Trying to lose a significant amount of weight at the gym is much harder when you’re bigger. No matter how strong you are, it’s harder to do certain exercises when you struggle just to hold yourself up.
For example, you probably won’t be able to do dips without assistance on the maximum weight setting. Even then, it can be a struggle.
If you’re working on losing 100 pounds or more, here are some tips to make your workouts at the gym a little bit easier.
1. Use modifications
Being heavy makes it hard to work certain muscle groups because many exercises require being able to hold up your body weight. For example, push-ups require being able to at least hold a plank position. On top of that, you need to be able to push your body weight back up.
Modifications help to reduce your range of motion, alter the amount of weight or reps you perform, alter the speed of the exercise, and reduce the impact.
The following exercises are easy to modify:
- Tricep dips
Don’t skip push-ups
Although there are easier ways to work your chest and triceps, don’t skip push-ups just because they’re hard. Push-ups get major results, even when modified.
How to modify push-ups
There are several ways to modify push-ups. The first method is to perform them on your knees. This alleviates the pressure of having to hold your entire body weight in the air. However, you still might struggle to push yourself up once you go down.
If your wrists aren’t strong enough to push yourself back up, even from your knees, try using one of these bands that you put around your arms while you do push-ups. You’ll be surprised at how much easier it is to do a push-up with one of these, regardless of your size.
Although some people say these bands are “cheating,” it will actually train you into performing push-ups properly. By the time you can do push-ups unassisted, you’ll already have good form. Even though the band provides assistance, you’ll be doing enough work to get benefits.
2. Use holds
If you can’t do a pull-up, a sit-up, tricep dips, or a squat, use holds instead.
Replace pull-ups with holds
To do a hold on the pull-up bar, use a bar that you can grab from a standing position. Grab the bar with an overhand grip and hang as long as possible. This is an exercise many people do to increase their pull-up strength. Hopefully, you’ll have a trainer with you to guide you on proper form.
Don’t underestimate the power of hanging. You will be developing strength along the way, and as you lose more weight, you’ll gain even more strength since you’ll have less resistance holding you back.
Replace sit-ups with holds
Weighted, decline sit ups will set your abs on fire, but if you struggle to pull yourself up from lying flat on a decline bench, you’ll need a modification.
Start by sitting up while holding onto a weight plate. Start with ten pounds and see how that feels. With the plate held in front of your chest, lean back until you start to feel the burn. Then, hold yourself there until you can’t hold yourself up anymore.
When you can’t hold yourself up any longer, slowly lower yourself down. You can do this exercise in place of sit-ups until you’re able to do real sit-ups.
Replace tricep dips with holds
Tricep dips can be done on a bench or on a machine. A machine will provide you with weighted assistance under your feet, but you’ll probably struggle to hold yourself in the air when the support weight isn’t enough, so start with a bench.
Ask your trainer to show you how to do dips on a bench. Then, instead of dipping up and down, lower yourself until you feel the burn and hold it there for as long as you can. Repeat this exercise until you’re done with your set.
Replace squats with holds
Squats are deceptive. They look easy, but when you try to do them with proper form, you might not be able to do even one properly. The only way to do squats is with proper form. If you can’t squat with proper form because your hips are tight or you just don’t have the strength, you can use holds instead.
The first thing you need to do is figure out how low you’re going to squat. Start with bodyweight squats and ask your trainer to help you get the right form and see how low you can go while maintaining proper form.
Put a chair behind you so you don’t have to worry about falling if you can’t push yourself back up from your squat. Find the sweet spot where you maintain proper form, feel the burn, and you can hold it for at least ten seconds.
Instead of doing full squats, squat to that place and hold for as long as possible. Then, repeat for the remainder of your set.
Squats will work your quads and glutes
Normally, squats mostly work your glutes rather than your thighs, but when you haven’t developed your leg muscles much because of your weight, squats will light your quads on fire. Eventually, your quads will strengthen and you’ll feel it more in your glutes.
3. Wait to do exercises that are extremely difficult
While it’s good to be committed to your workouts, it can be dangerous to perform certain exercises. It depends on the person, of course, but pay attention to what your trainer is asking you to do, and don’t be afraid to skip the ones that make you feel awkward or uneasy.
For instance, if you don’t have good balance, you probably don’t want to be jumping up onto raised platforms for cardio.
Don’t want to hit the gym? Exercise at home
If you’ve been struggling at the gym, or if you’ve just decided you don’t want to give it a shot, consider working out at home instead. You won’t have to feel embarrassed being around fit people, and you can go at your own pace. You’ll also have access to your own shower.
No matter what your fitness level, we’ve got some excellent home-based workouts for you. Check out our online strength training programs to get a feel for what we offer.
You can also get nutritional guidance to help supplement your workout with meals that will nourish your body, support muscle growth, and help you maximize fat loss.
Not sure which programs are right for you? Reach out to us and we’ll connect you with the program that meets your needs.
Nathan DeMetz holds degrees in Exercise Science, Business Administration, and Information Technology as well as certifications in strength and conditioning, sports nutrition, run coaching, and other areas. His credentials come from organizations such as Indiana Wesleyan University, Ivy Tech College, Utah State University, and the ISSA College of Exercise Science.
Nathan has 20 years of personal and professional experience in the health and fitness world. He works with people from across the globe, including locations such as Kuwait, Australia, and the USA.
To work with Nathan directly on your personal training goals, contact him today!
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