Customizing Vs. Modifying

We all have, or have had, movements in class that we had to modify. Maybe it was because the movement caused you pain, or maybe you just hadn’t learned the skill yet. Either way, for some people, this is a frustrating process. Constantly having to to change the workout and feeling like you are missing out. Others are totally okay with modifying and don’t care much to do to the prescribed version of movements.

The important thing here is that either is okay, we just need to be able to guide you in the right direction. If it is not a priority for you to do prescribed exercises that you currently can’t do, then continue modifying! Our coaches are skilled at getting you modifications that work for your body. However, I’d like to think that most of us want to address the underlying problems causing them to have to modify. If it is your priority to be able to do these movements pain free (or learn them in the first place) simply modifying is not going to help you get there. You need customization.

Modifying: Changing the movements, range of motion, or rep scheme so you can exercise pain free, or meet the intended stimulus of the workout.

Customization: An individualized approach to correct the underlying causes of you having to modify in the first place.

One way allows you to keep exercising, but doesn’t get you closer to doing the movements that bother you. The other is does both and is a higher level solution.

Heres a quick example of how to two might differ:

Example: This client gets back pain when he/she deadlifts.

Warmup: Class – coach guided
Class Strength Work:
5 reps x 3 sets. Rest 2:00
Modified Strength:
Deadlift to 4” risers
5 reps x 3 sets. Rest 2:00

Assessment findings:

2” short on toe touch test (with tension in lower calf), 10 reps of a Single Leg RDL (SLRDL) @ 75# on right, 3 reps of a SLRDL @ 75# on the left

Sciatic nerve floss x 15/side
3 rounds
6 inchworms
6 hip airplanes/side
6 single leg hip thrusts/side
20 plank shoulder taps

Customized Strength Work:
4 sets
6 SLRDL Left
30 sec bent knee hollow hold
6 SLRDL right
30 sec bent knee hollow hold
Rest 1:00
*last two sets are left leg only

In this scenario, modifying is simply allowing this person to do class, and go home without being in pain for the rest of the week. Customizing however, addresses a sciatic nerve tension issue & improves specific mobility in the warmup for the toe touch. Then the strength work is addressing mobility, a strength imbalance left to right, and core bracing/endurance.

If you want to start correcting the root cause of your problems and you’re tired of modifying, talk to a coach about customized programming! Email yankeecrossfit@gmail.comor talk to a coach in class.

Remember, modifying isn’t wrong. It’s just not a solution to your problem!