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The Importance of Scaling

Lifting more does not always mean better results. When you look at the WOD (workout of the day) remember it has a purpose. It’s either meant to be slow and steady to work on endurance, or fast and light to work on speed, or heavy and steady. There are many different goals or purposes to the WODs. When you choose your scaling method, keep that in mind. We scale to keep intensity in workouts. If something is too heavy, you don’t want to be stuck on it. We scale to keep safety. If you aren’t able to move a weight well or do a movement efficiently, it can cause injury.

 

For example, let’s look at the workout “Baseline”. “Baseline” is a 500m Row, 40 Air Squats, 30 Situps, 20 Pushups, and 10 Strict Pullups. For this example, we’ll use Kristin. Kristin will look at this workout and plan for a short workout. The time cap is 12 minutes so she knows it’s supposed to be fast. Her goal is 8 minutes. Kristin knows she’s efficient enough at air squats, situps, pushups, and rowing to RX those, however, she thinks she might struggle with pullups. Kristin can do 5 strict pullups in a row when she’s not fatigued. She also understands rowing and pushups will fatigue her pullups. She decides to use a band for her pullups. This will help her finish as soon as possible versus struggling for a few minutes to get 10 reps.

 

Another example we can use is “DT”. “DT” is 5 Rounds 12 Deadlifts, 9 Hang Power Cleans, 6 Push Jerks at 155 lbs for men and 105 lbs for women. When choosing a weight for this workout, you should pick one where you could do all push jerks unbroken. So let’s take James for example. James has a very strong deadlift, but his push jerk isn’t as much. James will use the same weight throughout but scale everything to what he needs to use for his push jerk. He knows he can do 135# unbroken for the push jerk. It will be challenging, but his goal is to do them all unbroken. James is strong enough to use 155 lbs, but with that weight he might have to break up the push jerks and he knows this workout is meant to be fast.

 

The last example is a 20-minute AMRAP (As many reps as possible). This workout is 7

Power Cleans (135/95), 7 Burpees, 200 m Run. In this example, we’ll use Holly as our example. Holly is an extremely strong runner, so she won’t need to scale that and she knows she’ll make up time there. She also flies through burpees, so we’re not concerned with that. Holly does struggle sometimes with power cleans though. Her one rep max is 125 lbs, so the RX weight is very close to that. Holly knows her form is hindered when she goes too heavy. Holly will choose to do 85 lbs for this because it is heavy enough that she won’t be able to do them unbroken, but light enough that she’ll be safe. This is also the perfect workout for her to go heavier because no matter what… it’s only 20 minutes. This is different than “DT” because she doesn’t need to worry about finishing a certain amount of reps. She just needs to move comfortably and safely through the workout all while feeling challenged.

To sum it all up. RXing does not mean you will become a better athlete. Just like everything in life, CrossFit is a procress. Take the necessary steps to make the workouts achievable yet challenging. And as always… ask a coach if you need any help deciding to scale or not!