A couple days ago we talked about how we offer a modification option for workouts, so people can customize their WOD for their skill level, fitness level, work around injuries or meet a specific goal. Key point: You aren't getting less of a workout if you modify. Seriously: No good comes from forcing yourself to do the "harder" version if the modification suits you better. Your ego is not your amigo.
Here are a few more things to consider when choosing whether and how to modify a skill.
Consider Your Skill Set
Oftentimes correct technique is the most challenging aspect of a movement. The limiting factor for something like a barbell snatch is more likely to be in your efficiency of movement, rather than your actual strength. If you don't yet have the form necessary for a lift to be effective, you're not doing yourself any favors by forcing yourself to learn it in the middle of a workout.
There is a time, and a place to learn new exercises. Modifying to something like a dumbbell snatch in this situation would actually allow you to have a harder workout by focusing on your strength instead of slowing you down with more technique.
Respect Your Recovery
Accommodating an injury is usually an obvious reason to modify; pain is a pretty strong signal to change behavior. But recovery takes time. It can be easy to take on too much too soon when you're eager to get back at it. If you are injured, your first responsibility is to heal the damaged tissue, and possibly correct the movement patterns that got you into this position. Refusing to modify an exercise that aggravates your condition flies in the face of the whole purpose of going to the gym, and quite literally places short-term satisfaction above achieving long-term goals. Just don't do it.
Use the Equipment You Have
At the end of the day, maybe you just don't have access to a certain tool. This doesn't mean that you should throw the whole workout out the window. Many times, great insights may be gleaned from forcing yourself to do things in new ways, resulting in increased efficiency. Dumbbells, for instance, impart unique adaptations compared to barbells. What you may compromise in overall strength, you make up for in stability, which could later increase your actual ability when you return to using a barbell.
The point is, don't get caught-up in thinking that one tool is superior to any other in the grand scheme of things. A balanced physique takes the best of all modalities that each serve to improve upon the others.
Still don't believe me!? Check out Coach Ryan's explanation:
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