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Sounding off on Scaling

So you roll in to DF about five minutes before class starts (because you’re always on time), shoot the breeze for a couple minutes with your friends, then walk over to the whiteboard to see what’s about to go down in the next hour.  The coach goes over the WOD and this is what you see:

10 Minute AMRAP (Actual WOD from 6/27/18)
1 Ring Muscle-Up
2 Thrusters 185/125
30 Double Unders

After looking it over and realizing that you don’t have RMU, the thrusters are too heavy, and your dubs aren’t great, it becomes apparent that you’re going to have to scale.  Scaling for some people involves a mental walk of shame especially if they normally RX a majority of the WODs.  Scaling for others is routine and RX days are few and far between.  If you fall into either of these categories, I’ve got something for you.

First of all, the only way anyone in this gym is going to the games is if they buy a ticket.  We do not have any games/regionals/top open athletes at Dog Fight.  Logan is easily our best athlete and he’s been a healthy distance away from qualifying for regionals the last couple years.  That being said, the reason we coach CrossFit is to make you all better mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, doctors, nurses, teachers, police officers, grandparents etc… The goal is NOT to make you an elite athlete but rather prepare you to handle whatever life throws at you as well as give you the fitness to allow you to enjoy life to a greater capacity than would otherwise be afforded.  If you’re caught up wondering why you can’t snatch like Angie or handstand walk like Drew Langhals, think back to why you started CrossFit.  Is it because you want to be a top tier athlete? If so you’re in the wrong place.  But if your goal is to be a better person by improving your fitness and getting better little by little, then chances are you’re right where you need to be. And even though you may not be where you ideally imagine yourself, I bet you’ve come a long way from where you started.

Now if you fall into the second category where scaling is a way of life, I’ve got a couple things for you.

First, scaling is completely okay! Looking back at what I just said, we’re not elite athletes, so don’t feel bad when you can’t do everything written on the board.  You’re here to get a good workout and be better than you were yesterday.  That is the goal that we need you to not lose sight of.  As far as what’s written on the whiteboard, the general rule in CrossFit is that coaches program for the higher skilled athletes and then adjust as needed for the rest of class.  That is not meant to be a shot at the weaker athletes but it’s simply the most effective way to program.  We try to not have the majority of WOD’s be ones that only the coaches can do, but at the same time, every so often, there will be a WOD where 95% of the gym scales.

Secondly, I want you guys to rethink about scaling.  I want you to think of it as a stepping stone and a progression rather than a final resting place.  The idea behind scaling is to allow you to get the proper stimulus for the workout AND make you better so that you can eventually do RX or at least get closer in the future.  That being said, I think (I don’t know for sure) that some of you choose the scaled option with no thought to how you want to perform in the future.  I.E. you scale today with no intention of going RX in the future with whatever given movement/weight.  Now I realize that not everyone will ever be able to get to the RX standard, and some of you guys have permanent limitations.   That being said, I want to gently push you towards having a goal of getting harder, better, faster, stronger (Just like Daft Punk told us to) rather than scaling with no thought to progression.   So next time you walk up to the whiteboard, make it a point that even though you are scaling, you are moving towards getting better.  Practically speaking, if a workout calls for snatches at 135lbs and you usually bounce down to 95, try 105, try 115, or try something a little harder than yesterday.   Also be sure to ask the coaches for new options if you’ve been doing the same scale as long as you can remember.  We do have additional scales and progressions that are not on the board.  Lastly, do accessory work, in the gym or on your own.  It’s amazing what spending an extra 5-10 minutes a couple times a week working on specific skills can do.  If you have questions/concerns about anything whether it be movement, weight, stimulus, ask a coach!  I love being able to tailor workouts to specific athletes as well as give you a better understanding about what we’re doing.

To sum it all up, I want you to not look at scaling as a badge of shame or as a default when you walk in the gym, but rather use it as a time to learn, grow, and move towards RX.  And, not so you can hit the RX button on SugarWod, but simply so you can be a better person than when you first walked in.

– Coach Zane

Comment (1)

  1. Amber Montague
    November 20, 2018 at 7:06 pm · Reply


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