“Yo Mikey, my knees hurt. I can’t do jump squats – any suggestions?”, “I don’t have a dumbbell. Any bodyweight exercises I can do instead?” and “Every day, I am getting smarter… simply by just knowing you. Thanks for being awesome” are things I get emailed all the time.
Ha – I’m totally lying about the last one. There, I admitted it.
This is something that has been long overdue… just like the video cassette of “Encino Man” I rented from Blockbuster in the early 1990’s (and I still have – please do not judge).
I’m going to put together the “Ultimate Metabolic Workout Finishers Substitution List”, so you, the fanatic of using finishers in your workouts, can have a “go-to” list so you can create the best finisher based on your particular fitness level.
This is something you can print and put inside a cool-looking frame, matted and color-coordinated.
Or… just printed. Whatever.
Leg Exercise Substitutions:
Jump Squats – One of my favorite “finisher” moves I write in, however I know that sometimes this isn’t the best choice for some depending on fitness level, etc., etc. Here are some moves you can put in the place of jump squats:
– Bodyweight Squats
– Total Body Extensions – don’t underestimate the power of this low-impact move. If you do 3, sure… no big deal. If you start stringing 10 or more? … you will start to feel the cardio system working. This is when you dip into a partial squat, bringing your arms behind you, and then extend your arms above your head in one motion. For extra credit, you can go up on your toes.
– Vertical Jump and Stick – this is perfect for those that can’t knock out a lot of jump squats in a certain time frame. For example, if I write jump squats for 30 seconds and you can’t do those that long, plug in Jump and Sticks. This is when you do a jump squat, followed by holding the squat position for a couple of seconds.
Burpees – a staple in many finishers – here are some moves you can sub for that one…
– Total Body Extension
– Bodyweight Squat
– And don’t forget – you can remove the pushup and/or jump from the burpee to fit your level
Substitutions for Lunges – for those with nagging knee problems – FIRST, see a specialist. With that being said, here are some knee-friendly moves to replace the lunge in your finisher:
– 1-Legged Hip Extension
– Hip Extensions
– Hip Extensions with your feet on a stability ball or bench
Back Exercise Substitutions:
Pull-ups – Honestly? I have a tough time with these myself. If you are serious about increasing your pull-up/chin-up/pushup numbers, check out my friend Shawna’s program, “Challenge Workouts“. When you do them, they build the ultimate athletic-looking body. But we all can’t perform Pull-ups due to lack of equipment, fitness level and other things. So, here are some moves you can do to replace the pull-ups:
– Assisted Pull-up
– DB Row
– Barbell Row
– Inverted Row (overhand grip)
Chin-ups – use the same list above, except for the inverted row – use an underhand grip
Chest Exercise Substitutions – When it comes to writing finishers, it’s all about the pushups… about a billion varieties. I’ll throw in Spiderman Pushups, Decline Pushups, Elevated Pushups and more.
But here are a few pushups substitutions:
– Incline Pushups – when you raise a smith bar or use a bench/platform to do pushups. The higher your hands are set, the easier it is.
– Kneeling Pushups
– Normal Pushups (to replace the crazy ones)
So, when a finisher calls for my crazy ones (like the Decline Spiderman Pushup… yeah, seriously) than don’t hesitate to adjust it to your fitness level. For example, if a finisher calls for the Spiderman Pushup (8/side), you can perform 16 kneeling or incline pushups.
That’s totally cool – we are all different.
For bodyweight dips – you can sub for close-grip pushups.
Ab Exercise Substitutions
Stability Ball Jackknife – you can do the stability ball rollout
Hanging Leg Raise – you can do a knee raise (with your legs bent – it makes it easier)
Plank variations – you can do a kneeling plank
Ab Wheel Rollout – you can do the stability ball rollout
So, let’s do a cool neat little “Cheat Sheet”:
Jump Squats – Total Body Extensions, Bodyweight Squats, Vertical Jump and Stick
Burpees – Take out the jump/pushup, Total Body Extension, Bodyweight Squat,
Lunges – 1-Leg Hip Extensions, Hip Extensions, Hip Extensions w/Feet on a Bench or Stability Ball
Pullups – Assisted Pullups, DB Row, Barbell Row, Inverted Row (overhand grip)
Chinups – Same as above, except for the inverted row, use an underhand grip
Pushups (especially the crazy ones) – Kneeling Pushups, Incline Pushups, Normal Pushups
Stability Ball Jackknife – Stability Ball Rollout
Hanging Leg Raise – Hanging Knee Raise or Rollout
Plank Variations – Kneeling Plank or Normal Plank for the harder ones
Ab Wheel Rollout – Stability Ball Rollout
Alright, that should be enough to keep you busy for a while. Don’t be afraid of doing a finisher – use substitution exercises and finish your workouts strong,