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Workout of the Day Questions & performance regarding CrossFit's WOD

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Old 01-29-2014, 04:27 AM   #1
Anders Peter Yoo Hyun Eriksson
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Scaling?

This will be my first post, actually I started this account mostly to be able to post this question.

I've come to terms with the fact that I need to start scaling the wod's more often... Even though it may hurt my ego I realize I'm just to small to be doing the wod's unscaled.

At 179 cm and 74 kg I feel that I'm just too small(and at least so far to weak =P ) to be able to do most of the rx'd weights and do it in such a fast pace that I get the intended workout.

sure I can do a deadlift of more than twice my own weigt etc. but when the WOD require for me to do this WOD for example: "Seven rounds for time of:
15 GHD Sit-ups
15 Back extensions
135 pound Thruster, 10 reps
135 pound Clean & Jerk, 10 reps

then I'm just to small(weak). Sure I can do the workout, but I wouldn't be able to do it at anywhere near the intensity the wod was intended to be done in, thus not getting the intended training. For me it took WAY too long, even though I only did 5 rounds and scaled after the first set. In no way did I get the intended workout because it was just too heavy for me.

this WOD would be something of a breeze(compared to how it was for me) for a guy at say 90 kgs because for him it would be like if I did this with 40 kgs.

So I clearly need to scale to get the intended workout. The problem is to know how much. I've read that you should scale so that you can do the wod's at pretty much the same times as the fast guys, but thats not easy to know. You either scale too much or too litle.

So it would be great if the WODs started saying, something like: "scale to approximetly 70% of your bodyweight", or something like that. That would make it much easier to know.

Or at least it would be good to know how big/heavy the athletes the WOD is designed for is supposed to be. Like are the WODs designed for an avarage athlete of 85-90 kgs or what? If I knew that, then I could just convert the weights to how much it would be in my bodyweight.

Looking forward to your answers so I can begin getting a more efficant training and become fitter! =)

(sorry for my grammar and spelling, english is not my native tounge)

Last edited by Anders Peter Yoo Hyun Eriksson : 01-29-2014 at 04:29 AM. Reason: Spelling
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Old 01-29-2014, 06:07 AM   #2
Eric Montgomery
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Re: Scaling?

Scaling based on your bodyweight or the average bodyweight of a CFer wouldn't help a lot, because strength/conditioning and weight are not always correlated. I know plenty of people who weigh far less than me but can easily handle more weight in a metcon, and vice versa.

I'd say for a workout like the one you posted, if you're putting the bar down more than 1 time during the early sets of 10 then you've gone too heavy...maybe as many as 3 drops during rounds 4-7, but those should be quick drops to catch your breath then get right back on the bar. If you're going to err on the light side or the heavy side, you're better off erring light because you'll still get the desired conditioning effect and not risk getting hurt by doing lot of sloppy reps with bad form for time. If you finish and realize you've gone too light, then you know you can handle more weight next time a similar workout comes up.
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Old 01-29-2014, 07:24 AM   #3
John Drohan
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Re: Scaling?

I agree that some extra information would be helpful in the WOD listings. It could be something as simple as intended time domain. Then it's kind of our own responsibility to scale intelligently based on our own strength and conditioning. Doing that will take some time and experience in Crossfit as we learn more about our capabilities with respect to each movement. But I do agree, some helpful information guiding everyone's scaling might be of benefit to many of us.
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Old 01-30-2014, 03:05 AM   #4
Anders Peter Yoo Hyun Eriksson
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Re: Scaling?

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Originally Posted by Eric Montgomery View Post
Scaling based on your bodyweight or the average bodyweight of a CFer wouldn't help a lot, because strength/conditioning and weight are not always correlated. I know plenty of people who weigh far less than me but can easily handle more weight in a metcon, and vice versa.

I'd say for a workout like the one you posted, if you're putting the bar down more than 1 time during the early sets of 10 then you've gone too heavy...maybe as many as 3 drops during rounds 4-7, but those should be quick drops to catch your breath then get right back on the bar. If you're going to err on the light side or the heavy side, you're better off erring light because you'll still get the desired conditioning effect and not risk getting hurt by doing lot of sloppy reps with bad form for time. If you finish and realize you've gone too light, then you know you can handle more weight next time a similar workout comes up.
I see your point, but getting a scaling suggestion based on your bodyweight would still be helpfull in being able to scale.

I mean the person who creates the WOD creates it with either himself or somebody else in mind when decisding how heavy the different lifts should be. It would clearly be helpfull to know how heavy the person is that the program is designed for, beacuse then I could just convert the weights to "x bodyweight" and scale according to my own bodyweight, although I would still have to adjust the weights according to my own strenght and weaknesses. It would just be easier to know somewhat how much you would have to scale. because there is no way escaping that for us lighter guys, lifting what is close to our own bodyweight or more will always be more work than for someone who is heavier.

Also the idea of having an "aim for time" was good.

Last edited by Anders Peter Yoo Hyun Eriksson : 01-30-2014 at 03:08 AM. Reason: forgott one thing
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Old 01-30-2014, 09:43 AM   #5
Eric Montgomery
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Re: Scaling?

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Originally Posted by Anders Peter Yoo Hyun Eriksson View Post
I see your point, but getting a scaling suggestion based on your bodyweight would still be helpfull in being able to scale.

I mean the person who creates the WOD creates it with either himself or somebody else in mind when decisding how heavy the different lifts should be. It would clearly be helpfull to know how heavy the person is that the program is designed for, beacuse then I could just convert the weights to "x bodyweight" and scale according to my own bodyweight, although I would still have to adjust the weights according to my own strenght and weaknesses. It would just be easier to know somewhat how much you would have to scale. because there is no way escaping that for us lighter guys, lifting what is close to our own bodyweight or more will always be more work than for someone who is heavier.

Also the idea of having an "aim for time" was good.
No, it wouldn't. On a person to person basis, bodyweight has nothing to do with how much weight they can or should use during a workout.

What would be helpful is a scaling suggestion based on a percentage of your 1RM. When I used to program for my gym I would do that kind of stuff all the time....i.e. take 15 mins to work up to a 1RM power clean, then use 70% of that weight for the conditioning workout.

And actually, it's significantly easier for a lightweight person to lift a percentage of their bodyweight than it is for a heavier person to do so. Look at the world record squats and clean&jerks by weight class.....lower weight classes are always lifting much higher multiples of their bodyweight than the higher classes. That's why competitions use Wilks or Sinclair formulas to determine best lifter rather than simply a strength to bodyweight ratio.

In other words, if you weigh 150lbs it's much easier for you to get a 2x bodyweight deadlift than it is for a 250lb person to get a 2x bodyweight deadlift.
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Old 01-30-2014, 09:05 PM   #6
Andrew G Parker
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Re: Scaling?

Our box does something similar to that, but in lieu of 1 Rm we might do 90% of our 3x5 or 5x3 (depending on the lift) for the day and then scale down to 80% or less if needed for the workout. Seems to work well for most everyone.
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Old 01-31-2014, 05:57 AM   #7
Anders Peter Yoo Hyun Eriksson
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Re: Scaling?

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Originally Posted by Eric Montgomery View Post
No, it wouldn't. On a person to person basis, bodyweight has nothing to do with how much weight they can or should use during a workout.

What would be helpful is a scaling suggestion based on a percentage of your 1RM. When I used to program for my gym I would do that kind of stuff all the time....i.e. take 15 mins to work up to a 1RM power clean, then use 70% of that weight for the conditioning workout.

And actually, it's significantly easier for a lightweight person to lift a percentage of their bodyweight than it is for a heavier person to do so. Look at the world record squats and clean&jerks by weight class.....lower weight classes are always lifting much higher multiples of their bodyweight than the higher classes. That's why competitions use Wilks or Sinclair formulas to determine best lifter rather than simply a strength to bodyweight ratio.

In other words, if you weigh 150lbs it's much easier for you to get a 2x bodyweight deadlift than it is for a 250lb person to get a 2x bodyweight deadlift.
I can't say I know why bigger atlheletes are "weaker" in being able to lift x times their bodywieght, but many times it seem to be a matter of disproportion... at least when you look at "normal level" atlheletes. However there is no denying that a guy with the exact build as myself but at 5-10 cm bigger height and 15 kgs heavier will have a much easier time doing for example this workout: 135 pound Thruster, 15 reps
135 pound Sumo deadlift high-pull, 21 reps
135 pound Thruster, 12 reps
135 pound Sumo deadlift high-pull, 15 reps
135 pound Thruster, 9 reps
135 pound Sumo deadlift high-pull, 9 reps

Because for him thats about 30 kgs below his bodyweight(which is only about 60% of his bodyweight) but for me thats more than 80% of my bodyweight, which makes it much more difficult for me regardless if it's overall easier for lighter guys to lift our own bodyweight.

And I do belive that the wod's are designed with bigger athlets than myself in mind. So of course I would still have to adjust the weight for my personal strenght, but it would be easier if you had guidlines in the form of knowing either a) how big the athlete the program weas designed for or B) if we were given a "scale to aproximetly x times your bodywheight".

And the % of 1RM could also be a way of doing this, although this is also varied, because you may be very strong in a RM, but maybe not have a good fatigue. However anything in helping us scale and change the WOD according to our own strenghts and weaknesses would be benicial to getting us the best workout possible. Because now you just have to guess, and I would like to make those guesses a bit more qualified
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Old 01-31-2014, 07:20 AM   #8
Tim Alford
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Re: Scaling?

Just to add to your original question, if you go to the Brand X option on Crossfit.com (I'm pretty sure that is what it's called) and it will show you how to scale workouts as well as having "scaled" versions for each workout on the main site. Check it out, very helpful!
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Old 01-31-2014, 10:13 AM   #9
Jeff Enge
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Re: Scaling?

Workout prescriptions aren't programmed for a certain "size" person, but a certain "strength" person. So, a % of BW would be pointless. I agree with % of 1RM/3RM/5RM/10RM being useful depending on the rep scheme of the workout.
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Old 01-31-2014, 10:37 AM   #10
Eric Montgomery
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Re: Scaling?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anders Peter Yoo Hyun Eriksson View Post
I can't say I know why bigger atlheletes are "weaker" in being able to lift x times their bodywieght, but many times it seem to be a matter of disproportion... at least when you look at "normal level" atlheletes. However there is no denying that a guy with the exact build as myself but at 5-10 cm bigger height and 15 kgs heavier will have a much easier time doing for example this workout: 135 pound Thruster, 15 reps
135 pound Sumo deadlift high-pull, 21 reps
135 pound Thruster, 12 reps
135 pound Sumo deadlift high-pull, 15 reps
135 pound Thruster, 9 reps
135 pound Sumo deadlift high-pull, 9 reps

Because for him thats about 30 kgs below his bodyweight(which is only about 60% of his bodyweight) but for me thats more than 80% of my bodyweight, which makes it much more difficult for me regardless if it's overall easier for lighter guys to lift our own bodyweight.

And I do belive that the wod's are designed with bigger athlets than myself in mind. So of course I would still have to adjust the weight for my personal strenght, but it would be easier if you had guidlines in the form of knowing either a) how big the athlete the program weas designed for or B) if we were given a "scale to aproximetly x times your bodywheight".

And the % of 1RM could also be a way of doing this, although this is also varied, because you may be very strong in a RM, but maybe not have a good fatigue. However anything in helping us scale and change the WOD according to our own strenghts and weaknesses would be benicial to getting us the best workout possible. Because now you just have to guess, and I would like to make those guesses a bit more qualified
Bodyweight does not equal strength. You keep switching back and forth between numbers and percentages which makes me think you don't really understand what I'm saying. The hypothetical 5-10cm taller and 15kg heavier person you described will not necessarily be able to do that workout easier than you, unless they also happen to be stronger than you.

A larger person can handle a larger absolute weight (i.e. KGs) than a smaller person, provided that larger person is also stronger than the lighter person...hence the WR weightlifting total for the 105+ class being higher than the WR total for the 69kg class. But being larger doesn't always equal being stronger on a person to person basis. And if you look at a workout like Linda which is based on percentages of bodyweight, it actually punishes a heavier person for the reasons I talked about earlier, which are related to the cross-sectional area of muscle as it relates to muscle size and strength. Simplified answer is that doubling the size of a muscle does not double its ability to produce force.

When I was coaching and had to advise people on scaling, I never asked them how much they weighed because it's simply not relevant. What is relevant is where they are in terms of strength and conditioning levels.

Also, the person who's 5-10cm taller has to move the barbell an extra few cm on each thruster and sumo deadlift high pull, so he's at a disadvantage in that respect.
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