Exercise modifications for similar resultsby Jessica Smith for SHAPE.com
Workout routines from DVDs and magazines can be super helpful when it comes to reaching your fitness goals . But what do you do when you can't do the suggested moves or don't have access to the right equipment? We asked the experts to suggest some alternative (but just as effective) exercises to use when equipment, strength, or injury limits you. Because "I don't have a Swiss ball" is no excuse to skip your workout !
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Lat pull-over1. Instead of: Pull-ups
Do: Lat pull-overs
How to do it: Lie on your back with a household weight in your hands (laundry detergent, the actual laundry, carry-on luggage , etc.) and hold it above your chest. Keeping your arms straight, slowly lower your arms back over your head as if you are going to place the weight down. Pull the weight back over your chest, making sure to engage your lats the entire time.
Pillow crunches2. Instead of: Swiss ball crunches
Do: Pillow crunches
Experiment with various pillow sizes to find the right one for your back (try starting with a smaller throw pillow first).
Use resistance bands instead of cable machines3. Instead of: a cable machine
Use: resistance bands
Anchor a resistance band at the same point as the cable is positioned in any particular exercise. For example, for a chest cable fly, anchor your band around a doorknob and perform the exercise as you normally would with the cable.
No resistance bands handy either? Make your own weight by filling half of a gallon milk carton or standard paint can with water (tape the top with duct tape for perfect closure), recommends Jay Cardiello, SHAPE fitness editor-at-large and founder of the JCORE Accelerated Body Transformation System. You can use the jug for a variety of different cable moves such as rows, chops, curls, and press downs, Cardiello says.
Try a sandbag or heavy pillow in place of a medicine ball4. Instead of: a medicine ball
Use: a sandbag or heavy pillow
For moves like chops, rotations, or twists, a sandbag (or even simply a weighted bag-try loading up that old purse in the closet) works as a great substitution for a weighted med ball.
Ready to do some med ball slams? Grab a down pillow, stand in a squat position, and slam it into the ground just as you would with a medicine ball. Repeat as many times as possible in 30 seconds, Cardiello says.
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Try negative 5. Instead of: plyometric moves
Do: negative "jumps"
"If jumping is a no-no, a great way to practice plyometric exercises is to do negative jumps," Richey says. "A negative jump is a rapid lowering-as if your are going to jump, then stand up slowly and repeat. For example, instead of a squat jump, quickly squat down as if you were about to power off the floor, and then slowly stand back up. The rapid deceleration can help prep the body for future plyometric demands."