Saturday, April 03, 2021

LOW impact and lower intensity or difficulty versions of common home workout exercises. I go through these variations every time I host an online workout (available to Kingfisher Club members through the club’s app) but other sources of online workouts can’t always be as detailed. So I thought we’d talk about these in order to try help keep the home workouts going or maybe encourage more people to try them as, still, there’s no sign of gyms opening back up.

Squat jumps

These come up a lot in home workouts. Sometimes they’re just straight up and down, sometimes they’re side to side and sometimes they even involve turning 90 or 180 degrees. Remove the impact by not jumping, just do normal squats, they’re going to give you most of the work/ benefit anyway. And if you want to jump but want to lessen intensity or complexity leave out anything except a straight jump jump and down. The fancy stuff like going side to side or twisting around in mid air doesn’t add much (if anything) to the effectiveness of the exercise, it’s usually more there for variety.

Jumping lunges

Again remove the impact by not jumping, just do normal lunges. Performing a reverse lunge (stepping backwards instead of the classic forwards) is a bit easier on the knees and a bit more real for most people (think of it like kneeling down to propose). A lot of people struggle with balance when lunging without even adding a jump, if this is you consider performing your lunges next to a wall or other solid surface so you can put your hand out to help with balance. If you do want to try the jumping lunge make sure your regular lunge is solid first.


Skaters are another fairly common one in “high intensity” home workouts. They involve single leg jumping from side to side (like a speed skater). First of all be very careful you aren’t doing these on a rug that could slide or other slippery surface. A less complex and lower impact variation that could be used instead of these would be to shuffle from side to side. Two or three side steps, over and back, at a challenging pace for you (maybe squatting down and touching the ground with one hand at each end if you can) will have similar cardio and calorie burning effects to skaters.

High knee running

Or high heel running. Or jump jacks. You know the kind of thing. To lessen the impact, always keep one foot on the ground. In the case of the first two this turns them into a march instead of a run but you can still lift your knee or heel in the same way. A medium intensity option would be adding a little hop/ bounce in between each step instead of going flat out (think old fashioned aerobics style high knees). With jump jacks, consider a “step jack”. Instead of jumping both feet out, keep one foot under you and just tap the other foot out to the side. Repeat on the other side.

Push ups

Kneeling push ups are the obvious option, and they have their place, but with home workouts most people are going to be next to a sofa, a bed or a kitchen counter and where an elevated surface is readily available elevated push ups will be the better option (if you can’t do full ones). Elevated push ups let you slowly move lower and closer to the floor as you get stronger (you might just need to be a little creative with surface heights), whereas kneeling push ups require you jump from kneel to on your toes in one go (a much larger increase in difficulty) and, in my experience, it’s easier for kneeling push ups to be performed incorrectly

And the dreaded burpee

Don’t do them, simple. I like to include a few burpees in my classes, they’re useful, but they’re often overrated and overused. Suitable alternatives to one burpee include two squats or four jump jacks. They can also be made easier by using an elevated surface, like push-ups.

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