Why CrossFit is for everyone: Scaling

Scaling is one of primary reasons anyone can become a CrossFitter and why it’s so universal.  Workouts are developed based on the best athletes in the gym (aka “The Fire Breathers”) and can have very complex and difficult movements or lifts.  However, the entire workout can be modified for each athlete.  At one time or another, all CrossFitters have had to have modified workouts, typically in the beginning, and it is expected and accepted.  The goal is to have all athletes complete the workout “RX”(as prescribed) but it takes most new CrossFitters time to get their bodies ready to take on RX workouts, for whatever reason.

Here is the order in which we scale for our athletes:

1.  Weight:  First and foremost, we want all of our athletes to perform the movements or lifts in the WOD.  If they can perform the movements or lifts correctly, then we reduce or scale down the weight first.

2.  Movements or Lifts:  If the athlete is unable to properly perform the movement or lift (i.e. cannot do a pull-up,  push-up, ring dip,  muscle-up, etc.) but we can scale or modify it for them while still completing all the required reps prescribed, then we would likely modify or scale the movement or lift.

3.  Rounds:  If the athlete can perform the movement or lift but they are not ready for the length of the workout prescribed, then we can reduce or scale the rounds (i.e. 5 rounds are prescribed but we have the athlete only perform 3).  Reducing or scaling the rounds can be in conjunction with scaling the weight and/or scaling the movements or lifts.

4.  Reps (repetitions):  If the athlete can or cannot perform the movement or lift and they are not ready for the length of the workout prescribed, then we can reduce or scale the reps. (i.e. 20 pull-ups, 20 squats, 20 Kettle Bell Swings, and 20 Deadlifts are prescribed, we would have the athlete perform only 10 reps. of each).  Reducing or scaling the reps. can be in conjunction with scaling the weight and/or scaling the movements or lifts.

There are numerous ways to scale a movement or lift depending on the development of the athlete.  This allows the athlete to get their full benefit out of the workout and move forward to eventually completing the workout RX.

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