Scaling with Purpose

One of the main pillars of CrossFit is that it is a universally scaleable training method. That means that experienced CrossFitters and new CrossFitters can do the same workout side-by-side to their own individual level. Scaling is a concept that simply represents altering movements to achieve the correct stimulus for the task (workout/strength/etc) at hand.

Your coach should be well-versed in options to fit your skill/strength level while maintaining the goal of the training.

With these options, what are some of the reasons keeping athletes from scaling workouts? Let’s look at a few:

1: Ego: It can be tough to see everyone else is going RX and it’s intimidating to figure out your other options. The absolute best thing you can do when joining a gym is to leave your ego at the door. Get rid of any external pressure you may be adding to yourself and make sure you are working within your current capabilities. 

2: Coaching: As coaches, it is our job to educate members on why you should be scaling your workouts. The fastest route to improvement is through intensity and we don’t get intensity by moving slowly and poorly. I will always advise members to scale a workout to maintain the stimulus of the workout. 

3: Not Listening: This is usually the guys and girls that have been to the gym for a couple of months and now believe that they don’t need coaches advice. Pay attention in class and take the advice you are given. Even if you can lift 135lbs during ‘Grace’ maybe going 115lbs and finishing sub 3 minutes is a better stimulus for that workout. 

Your Reminder:

The road to success is long in CrossFit, there are so many things to learn and they only get more difficult when you throw them all together in a workout. Scaling back reps, weights and movements to ensure that you are finishing within the intended time cap and moving as efficiently as possible is the best way to stay healthy and to improve quickly. 

The smart athlete is the successful athlete. Hopefully you can take a couple of these quick tips and keep them in mind next time you are wondering whether to scale the workout or not.

Phil Hesketh

CrossFit Alioth