...some of us just can't do jumping jacks without giving ourselves a black eye or bruising an unsuspecting body part.
I once worked with a trainer who instructed me to clasp my hands together behind my back and bend over and reach those clasped hands behind me toward the ceiling.
I completely faked the whole move, embarrassed that I couldn't even touch my fingertips together behind my back, let alone interlock them.
The thing is, the trainer did not think about my limitations. She had never lived in a body like mine or experienced my level of obesity. Unfortunately, my self esteem took a hit until I gathered the courage to tell her. Only then were we able to make some modifications to get the same benefits from the move.
That got me thinking that there must be other people with the same issue. Do you ever see exercises on youtube, DVD, demonstrated by trainers, or at the gym...and you try but just can't do it (or don't try because you know you physically can't?)
There is absolutely nothing to feel ashamed about. If you carry more than a few extra pounds, chances are high you just can't do all the exercises exactly as they were designed. And that's okay! You can make a few adjustments and get the exact same benefit from the modified move!
This blog post is for both the trainer and the trainee, to explore ways to modify exercises and at least maybe start the dialogue together.
Here are a few examples:
From losing so much weight, I have a lot of excess skin that won't go away without surgery. I hate it, but it's just a fact of my life. That means when I do jumping jacks, I have honestly heard skin slapping together. I was mortified. If that had happened at a gym or with a new personal trainer I may have never gone back.
Spanx. Compression bodysuits. I have purchased all in one spanx compression under garments that hold everything taut. I can "jumping jack" my butt off and that skin isn't going anywhere. This also solves the problems of generalized jiggling and drooping which could be embarrassing at the gym.
The trainer wanted me to stand, bend one knee while reaching down to grab my foot from behind and then pull the foot up behind me to stretch the quads. Except that I couldn't even reach my foot. At all.
Grab the back of your pantleg, or the loop on the back of your workout shoes.
The trainer can lift your foot up toward the buttocks for you.
Those are just two quick and easy examples.
The whole point of this post is that you can't fix what you don't acknowledge. Tell your trainer when you hit something that just doesn't work and be willing to explore alternatives.
If you are reading about moves, or watching them on DVD, pause the thing and Google for alternate ways to work the same muscle group. There ARE alternatives. If you can't find one, find a forum on physical therapy. I guarantee people with injuries or therapists who work with injured people have great ideas on how to modify exercises!
Don't give up or quit because something doesn't work the first time. In reality, just trying the exercise you'll get some benefit from it and if you stick with your program, eventually you will tackle them all! I am doing things now that I couldn't even do 3 months ago, and that's a fact, Jumping Jack!