Have you ever had an athlete come in and tell you that they have a new injury or are struggling with pain in a certain area? I’m sure the answer to that question for you is a resounding “yes”! This is a very common occurrence in our fitness and strength/conditioning world. We see this on nearly a daily basis at Compete. Therefore, it is important that we as fitness professionals are able to adapt and modify an athlete’s program when new injuries or issues arise.

Modification of exercises is a skill that comes with time and practice. It is about thinking through open chain and close chain, single joint vs. multi joint, or even what type of equipment is used. An athlete could come in complaining of groin pain. Perhaps they pulled it or strained it during their team’s practice. Therefore, you have to be able to modify on the spot. Some exercises to avoid would be any lateral movements such as side lunges or something that would aggravate that muscle. However, you can focus on squats, forward/reverse lunges, frontal plane plyometric exercises, etc.

As a trainer/strength coach, it is crucial for you to have a mental inventory of exercises you can pull out at any point. Modification is a huge part of our game and being able to help your athletes be the best they can be. Being able to modify on the spot comes with practice and experience. It also can come from researching new exercises from reliable sources that can help show you how to do the exercise, as well as its benefits. The more you do it and practice it on a regular basis, the more comfortable you will be with making modifications on the fly.

Taylor Rowden is a Strength Coach at Compete Sports Performance and Rehab in Lake Forest, California. Taylor graduated from the Master’s University with a degree in Kiniesiology with an emphasis on sports injury and exercise science. She was also a member of the Women’s Soccer Team.