Modifying Moves

I’ve seen tons of people get really discouraged when they start a workout program like P90X because they have a hard time doing some of the moves.  The most common frustration is with pull-ups.  P90X includes a TON of pull-ups and that can be extremely frustrating for beginners because most people either can’t do many or any pull-ups on their own.  I’m here to tell you that if you can’t do pull-ups when you start P90X, welcome to the club!!

When I started P90X I could only do 2 pull-ups on my own, and after the first pull-up exercise in a workout like Chest and Back, I had to do assisted reps for every move.  But I didn’t let that discourage me, it actually helped motivate me because I had a goal to do 15 unassisted pull-ups.  After one round of P90X, I went from doing 2 pull-ups on my own to being able to do 12!  I feel I have improved a ton on this move but there’s plenty of work to be done in that category.

So what do you do if you can’t do pull-ups on your own??  Modify the move!  What I did, and really worked well, was use a chair to put one foot on to help push myself up during pull-ups.  This worked really well because I only used the chair when I absolutely needed it and made sure that I only pushed as hard as I needed to get my chin to the bar.  I still made it hard for myself to get up so ensure I was really getting a good workout in!  I’ve also seen pull-up assists that are made of bands that hang from the pull-up bar.  These seem like they would work really well because the most assistance is at the bottom of the move, which is where you need the most help.

So if you struggle doing pull-ups, don’t feel bad!  Grab a chair and do assisted pull-ups for as long as you need to.  Same goes for push-ups.  If you struggle with push-ups, then go to your knees and keep working!  I personally can only do 1 or 2 1-handed push-ups, so I do the rest on my knees.  The moves in P90X are hard!  But I really don’t want that to discourage you, because you can modify them as much as you want and you’ll still get a great workout.  Just make sure you are pushing yourself and the moves are still tough!  Eventually you will find that you need to modify less and less, which I think is a great motivator.  Then you’ll be looking for ways to make the moves harder!  You might consider using a weighted vest for pull-ups and push-ups or ankle/wrist weights for Kenpo or Ab Ripper X.

No matter what level you’re at, just make sure the moves are challenging you and you’re really pushing yourself to get better!  If you have to modify, don’t feel bad, see it as an opportunity to improve!!

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