5 Ways to Make Any Fitness Video Work For You

By Janelle Martel November 24, 2015

Due to my huge workout DVD collection, I’m pretty much an expert on fitness videos. They truly are one of my favorite workout tools. They’re fairly inexpensive and easy to incorporate into your daily routine. However, you may stumble across one that seems like it just isn’t going to work. You love the instructor’s style, but the workout just seems too tough to even attempt. So, should you get rid of it? No way!

I truly believe it is possible to “adjust” any workout DVD or video to make it work for you. I think it’s so important to look at it like you would a fitness class. If you were in a studio, chances are everyone would be doing a little something different and your instructor would be trying to help make the class work for each individual. Since your “instructor” is in the TV, you need to think a little outside of the box and view the workout as a guideline rather than something set in stone.

1. Work At Your Own Pace

This is one I definitely struggle with! I find it really easy to get caught up in trying to mirror what the instructor is doing. This can be a bad idea for a couple of reasons. First of all, if you’re doing cardio, the instructor might be working at a pace that is too challenging or too easy for you. Here, it’s super easy to set your own pace. For strength-type moves, if you’re going through the movement too fast, you might find that you’re really compromising your form. It’s a much better idea to do fewer reps with excellent form than doing several reps with terrible form, because you’re really not going to be getting the same benefits.

2. Change Your Range of Motion

Changing your range of motion is a super easy way to switch up the intensity without needing to worry about too much. For example, my lower body tends to be a lot stronger than my upper body, so I’m able to complete a full range of motion for lower-body movements like squats and lunges but, for something like push-ups, I’ll complete a smaller range of motion. I still get the benefit of the exercise, and have room to progress.

3. Switch Up Your Weights

I know this seems like such an obvious thing, but it is something you can easily overlook. I also notice that a lot of workout DVDs have the instructors using the same weights for all of the exercises but, chances are, you’re going to be able to lift heavier for some movements using bigger muscles like bicep curls and rows, while you might need a lighter weight for tricep extensions or side raises. I like to have a few different weights to choose from. You can also do a drop set, where you start with a heavier weight and then switch to a lighter weight (or no weight at all) to finish the set. If there’s a bodyweight movement that you’re finding too easy, try adding a little weight to instantly make it more challenging.

4. Use Your Pause and Rewind Button

The awesome thing about using DVDs is you are in charge. You have the power to pause it if you need a break to catch your breath, shake out your muscles, or grab a sip of water. You can also rewind if you need to see a move repeated, which can be really helpful so you can get your form down. If a workout DVD is too long for you to begin with, you can also try breaking it down into more manageable segments.

5. Take Advantage of Modifications

Typically, most workout DVDs will show three different modifications: beginner, intermediate, and more advanced. I totally encourage you to check out the different modifications that are being performed, because the instructor may not always mention them for every single move. You should also feel free to float back and forth between the different levels throughout the course of the workout. If the modifications shown aren’t working for you, no need to worry! There are modifications for pretty much every exercise, so you may just need to look up a substitute move online – or you can even look for a different exercise that works the same muscle group to sub in. Remember, it’s all about making the workout work for you!

*This was originally published on Janelle’s site. For more from her, visit Wholly Healthy.

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