The benefits of (gasp) scaling!

This morning someone in the class told me that he left the gym angry because he had to scale the weight mid-workout on Wednesday.  I have been thinking a lot about range of motion with the CrossFit Open coming up, and along with that the importance of scaling when it is necessary.

Some people have no problem scaling weight, reps, or rounds, while others have a really hard time with it.  When I first joined CrossFit, I had to scale a lot of stuff.  I had to use a band for pull-ups and dips, I could not string to wallballs together at 14# and be able to touch the 10″ line so I would have to use a lighter ball, handstand pushups were scaled, I could go on and on.  Being a competitive person, I would get frustrated if a coach told me to lighten the load on my bar or grab a band to get full range of motion on my dips, but now I am glad that they did.

Scaling for range of motion or proper form on the lifts is so important.  First of all, it is safer.  If you do rx weight on a workout but you round your back every time and have terrible form, there is a chance that you could really hurt yourself.  Going lighter and paying attention to proper form can help prevent that.  Scaling is also important if you can’t do the movement correctly.  If every time you toss a wallball up and you hit the wall a foot below the line, you are not teaching yourself the proper explosion through the hips that is necessary to get the ball to your target.  If you can’t lock out on a dip or get your shoulder below parallel, then you will not develop the strength that the dip is intended to develop and you are cheating yourself.

It’s hard to scale, especially for those who rarely need to scale anything and can do most workouts rx.  This morning I had to do 50 strict pull-ups as fast as possible.  About half-way through I started to notice that I was kipping to get my chin over the bar and so I grabbed a band to finish off the set.  It’s always humbling to have to scale something, but the value will pay off in the long run I promise you!

If you have intentions to compete in CrossFit competition developing proper range of motion early is so important.  People who train with poor form and range of motion end up frustrated in the open and in competitions because they get a lot of “no reps.”  So do not be afraid to scale (or be offended if one of coaches suggests you should scale).  Be patient, work, hard and you will get stronger, faster, and more powerful!

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