Making a Pre-Made Workout Your Own

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If you google ‘workout plan’ the instant response is about 1,150,000,000 results. Now, I’m no mathematician, but that seems like quite a lot. It is easy to see why, especially for a beginner, the world of online exercise is somewhat confusing and overwhelming. How do you know what is right for you and where to start, what suits your goals, and if the workout is from a reputable individual who knows what they are talking about?

The best way to know where to start, and learn how to work towards a specific personal goal in the best way for you, is ALWAYS going to be by an individual assessment from a PT. Always.

Having said that, a lot of amazing PTs are working from online platforms these days which can make them more accessible during these pandemic times. If this isn’t something you are able to do for whatever reason, then the next step would be to figure out your goals (be realistic, small steps), look at your limitations (health wise, environmental etc.), and research. Research should always be from reputable sources when it comes to your health!

From here you should have some idea about what might suit you. If your goal is to sculpt your body, lose weight or prepare for an endurance event, then you would need very different plans for each type of scenario. Dietary advice would also be a significant factor.

So here we are, armed with a bit of info, and staring at a plethora of workout options once more. How do you choose your at home workout?

Always start with a beginner workout. You can always increase difficulty as you go. You cannot however, meet any goals if you go too hard and injure yourself.

Chose one you like the look of, because it is challenging, or fun. This makes it easier to do in the first place, and to continue to do.

Be mindful of your limits and don’t do anything that feels wrong. (I will never not say this).

At the end of the day your safety is number 1 and it is your responsibility.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

So lets talk tweaking those pre-made workouts:

I use a pre-made workout myself, from a Frederic Delavier strength training guide, and I love it! I love the challenge I get from it and the variation, and also because I needed something different from what I had been doing. A bit of inspiration injected back into my routine you might say. I have however, had to make some variations. Delaviers workouts are great and offer progression, regression and variations for stages, and of course available equipment, which is a biggy in the real world. We don’t all have the perfect piece of gear for what we want to accomplish, but there is always a way around it. Another challenge I have had to implement in, is a shoulder injury. I cannot stress enough how important it is to NOT blindly follow a routine made for injury free people when you have a problem like a knee or shoulder injury. So here are a few ways to personalise your workout without losing the point of your exercises.

  • Regression (making an exercise easier) is not showing weakness. Its giving yourself the best chance to improve at a timely pace. If a workout calls for push ups for example and you struggle, try doing them with your knees down or against a wall or box. Then as they get easier, challenge yourself by progressing the exercise. Can’t squat low? That’s ok. Try doing box squats or partial squats.
  • Lessen the reps. If the workout says 20 burpees and you can’t do 20. Don’t. Do 10. Or alternatively, slow it down, skip the jump and the push up and just do the up and down at an easier pace. I still won’t do burpees. I hate them.😆
  • Body weight versions, it can be tricky to determine what a body weight version of a machine exercise might be. The goal is to work the same muscles as the original exercise so it can help to google body weight exercises specific to the muscle groups if you can’t access the stated equipment.
  • Injury adjustments can be as simple as pulling rather than pushing, or lifting from the front rather than the sides. This is a very individual thing. The key here is to not do anything that will increase injury or discomfort while continuing to strengthen the area. Eventually you may get there, but your progress will only be delayed if you hurt yourself and that can be extremely un-motivating. Even for a seasoned athlete.

So now you have your own workout! It may take a few adjustments as you go, we all do that. Don’t be afraid to change things up if it gets too easy, feels wrong, or uncomfortable, or is just getting boring. Remember to have fun and congratulate yourself for doing such an awesome thing for your health!

Wishing you all good health,


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