CrossFit Patience: Knowing When to Scale

Welcome back to Wisdom Wednesday. Today we’ll discuss a very important topic that many of us probably don’t want to hear.

To Rx or not to Rx?…that is the question. For so many of us it seems like having that Rx next to our name at the end of a workout is the most important thing at the gym. Unfortunately, I’m here to tell you it’s not!

As a coach who has Rx’d plenty of workouts over the years, as well as having to scale accordingly on various occasions, I’ve learned that you have to set your ego aside and focus on performing good, quality reps. That is our main focus in CrossFit, especially here at Ole Glory. I may not have the fastest score, or the most reps at the end of the day, but I know that each of my reps are done correctly with proper form. If you’re flying through a workout, doing mediocre reps, just to get a top spot on the whiteboard, then you’re setting yourself up for failure! Sure it’s fun to compare scores, but you should really have the mindset to compete only against yourself; to be better than you were yesterday.

So how do you know when you should scale? This may be running through our minds as we read over the workout. Each workout has a stimulus, which means there is a particular way the workout should be done. Some workouts may be written to be finished in a short amount of time, while others may involve a long workout that requires you to find a steady pace to keep moving for the duration of the workout.

Lets take Diane for example, 21-15-9 Deadlifts at 225/155 and Handstand Push-Ups (HSPU). This workout is designed to be a sprint. For an advanced athlete who has mastered these skills, they should be able to complete the WOD in less than 5 minutes. If you are not efficient at these movements, or you feel like you will be resting between reps frequently, then you should scale. This may mean lifting a lighter load for the deadlifts and performing HSPU on a box. The goal is to have everyone performing the workout at the same stimulus. There is no shame in scaling!

Workouts that involve heavy lifting should never be used as the time to build your strength. For this reason strength days are programmed so we can work on our form and technique. Over time, you will notice an increase in your strength and you will be able to use heavier weights in future workouts. Don’t let your friends bully you and try to dictate how much weight you put on the bar. Stay true to yourself and the results will speak for themselves. The key here is PATIENCE. Building muscle and endurance takes time. Trust the process!

RX’ing movements before you are fully prepared not only develops bad habits that are hard to break, but it’s dangerous. You put yourself at a higher risk for injuries because of poor form. It’s just not worth it! Once you have done hundreds of reps to enforce proper body mechanics, then you can add intensity to your workouts and challenge yourself to set new PRs. As long as your movements are done correctly, don’t be scared to push yourself!

Most importantly, trust your coaches! If we’re advising that you scale, it’s not to hold you back, it’s to benefit you and your fitness. Set goals and work towards them everyday. Or you can schedule a Strategy Session with a coach to help you achieve those goals. That’s what we’re here for! You’ll thank us later when you’re hitting max numbers for your lifts while maintaining excellent form. Stay smart and when in doubt, ask your coach. Happy Scaling 🙂

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