Before we get into tonight’s post, I want to apologize for the delay in the posting of my weekly recap. With all the great things that took place this weekend, especially at the Olympic Lifting Workshop, it’s taking a little extra time to get complete. In any event, here we go:
“The Scaling of CrossFit WODs”
No topic stirs up more healthy conversation in the gym than when we talk about how to scale a workout. And rightfully so; without scaling properly, you miss out on the goal of the WOD.
At the heart of this topic lies this concept: we aim to preserve the stimulus of each particular WOD.
What I mean is this – each WOD is carefully planned with a specific goal in mind. Some of them are meant to be limited by your lung capacity. Others are meant to be limited by your strength. And still others are meant to be limited by your skill proficiency.
Heavy workouts are just that, HEAVY. They should be moved through slowly and methodically. Lighter workouts should be completed at a faster pace and thus limited by your lung capacity.
Let’s use ‘Fran’ as an example, as it is the quintessential CrossFit benchmark WOD: 21/15/9 of Thrusters and Pull-Ups. This is a workout that is designed to be finished in the 5-8 minute range. This ideal finishing time is the same whether you are using the RX weights of 95/65 or some sort of scale, thus preserving the stimulus.
Most of us can look at the RX weights of Fran and see that they are fairly light for the average CrossFitter, meaning that this workout is designed to be limited by your lungs. If you look at these weights and feel like they are beyond your capabilities, then you now have something to go off of. During your warm-up, focus on picking a weight that allows you to continue moving at a steady pace. If you pick up the bar and find yourself unable to do even 5 thrusters – this is TOO heavy! Remember, the first round alone calls for 21 in a row.
The same goes for the pull-ups. If you’ve just learned how to do kipping pull-ups but can only string together 3 or 4, then now would be the time to grab the red band and work to string together as many as possible during the WOD.
Scaling becomes a problem when a light workout is turned into a heavy one or vice versa. If you are hard-headed and determined to do Fran RX but it takes 15 minutes or longer, then you have just robbed yourself of an opportunity maximize your power output (recall from Jay’s last post). On the flip side, if you go far too light on a workout designed to test (and build) your strength, you’ve missed the point of that one too! Intensity produces results. In order to maximize those results, we need to maximize our power output by scaling each WOD appropriately.
When in doubt, always ask your coaches advice. But don’t use it as a crutch to stay uninformed in terms of your own capabilities.
All of this info begs the questions: “How do I get my cardio up?” or “How do I get stronger?” Stay tuned, these answers are coming!
15min to 1RM Split Jerk
4 rounds for total working time of:
8 Hang Squat Clean to Thrusters (135/95)
12 Burpee Over-the-Bar
16 KB Swings (53/35)
**20 minute time cap