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The Importance of Scaling

Scaling is always an option

“Universally scalable” has always been one of my favorite selling points for CrossFit. No matter what your age, athletic background or current fitness level, there’s a way to modify it. With the right combination of movements, someone fresh out of On-Ramp could be in the same class as an elite-level CrossFit competitor and both will be laid out following the WOD. The importance of properly scaling goes beyond creating a level playing field. In addition to allowing everyone to elicit the same physical results of a workout, scaling is done for safety.

As every member of CrossFit Metanoia is made aware of when they sign our waiver, there is an inherent risk in exercising. It’s commonplace on any given day to throw weighted balls, swing large pieces of iron overhead or move heavy barbells in rapid succession in close proximity of others. Proper scaling allows individuals to develop a solid foundation of movement and progress them accordingly, mitigating the risk of injuries to themselves and others.

“But I don’t want to scale!!”

There is nothing wrong with scaling exercises. More often than not, scaling a workout or a movement is met with resistance, as if performing anything other than the RX movement is a punishment. Scaling correctly will increase work capacity more efficiently than attempting to complete workouts as prescribed before you’re ready for them. Properly lowering the weight and achieving a faster time will actually yield a higher level of power and can greatly improve your training. I’ll give you an example. We recently performed a few benchmark workouts,


30 Clean + Jerks for time (135/95)



30 snatches for time (135/95)

These are clearly designed to be “go as hard and as fast as you can” workouts so we’re talking, 3-6 minutes for most individuals. If this workout turned into 30 single reps with 30-45 seconds rest in between reps, the weight was too heavy for you. So now instead of testing the limits of your short duration energy systems and power endurance, you’ve completely altered the workout and probably got crushed for it.

Putting it all together

 Achieving mastery takes time and properly using progressions, modifications and substitutions are all part of that process of moving forward, not being held back. Trust the process and remember that progress, even if it's small, it's still progress.


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