The CrossFit Tween

Every day you come into UB to do a class, you make a choice - to RX, or not to RX?

For the high-level CrossFit athlete, RX’ing a WOD is usually a foregone conclusion. On the other end of the spectrum, a CrossFit newbie relies on the scaled version of a WOD to ensure they can actually perform the movements and get the work done safely.  But what about the CrossFit tweens?  How do the awkward middle grounders scale? Who have a bar muscle up not 15? Who have double unders but not consistently strung together? Who have a clean clean, but not at 185 for reps? 

If you fall into the tween category, there are a couple of questions you should ask yourself as you approach your daily workout:

  • What is the intention of the workout? 

Your goal of the WOD is never to RX or not.  Instead, it should be to satisfy the intention of the workout.  Is the WOD after a high intensity sweat-fest?  Is it focusing on serious strength gains?  Is it a skill-tastic WOD day?  The intention of the workout is a great guide for how to apply your efforts and scaling decisions.  If you can't tell, ask your coach!  That's what we are here for.  Our scaling answer might surprise you, but our recommendations are based on our combined knowledge of the intended purpose of the WOD along with your skills as an athlete. 

  • Can you stay safe and consistent?

Safety is another crucial deciding factor in choosing to scale.  If you can only string together one or two deadlifts at 185, should you really struggle through 45?  If you lose form on a kettlebell swing after a few reps, should you commit to that weight for a workout?  If you just got your muscle up, should you really spend 5 minutes each round flailing on the rings? 

When you approach the WOD do you think “screw it, I’m racing the clock and I’m go to finish THIS WOD with THIS WEIGHT and no ones going to stop me,” or do you calculate risk?  Yes, we want you to challenge yourself, but it is very important to us that you can leave the box under your own power and come back the next day for more.  Doing a WOD inefficiently and inconsistently with repeated reps just to say you did RX is asking for trouble, and it feeds the CrossFit trolls when you invariably get hurt. Don’t feed the trolls, people.

  • Can you split your effort?

Scaling doesn't have to be black and white.  You can split how you scale in a workout.  This is especially the case for skill-based scaling.  Here are a couple scenarios where you might try it out

- If you always go for singles instead of doubles because just aren't that consistent.... you will never get consistent.  But if the idea of fighting for each and every double under in a WOD makes you want to punch a wall, perhaps you can split your effort.  In a 5 round WOD, do singles on rounds 1, 3, 5 and doubles on rounds 2 & 4.
- In a WOD with 7 HSPU per round, consider doing 3 RX HSPU every round and the scale the remaining reps in each round.
- If the rhythm of a full snatch is getting you down, maybe you break down your 10 reps into 5 power snatches and 5 hang squat snatches so you can work the components.

The point is if you sell yourself as always scaling a movement and never try it, how will you ever get better at it?

No matter where you are on the scaling spectrum - remember, scaling is never a point of shame.  It is a matter of getting the most out of each and every workout and aspiring to be the best version of yourself.