To Modify or Not to Modify

So let’s talk modifications. First of all let me explain what a modification is for anyone who might be saying, what is she talking about.  The definition of modify is “make partial or minor changes to (something), typically so as to improve it or make it less extreme”.  So if we are applying that to exercise or Pilates, we are going to take a specific exercise and adjust it so it’s more manageable for all people.

Here’s an example of a modification.  The exercise we are going to modify is a double leg lower.  The position is supine (lying on your back) both legs lifted, straight (starting with them up toward the ceiling) and then slowly lowering the legs toward the floor.  Just a note, that is a pretty hard exercise, so how can we make it less difficult? A modification to that would be bending your knees instead of keeping them straight and keeping the range in which you lower them very small.  So you can see in this example that it is making a very difficult exercise more doable for more people. Win-Win!

So when do you know you need to modify?  Does everyone need to modify?  How do I know?  Here are a few reasons someone would want to modify.  If you are just starting a new exercise routine it is probably a good idea to modify even if you feel you are pretty strong because it something new and you want to make sure you learn the basics well before you perform all the exercises full out.  Another reason would be if you are injured or just post rehab on an injury.  It is always a good idea to modify in this case to see what your body feels like doing exercise before you do it full out.  And lastly another reason would be age related, and I am NOT discriminating against people who are older.  However, there are certain things that are not appropriate for people of a certain age and can end up doing more harm than good.