We as coaches do arguably have the best job on earth. We get the opportunity to watch people come in, some starting at square one, progress and push themselves. Some people, when they first join, are unable to perform some of the most basic of tasks like squatting their bodyweight (standing up from a chair), performing a push-up (picking themselves up off the floor) or a pull-up.
We often hear people use this as an issue and use the lack of ability as a reason to avoid starting in the first place; this creates a negative outlook of not going to the gym because “I can’t do that”. As professional coaches, it is our job to make sure that everyone (and we mean everyone) is able to come in, workout and progress, no matter what stage or level they are at with their fitness. We as a gym take great pride in being innovative enough to be able to create a modification for whatever the task at hand may be.
Remember, modifications are just that, modifications to the standard of movement. They are options and means to get people moving and progressing forward and should not ever be considered the final piece of the puzzle.
As kids, we all learnt to ride bikes, we had stabilisers at first, and they let us first explore what was to eventually come. At some point getting rid of the stabilisers was a natural progression but first we had step outside of our comfort zone because nobody wanted to be the kid who turned up to their friends house to ride their bike with the stabilisers still attached to the back wheels.
The point is… None of us still want to show up with the stabilisers still on. Some people will always take longer to get to this stage, and that is okay. We just want to make sure that we’re not stuck in our comfort zone and no longer progressing. At this point, the workout modifications, are no longer allowing you to progress, they have become a hinderance to grow – a crutch.
Here are a few little things to remember and help you break free from those “stabilisers”.
Step out of your comfort zone.
We notice that many people join classes, make friends and pair up with others who are all using the same modifications and weights in classes; The same progression for pull-ups, the same height box for box jumps etc., This can be great in the beginning, but after a while, this becomes the dreaded comfort zone. This can be hard one, because you are all on the same level, you fit in and you don’t want to be the one to leave a friend behind and “one up” or affect the comfortable balance you have in training. This is completely understandable, but in no way conductive for improvement and progress. Do not be afraid to challenge yourself or you will always fall short of reaching your potential.
Accept that failing is okay and essential at times.
Have a go, you might surprise yourself! I was working with a one of our private training clients a few weeks back and push-ups were a goal of hers. Warming up I watched her complete a tonne of push-ups from her knees. When I asked her why she was still using this modification she replied, “I cant do proper push-ups”. After the fear of failure subsided and she attempted one, she was surprised to realise that not only did she now have the ability to do “proper push-ups”, she could multiple reps at a time. Now she is kind of a push-up queen, but wouldn’t of been if she did not take the chance to fail.
Forget about the RX and what others have done that day.
If a workout has 21 Push-ups, but all you can complete is 10 unassisted, then do your 10 and modify from there onwards. More often than not, pushing yourself and performing the movement to highest standard possible, even for a limited time, will yield better results than constantly modifying. The workouts we design and post are for the masses, and if you need to change reps, weights, and movements to help you obtain your goals, of course that is fine.
Create goals and write them down.
First of all by setting goals and giving yourself a timeline to achieve them, you are creating an action to your thoughts and desires. We encourage everyone to write them down and review them often. Share them with others in your class and with us as coaches. It’s too often that people have an idea but never take any steps forward to achieving it.
Invest in private or semi-private coaching.
Perhaps all you need to progress that little bit further is a little personalised attention and coaching. It only has to be once of twice a month that you spend with a coach, and the rest of the time is in our group classes, but that extra hour or two of personalised attention and dedicated focus to an area of trouble can be the difference in helping you break through that barrier. Whether that is pull-ups, push-ups, snatching, muscle-ups, double unders or maybe even mobility to help you create better movement patterns. We’ve had great success with a number of clients on one session a month PT sessions.
Take a minute to think about it; are you still the person showing up to training with your stabilisers still on your bike?