Too weak for Strength Training?

I’m 3 weeks into the general fitness plan w/ level 1 strength and I have quickly realized that I’m not strong enough … or too heavy…for many of the movements (side planks, planks with lifts, push-ups, etc). I’ve been fumbling my way through them with whatever modifications I can do to survive, but am worried that I could be negatively impacting the training or my muscles.

For context I was about 300lbs last spring and could barely ride 5k. Now I’m 220 and just passed 5000km for the year, but all my strength is in the legs.

Any tips?


One: you can modify any of the side planks to be on your elbow if you are having stability/shoulder strength issues. This is my case due to a serious injury earlier this year. My ability to do Strong Arm pose varies day by day
Two: Don’t move up in the sequence until you can do EVERY exercise as stated to do. You can remain on Full Body 1/2/3/4 for an extended time frame until you can do each exercise. Then move up in the sequence. Same with any of the other exercise sequences. This does two things: Teaches you how to de each exercise and it challenges those muscles we rarely use on the bicycle.
Three: If the issue is balancing, try doing Dancer pose but don’t pull your leg in towards you. Hold for four or five DEEP breaths and concentrate on a spot on the wall. If you don’t have one, create one with a sticky note with a small circle on it.


Hi @cj0hns - I first started side planks about 6 years ago. Doing the hip raises and dips were extremely unpleasant. The best advice I have is to 1) practice good form to avoid injury 2) Be patient, it will come with time, 3) take a week break before repeating the current strength level, 4) Repeat the current level until it either gets boring or easy or both.


Thanks for this. For my own clarity, do you mean remain in strength level 1, or to just keep doing the full body 1 vid until I can do it?

Remain in level 1 for at least 2-3 12 week plans.


You could also do some of the strength/core yoga workouts instead of the strength sessions. I think they are a little easier/less intense and you could then work into the strength sessions.


+1 for this. Adding in a core yoga session or two, if you have the time will also increase your balance, which will make a lot of the strength exercises easier to complete with good form.

+1 on adding yoga - add the beginner level to your plan along with the strength

Another yes to yoga. When I was recovering from COVID-19 for the second time in three months, I found I was too weak both in muscles and cardiovascular strength for any of my previous activities. I did a yoga video every day for two months, and that gave me an excellent onramp to strength and cycling again. And the yoga felt hard! I could barely hold a downward dog. But it got easier quickly.


Firstly, massive congratulations on your progress so far! That’s an incredible improvement and you should be very proud!

With regards to the strength training, for movements such as side planks, planks and press-ups, rather than having your hands and feet as the support points, using your knees will make the pivot point closer and reduce the effort required to hold or complete the movements. Missing out the odd exercise from your sessions won’t negatively impact your training, you will still get the benefit from every other aspect of that session and the sessions that you are doing.

Hope that helps and let me know if you have any other questions or need any further help. And keep up the great work!


Keep doing Strength 1 until you can do all exercises with perfect (or as close as you can get) form. Later sequences rely on your ability to do so.

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