Value of Scaling


Scaling can be a tough subject for some people. They don’t want to feel like they are less than others and want to be able to complete workouts just like their friends in class. This sometimes leads individuals to go too heavy with a barbell or attempt a gymnastic movement that may be too advanced. Scaling allows athletes to stay safe as well as progress in an effective way. Maybe you have found yourself in the following scenario?

The music is blaring and you are surrounded by all different types of individuals who are alongside you repeatedly lifting a barbell from the ground to overhead via a snatch. You are completing Isabell, which is 30 snatches for time. Sweat pours out of you as your lungs burn to finish the final 3 reps. You place the bar down after your last rep and collapse to the floor. You are the first one done and soon the taste of blood forms in your mouth as you heavily inhale and exhale from emptying the tank and hitting your lactic threshold. After catching your breath you sit up to cheer on your classmates as they complete their final reps. 

After everyone is done, fellow classmates come by congratulating you on your job well done, offer fist bumps and high fives. Even your coach comes over to compliment you on your snatch form. You feel great about the workout and the work you did. However, when it comes time to input your score you review the whiteboard to see what everyone else has done and notice that you completed the workout at the lightest weight of anyone in the gym that day. You think to yourself that you wish you did heavier weight and that maybe having completed it so fast wasn’t right because everyone went a little slower than you. 

In the above scenarios you start to devalue your work completed when you compare to others in class. It’s great to be competitive and push to challenges others and yourself to push hard alongside others. However, when you start to doubt the work you did and its impact because it was lighter, faster/slower, when compared to others you take away from the value of the hard work you did. This can be a defeating feeling and lead to second guessing your scaling decisions. 

Scaling is crucial to our growth and development inside the gym. We need to scale appropriately to ensure we are pushing to get what WE need from the workout. When we start to think less of the work we do, we don’t acknowledge the true progress we are making. Sometimes we may find ourselves facing a workout we need to scale quite a bit based on where we are as athletes and that is OKAY! Scaling is extremely valuable and one of the things that makes CrossFit so impactful. Being infinitely scalable means anyone can reap the benefits of the CrossFit training methodology. 

Arthur Ashe put it best when he said, “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” We all come to CrossFit from a different space and it’s important to remember our own progress is going to look different from others. Scaling allows us to embrace this and effectively work toward our goals. Not sure how to scale appropriately sometimes? That’s fine ask the coach, have a conversation and always remember that scaling IS extremely valuable, no matter how much you have to scale.

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