific movement guide, with explicit scaling options available for common exercises. Videos (hopefully) coming soon!