flickr | Petranek Fitness

flickr | Petranek Fitness

Planks, turkish get-ups, kettlebell swings, loaded carries and battle ropes - within the last 5 to 10 years they have each taken their turn as the latest and greatest viral exercise. I'm not doubting that the popular exercises listed above deserve the label of great, but just because they're great for lots of people doesn't mean they are right for you. Here's how to recognize if you are resistant to a great exercise: 


1. It hurts. 
If a great new exercise hurts you while you are doing it, attempt to correct your form or get guidance on how to do it better. If it still hurts after the corrections, then be prepared to recognize that this exercise as one that your body is resistant to. 

RELATED: How To Fix Major Exercise Errors: Locking Out The Knees

It gets more complicated when you feel the pain after a full workout is over. Identify any exercises or versions of exercises that are new to your workout and try them on their own. If pain persists after the fact and you have made necessary improvements on form, then this is a good sign that your body is resistant to that exercise. 

RELATED: How To Fix Major Exercise Errors: Core Positioning

2. Your body refuses. 
An old injury, a previous surgery, a job that encourages chronic bad postures and damaging repetitive motions or being born with musculoskeletal asymmetries can all be reasons why you are unable to perform a movement or exercise.  Be honest and realistic with yourself - sometimes years of ignoring erosive behavior or misaligned structure is too much to completely overcome. Exercise enthusiasts may be insisting that "this exercise is awesome" but if the above culprits are addressed and you still struggle with the basic requirements, then this is likely a sign that you are resistant to that exercise. 

3. Major modifications.
Making slight modifications to an exercise and selecting a less challenging progression is necessary and appropriate to learning something new. The big sign that you are resistant to a certain exercise or movement is when you or your trainer has had to modify an exercise so much that it morphs into a different exercise. Recognize this sign and note any exercises that you are making major modifications to so you can make better exercise choices. 

Bottom line

Know that there is no shame in being resistant to even the greatest of exercises or movements - the shame is when you are unable or refuse to recognize this. It's easy to get caught up in the gears of the fitness world that revolve around the approaches of "there are no limits," "never stop fighting," "no pain, no gain" and "more is better." Honest and responsible training includes appreciating the signs of exercise resistance so you can live to fight another day!

RELATED: 6 Red Flags That You Are Working Out vs. Training


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Tim DiFrancesco, PT, DPT, ATC, CSCS is the Head Strength & Conditioning Coach for the Los Angeles Lakers and Founder of TD Athletes Edge, where he provides fitness, recovery and nutrition guidance to aspiring and professional athletes. For training advice, visit and follow him on Twitter/Instagram through @tdathletesedge.