Scaling: The Ins, Outs, and What Have Yous.

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Read this post. It will take you 5 minutes.

Let’s talk about scaling for a second. I had a member ask me last week about scaling a workout. It was a rather simple question that turned into a very cool and in depth discussion about the reasoning behind scaling. It was a discussion that could only happen at CrossFit Lando. We both loved every second of it, aka I loved every second of it and they pleased me through letting me talk about working out, and it also highlighted a necessary topic for discussion on a broader level.

Why and how do we scale? Easy answer: scaling is done to make a workout session more productive while also allowing the athlete to improve in a movement or movements being scaled. More productive = improved fitness. Each and every time you walk in the door you want to be getting more fit even if you don’t improve in measurable ways in any specific movements or movement grouping.

The ability to universally scale workouts is what makes CrossFit the best fitness program in existence. True story. Any workout can be altered for any person, and can be done so individually throughout a singular workout.

While scaling does make things easier it certainly isn’t easy to do correctly. Yes, all athletes should scale workouts at some point. Even your mighty coaches scaled workouts when they first started! The issue comes when scaling is done so without consideration for the goal, the end product, which is and always should be development towards the RX or unscaled version of the movement at hand. The reason for scaling ALWAYS is to improve your ability to one day do the movement without scale. This means that when scaling you should be making the movement close enough to the unscaled version that your body and mind will be getting the stimulus of memory that will make you better, and it also means it should be difficult enough that you are getting the physical stimulus that will make you stronger, faster, or in other ways more fit.

First let’s establish and understand that scaling is OK. It is beyond OK. It is necessary and accepted. It is also OK to scale just to make things easier. Yes I just contradicted myself from earlier, but at all levels of this topic is the fact that any given workout is your chance that day to get more fit. Your experience is exactly that, your experience, as in it belongs to you. Therefore if you choose to scale something to make it easier because you don’t feel like crushing yourself after a life and soul crushing day at the office, well then have at it. You will never hear any push back from yours truly, mainly because I have been there many times before. This gets into the whole “why do you CrossFit” discussion which we won’t get into today. Just understand that there are certainly times where it is OK to wave the white flag the second you enter the gym and success is measured by just making it out alive. CrossFit isn’t life for 99.9% of us and therefore should not contribute to negativity within our lives. This is when scaling for easiness is A-OK. So then beyond this is the fact that scaling is a necessary part of improving as an athlete regardless of your ability level and goals. Whenever you are scaling you should ask yourself what about the movement makes you have to scale: is is strength or is it skill? Then scale in a way that will help with both. Then make sure you are scaling it so that you can do the movement efficiently enough that you will get more fit.

Rope climbs are a great movement to show how scaling is necessary but also the proper way to do so. They are a movement that requires both strength for your pull and skill with the wrap techniques. Therefore you want to scale in a way that you can work on at least one but hopefully both of these aspects of rope climbs. If you do “pull to stands” you aren’t getting any skill work in but you can make them difficult enough that you get a great amount of pulling work in. If you can get onto the rope at all then scaling by doing 5′ or 10′ climbs allows you to work on your strength and the skill of the wrap technique together, but also make it manageable to allow you to get a good amount of work in through the 20 minutes.

This last part is a crucial part of scaling. Remember the whole thing about getting something out of your time at Lando from a fitness standpoint. Even if you come to the gym in a good frame of mind it is disheartening to do a 20 minute workout and barely get through 2 rounds. So scaling is for working on specific movements you might not be able to do yet but also to allow you to get through workouts in a manner in which you will get a benefit from it on a fitness level. AMRAPS are a great time to work on things you struggle with. Regardless of the nature of the workout, however, the first goal of every time you set foot in the gym is to get more fit.

In summary, scaling is done to make your workout better. Scaling allows you to do a workout with movements you cannot perform in a way that will get you more fit. Scaling appropriately means you do so in a way that will accomplish the former while also working you towards performing the movement RX.

TUESDAY

BASE
Strength: Bench Press
4-4-4-3-2-2-1-1

Hero WOD: “Moore”
20 minute AMRAP
1 Rope Climb, 15′
Run 400m
Max Effort Handstand Push-ups

PLUS
Strength: Bench Press
4-4-4-3-2-2-1-1

Hero WOD: “Moore”
20 minute AMRAP
1 Rope Climb, 15′
Run 400m
Max Effort HSPU

SkWAT Team: EMOM 10m
O: 3 Weighted Pull-Up
E: 35 Double Unders

THE PROGRAM

1. WARMUP: 10 minute handstand work
– work on handstands starting where you are able
a) heel touches on wall
b) free standing holds (10s +)
c) free standing HSPU
d) handstand walks + HSPU
e) HS Walk Obstacle Course: up and over to wall + HSPU+ walk backwards

2. Bench Press
4-4-4-3-2-2-1-1

3. Hero WOD: “Moore”
20 minute AMRAP
1 Rope Climb, 15′
Run 400m
Max Effort HSPU (coming off wall means move on)

SkWAT Team: EMOM 10m
O: 3 Weighted Pull-Up
E: 35 Double Unders
– immediately after last minute perform the following
EMOM 3m
Max Effort (1 set each minute) Muscle Ups
immediately into
EMOM 3m
20 GHD Situps
– if you do not finish in 1 minute, rest until :30 into minute then go for next round, perform 5 burpees for every rep missed each round (after completion of 3 minutes)