“CrossFit is scalable, your mother should be able to work out next to you!” – this is the one of the first things we say to your at CrossFit U!

Scaling is an important part of CrossFit, it allows members of all levels/experience to train side by side, while still getting the same training adaptation – increased strength, fat loss, endurance etc.  On one hand you it needs to be hard enough that you get a workout, but not so hard that your form breaks down and your potential for injury increases – it’s a little bit of an art, so we thought we’d write this little guide to help you!

Choosing the weight for the workout is largely dependent on the stimulus we are trying to illicit in the WOD. Are we trying to make you stronger? Are we trying to make you faster? Are we trying to make you more enduring?  The trick is to look at how many repetitions there are for each movement
Here’s a little guide  – it’s loosely based upon Prilipins chart (Mad Russian Science).

  • Low Reps (3 – 5) = 70 – 80% of 1RM – Strength
    Prepare to work hard for every rep!
  • Mid Range (5 – 12) = 50 – 60% of 1RM – Strength / Endurance
    Your first few reps will be easy, but the difficult will build as the workout progresses.
  • High Reps (12+) =  = <50% of 1RM* – Endurance / Practice

*For Gymnastic Movements you should be working to a scaling where an additional 3 Repetitions would result in failure or a break down of the movement.

When all else fail, just put your hands up and ask the Coach!

The trick to scaling movements, is to think about your body and how it moves – not exercises! If you’re unable to complete an exercise due to a mobility restriction, injury, or maybe you just don’t know how to do it! Consider changing the exercise, remember that exercises are just tools that allow us to strengthen your body in a certain way.

  • Jump (Explosive Hip)_ – Power Cleans, kettlebell swings, box jumps
  • Push  –  Handstand Push Up, Press, Push Press, Press Up, Dips
  • Pull – Deadlift, Pull Up, Ring Pulls Rope Climbs
  • Bend – GHD Sit Up, Toes 2 Bar, Leg Raise, Sit Up

Lowering the rounds/rep count for a workout is also an option – the trick is NOT TO think about total reps/rounds, but instead the DURATION of the workout. ie A 400m run should take about 75 – 90 secs, however for a slower runner , 75 – 90 secs might be the equivalent of a 300m run – still the same effort and energy system, just less the distance! 

CrossFit workouts should be be observable, measurable and repeatable, if you’re changing the scaling mid way through the WOD, it would make the workout difficult to track and observe an improvement when we repeated it.  ie If you did 10 Minutes of Cindy RX, then 10 Minutes of Cindy with a band, in order to see if you had a measurable improvement in your repeat, you would need to repeat the same scenario.

If for some reason you picked the wrong scaling, there’s no shame in stopping, taking a breath and recovering to try again. Make a note of the scaling, and learn for next time! 

When all else fails! Speak to a Coach, and we’ll give you some guidance on what scaling you should use! Scaling will be different for everyone and it’s the key to getting the most from CrossFit.

See you in training guys!

CrossFit U