Customize Your Workout

Getting to the gym can be a struggle, especially if you’ve been at it for a while and aren’t seeing the results you want or are struggling with the routine. Believe it or not, not all routines are not created equal, and what works for a friend might not always work for you. It could be that you’re doing an exercise that isn’t particularly suited to your body shape, but don’t worry. If you struggle with a particular exercise, there is always another way to workout the same group of muscles.

For example, if you have small hands, it can be harder on you to do pullups and rows. You just don’t have the real estate to distribute the pull. That doesn’t mean that you should stop doing pulling exercises, but it’s okay to recognize that you’re probably getting an equivalent workout by holding the weight as long as you can wherever you can.

Or, if you’re excessively tall, you may have found that barbell back squats kill your lower back. These are a complex squat that have lots of different parts, so break it up to avoid the injury. Try Bulgarian squats or dumbbell step-ups and, separately, add Ben Bruno’s landmine front squats. You’ll be focusing on the same area, with less stress on your back and less pain the next day.

Finally, barbell bench presses can be murder on people with long arms or shoulder problems. If done improperly or excessively, these lifts can lead to rotator cuff issues, especially in taller people with long arms. If this sounds familiar, forego the ego-stroking that comes with bench presses and try them on the ground, which will be much nicer on your joints.