What Is Exercise Regression?

If you’re working out, and you find that you are struggling with a certain exercise, you may want to implement exercise regression into your routine! 

What Is Exercise Regression?

If you begin to fatigue, you may not feel like you can complete a certain exercise, so changing it up might be a good option!

Exercise regression refers to the ability to alter an exercise to make it easier to carry out. These micro-changes can transform a workout, making it much easier to complete! 

So, we have compiled an ultimate guide to exercise regression, including lots of information on what it is and why it is useful. Let’s dive in!

What Does Regression Mean In Exercise?

An exercise regression is a process involved in making a movement easier for you to carry out. For example, if you are a beginner, you can regress your exercises to adapt to your fitness level. 

It is important not to carry out an exercise that is too difficult for you, as this can result in injury. In this situation, you should regress the exercise. 

When you do this, two basic rules come alongside it. To scale down an exercise, you will need to scale down on the following: 

  • Modify the resistance or the position
  • Build on the baseline skills

We’re going to have a look at how to do this with certain exercises. 

Regressing A Push-Up

Lots of people who are just starting on their fitness journey struggle to do a push-up. Below, we will take a look at how you can modify a push-up to make it easier. 

How To Do A Push-Up?

To do a push-up, start with your hands and feet on the ground. Then, with your back straight and your hips parallel to the floor, you will need to lower your body until your chest is about to touch the floor.

Then, you will need to raise your body back up to the starting position by extending your arms.

This will need to be repeated, ensuring that your back is straight throughout the movement.

How To Regress A Push-Up?

To regress a push-up, there are a few things that you can do. These include: 

  • Perform the movement on your knees, also known as a knee push up
  • Perform the movement on your knees with your hands elevated (on a chair or couch)
  • Stand and perform this movement with your hands on an elevated platform.

What Are The Benefits Of Exercise Regressions?

An exercise regression is an approach that reduces the demand that an exercise has on movement. 

These benefits include: 

Maintain Your Confidence 

If you don’t feel like you can carry out an exercise properly, it is a good idea to find a way that you can complete the exercise, even if it is slightly altered.

Over time, you may even be able to adjust so that you can carry out a traditional push-up, or get closer to the traditional version of the exercise. 

Using Shared Space 

If you are training in a shared space, being able to change your exercise routine to fit in with the available space is important. Often, there is no room for you to use the equipment that you are hoping to use, so regressing the exercise is a good option. 

What Can You Alter In An Exercise?

There are lots of things that you can do to regress an exercise. These include: 

What Is Exercise Regression?


When you start to feel tired, you can make a change to the weight or intensity of the exercise. For example, you can go lighter. If the workout is too difficult, grabbing a lower weight is a great way to make the exercise that bit easier.

This can be done on most exercises, and it is a great way to make the exercise easier to carry out.


You can alter the range in an exercise. This refers to how far you go in a movement. It is determined by the depth or distance that you are going in one exercise. Controlling the range of motion is an easy change to make if you are carrying out a set of exercises. 

You can take your effort levels down 50 percent, and adjust this to be easier or harder throughout the workout as it suits you. 

The range can refer to distance, and it can also refer to the control and technique.


You can also regress an exercise using height or elevation. This can be changed by adding a box to your workout or reaching different levels above floor level. 

For instance, if you are doing a lateral shoulder raise, you will want to start off raising this above your head fully. However, if you find this difficult, you can regress the exercise so that you are not lifting your hand fully above your head.


Speed is another way that you can regress an exercise. If you are struggling to carry out the exercise at the speed you are attempting it, slow it down slightly. This may be able to give you enough room to continue with the exercise while catching your breath.

This can also allow you to gain more control over the exercise as you are not just racing to get it done.

Body Position 

You can also alter the body position to regress the exercise. This can change the direction of resistance or gravity, changing the way the exercise is carried out. In some cases, this will make the exercise easier, but in some cases, it may make it harder.

What Is Exercise Progression?

Exercise progression refers to the idea of altering your exercise to make it more challenging. You may want to alter an exercise so that it works out certain parts of the body or challenges you more.

Final Thoughts 

So, there you have it! In this article, you should have been exposed to all the information you need when it comes to exercise regression. Don’t be afraid to change up some of the exercises in your routine to make sure it suits you well! 

Laura Simmons
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