A Gas Guzzler!
12-15 min. time domain
Scales: 1. Only DU and attempts are counted reps - no single unders counted. Decrease reps if this is going to slow the time down significantly. 2. a. Knees-to-Elbows or Toes through Rings b. Toes to Beam above a high line c. Ins and Outs 3. Load 4. Volume - 30 - 15 - 10
Strength Focus 5x50' Front Rack Walking Lunge Increase weight each time
Knowing when to scale a workout is an important aspect of CrossFit training. We all want to be able to do every WOD as prescribed (or as it is written on the board), but we must also be smart about our workouts, and make sure that we are getting the intended effect from each WOD. Doing so will allow us to get the most out of each workout and ultimately progress safer and faster.
Within CrossFit, workouts vary in order to challenge our bodies in different ways. Long chippers or endurance workouts push our aerobic capacity, where short/ heavy workouts challenge our anaerobic system. This ultimately leads to the formation of the “balanced athlete”- someone who is both fast and strong; someone who has endurance and power. When a WOD is not properly scaled, however, what’s meant to be a quick and heavy workout can become a 30 minute endurance session. In the long term, this works against the CrossFit goal of becoming more athletic all-around and can even negatively impact our strength gains.
We most commonly see people lose the intended effect of a workout when it comes to WODS that are intended to be short and heavy. Many people will push themselves to do the RX weight, even if it means drastically increasing the time spent on a workout. Consider the classic CrossFit workout “Fran” as an example. This WOD consists of Thrusters (95# men/ 65# women) and Pullups performed at a rep scheme of 21-15-9 for time. Fran is a workout that is meant to be short but very intense. Average times on this WOD for CrossFit Games athletes are easily sub 2 or 3 minutes! However if a beginner or fairly new Crossfitter attempts this workout as prescribed, it could easily take 10 to 15 minutes or more. The longer the workout takes, the more taxing the workout becomes in terms of endurance (not the intent of this WOD).
So how do we know when to scale a CrossFit WOD? In this example, if 95/65 is a very heavy (but do-able) weight for you when it comes to thrusters, don’t just load up the bar for the sake of trying a "girl WOD" as prescribed. Instead, scale the load to a weight that you find challenging, but think you can still do mostly unbroken for 21 reps. The same rule should be be applied to pullups and substituting a proper modification to finish the WOD in a comparable amount of time. Instead of spending 8 minutes on your 21 pullups, talk to the coach about lowering the rep scheme or performing ring rows instead.
When it comes to scaling its all about choosing a weight and movement-difficulty level that you feel challenged but comfortable with at the same time. This should be a weight or a movement that you believe you can do consistently throughout the WOD while maintaining proper form. At the same time, scaling doesn’t mean it should be “easy,” you still want to get a good workout in. Here are a few extra tips to keep in mind when it comes to scaling future WODs:
* RX weights and times provide a baseline, they are not set in stone. We want to be able to work up to these loads but it takes time, so be patient.
* Scale to increase work capacity- this means if you have to go lighter, or do a modified version of a movement to finish the work in a decent amount of time, go ahead and do so. Don’t spend 15 minutes on 10 handstand push ups just to do them as RX'd. Higher work capacity at a scaled version of a movement can actually build more strength than one or two reps as prescribed. The strength transfer of ring rows to pullups is a great example.
* Form comes first- Is your form being compromised? Especially when lifting heavy load. This is a great time to scale and choose a load where you can complete the workout with good form.
* Make sure you are still getting a good workout– a WOD should never be “oh, too easy”.
* On the flip side of the coin we must also feel comfortable scaling up if we can do so and still get the desired effect of the WOD. If your Fran time is 7:15, scaling up wouldn’t make sense. On the other hand, though, if you’ve been using the 25 pound kettle bell for the past year and you choose that weight every time only because you have gotten really good at it and comfortable with it …it’s time to go heavier my friend! You’ve mastered the movement at that weight, your back is strong and you are ready. Sure you might not be as fast the first several WODs you complete with a heavier kettle bell, but you are definitely going to have bigger gains in the long run.
*The most important thing is to challenge yourself but don’t stress yourself out. We are all working to be better, stronger and fitter. We all come from different athletic backgrounds and we all have different body types, strengths/weaknesses, and abilities. At the end of the day, you’re working to improve upon your own personal bests, not simply write “RX” next to your time. Keep your workouts logged, be diligent in your routine and get the most out of each workout. Thank you CrossFit 915!!
Welcome to our visitors -Juliet from CF Unveiled (Denver), and Linda from Sedona!