The Importance of Scaling
As the head coach responsible for the programming of our box, I try my best to never label an “Rx” weight on the board. I really don’t like the idea of “Rx”. Instead I try to use different terms like light, moderate, or heavy and hammer home that intensity is a relative term. However it is CrossFit and sometimes there’s just no way around it. Whether it’s a benchmark, Hero WOD, or team WOD there will be a standard somewhere.
Whether you are a Sasquatch Squad member or any other gym athlete, the first thing you should as yourself when you walk into the gym is “why am I here”. It should be answered something to the tune of “to get closer to my goals”. (totally separate post on goal setting) Most of our goals fall in line with “being more fit” “losing weight” “getting healthy” or “fitting in these jeans”… but if your goal is an “as prescribed (Rx)” workout, here’s what you need to do.
#1 – Get Stronger
#2 – Practice skills (particularly ones you hate/ are bad at)
#3 Stop going Rx
#1 – Stop “saving it for the WOD”. Strength is the of the up most importance and should never be overlooked. This should be priority. Strong people are harder to kill and what comes as an added perk is being faster at those WODs. If a workout has a 95 lb Thruster and you can comfortably 3 rep a Front Squat at 225#’s those Thrusters aren’t going to feel too heavy. On the other hand, if your 3 rm Front Squat looks a little more like 135# you’ll be missing the intended stimulus of that sub 5 min “Fran” time. I cannot emphasize the importance of sheer strength.
#2 – Rarely do we acquire a new skill in the middle of a METCON. It takes time and practice to become proficient in gymnastic skills, strongman events, or even running technique and form. It also takes countless years to get good at Olympic Weightlifting movements. The bare techniques and critical skills of these sports should be practiced relentlessly in a controlled environment.
#3 – It’s very easy to fall into the Rx trap. Feeling like if you didn’t get an Rx score then you didn’t get a good workout. Please remember that the WOD is actually a METCON which stands for metabolic conditioning! Don’t confuse conditioning work for strength training. Remember, a 20 min Fran is not the intended stimulus. You will get drastically more from metabolic conditioning from scaling the weight down in order to achieve a sub 6 minute time rather than work for that 95# Rx number and taking 12 minutes or longer.
There is an infinite amount of reasons to scale, both up (rare) and down. This can be due to a multitude of reasons such as injury, range of movement, adaptive athletes, personal goals, skill level, mood, health, work schedule, or ever other sports priorities. Getting good at scaling takes practice, experience, and proper planning. ASK your coach what the intended stimulus is. ASK your coach about ways to scale movements, ASK your coach what accessory movements you can work on to improve your movements. When it comes to the WOD, your coach and your own priorities should always be #1 Safety, #2 Consistency, and #3 Intensity.
Final Thoughts: Last and most importantly, every workout is better than sitting on the couch. This is a long term process and progress is what we strive for rather than perfection.
From everyone on the Sasquatch Squad, WE are proud of you!!!
– Coach Al