Exercise substitutions

Alter We Go

Alter We GoHere’s a perfectly lovely example of adapting what is useful . . . CrossFit has a benchmark WOD (workout of the day) affectionately known as Fran, which consists of the deceptively simple movements, Thrusters & Pullups. Three total sets of each exercise for 45 total reps. 21-15-9 are well-known numbers, beloved & despised simultaneously. 21 Thrusters, 21 Pullups, 15 of each, then 9 of each.

Maybe we don’t need or particularly care for the idea of Pullups today . . . no worries . . . we can insert anything we want & or need into this well established template. Do try this at home, in the park, or wherever you can focus on the feeling:


  • Thrusters & Kettlebell Swings– same # of sets, same rep scheme
  • Burpees & Cleans– same sets, same reps
  • Squats & High Jumps– same, same & wear your big kid underwear


The list can & should go on. Like anything that attracts us into action, it looks simple, but it certainly isn’t easy. Whichever combination you pick, revisit it once a week and see if you feel less wiped out that the week before. There are ways to make it tougher . . . a down & up 21-15-9-9-15-21 rep scheme is one way, but make sure you can finish the basic template before experimenting with anything more complicated.

Whatever you choose, whatever you do, enjoy it . . . this might be your only chance in this earthly form.