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

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Old 07-26-2013, 05:08 PM   #1
Max Sawicky
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when to and when not to Scale?

is this a simple question? I'm unsure of when to scale weights for a WOD, and when I should keep them rx'd. im relatively new to crossfit (<6 months) and have seen pretty good progression. I try to do all the wods RX'd, but at what point should I be scaling the weights down? Is there a percentage I should look for, like the weights should be less than 80% of max or something like that?

for example in the work out from earlier this week

205 front squats, 20 reps
30 inch box jumps, 30 reps
55lb KB swings 40 reps
wall balls, 50 reps.

I did this work out RX'd and finished i 11:26. the front squats took me the longest as my 1 rep max is 235, and i had to break them down into sets of two by the time i had done 8 (5-3-2-2-2-3-2-1-) shouldn't hte point be to at least do sets of 5? hope my question makes sense.

5'7"/155lbs/28y

if i had dropped to 185lbs for the FS, or 155, i would have gained easily a min, if not two., but i don't feel thats comparative when scaling.

Last edited by Max Sawicky : 07-26-2013 at 05:11 PM.
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Old 07-26-2013, 06:08 PM   #2
Nicole Ortiz
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Re: when to and when not to Scale?

If you can do them RX, then do them. If not, I scale to 75-80%.
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Old 07-26-2013, 07:24 PM   #3
Cody Lichtenwalner
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Re: when to and when not to Scale?

Its been my understanding that when you can't do the movements explosively then its time to scale. Except on max days of course. For instance we have the same 1rm on front squats and I did that workout at 155. I scale to stay explosive throughout but also to be dead at the end and for time workouts are supposed to be fluid and fast. It took a lot of trial and error and a few workouts where I scaled too much and was left wanting at the end. But I feel like I got it down to a science now
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Old 07-26-2013, 09:06 PM   #4
Andrew G Parker
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Re: when to and when not to Scale?

There seems to be mixed thoughts on it. I do RX when I can. It slows my times down quite a bit and no doubt robs me of some of the full benefits of an intenser, faster workout. That being said, I am trying to build strength as well. There is a balance. I am more motivated as I am increasing the number of WODs I can do RX, more than faster times or more reps (as the case might be) by scaling more than I have to. I doubt if there is an either/or answer that fits all.
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Old 07-28-2013, 08:45 AM   #5
Glenn Plomchok
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Re: when to and when not to Scale?

I will usually ask my coach "what is the targeted time to complete this?". At that point, I will decide what to do. Many times, we will have a time limit so that also is an indicator for those who need to scale to go ahead and do so.

There are times that I will sacrifice time for extra "weight" work...other times I will not. It really depends...I will say for me, with a max FS similar to yours at 245 or so, I would have probably gone to 185-195 and tried to get them in 4 sets of 5 or maybe 3 sets of 8-7-5.

11:26 sounds like a good time though so, nice work!!
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Old 07-28-2013, 06:04 PM   #6
John Donovan
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Re: when to and when not to Scale?

IMO, MetCons are designed with intensity in mind with proper form being the only thing above it. If you can't do Fran as Rx'd in under 3:00 you need to scale. If you're doing 205# front squats broken up as much as you were I think you were missing the point of the WOD. Don't get me wrong, even broken like that your time was still good but had you went with 185 or something you could've done unbroken and took 2:00 off that time it'd been even better.
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Old 07-28-2013, 07:04 PM   #7
Max Sawicky
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Re: when to and when not to Scale?

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Originally Posted by Glenn Plomchok View Post
I will usually ask my coach "what is the targeted time to complete this?". At that point, I will decide what to do. Many times, we will have a time limit so that also is an indicator for those who need to scale to go ahead and do so.

There are times that I will sacrifice time for extra "weight" work...other times I will not. It really depends...I will say for me, with a max FS similar to yours at 245 or so, I would have probably gone to 185-195 and tried to get them in 4 sets of 5 or maybe 3 sets of 8-7-5.

11:26 sounds like a good time though so, nice work!!

garage gym, no coach so i don't have anyone to ask what kind of time cap should there be. but this is good advice. sometimes ill look at this site to see people's times, but thats not a very good basis in my opinion simply because people are all over the place.
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Old 07-28-2013, 07:07 PM   #8
Max Sawicky
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Re: when to and when not to Scale?

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Originally Posted by John Donovan View Post
IMO, MetCons are designed with intensity in mind with proper form being the only thing above it. If you can't do Fran as Rx'd in under 3:00 you need to scale. If you're doing 205# front squats broken up as much as you were I think you were missing the point of the WOD. Don't get me wrong, even broken like that your time was still good but had you went with 185 or something you could've done unbroken and took 2:00 off that time it'd been even better.
as i do agree with this, i just don't feel i can have a comparative/competitive time if im scaling.
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Old 07-28-2013, 07:38 PM   #9
Nathan Holmes
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Re: when to and when not to Scale?

Max,

Correct CrossFit programming is designed to train you across broad time domains....meaning you should train your body with short, medium, and long WODs, all at as high of intensity as you can manage to have good form for the majority of the time. A general rule of thumb is to use the daily WODs as training and the girls/heroes as tests. By that, I mean scale the daily workouts so that you finish roughly right around the target times. Those WODs were designed to train you in a specific time domain. If it was designed for 10 minutes and it takes you 30, you just missed an opportunity to train your body at the 10 minute range. So scale down. Every once in a while, you do one of the girls to gauge the effectiveness of your training. I have my folks go as close to RX as is reasonable when completing the girls/heroes.

If you are following mainsite or another site's programming, put yourself on a week's delay so you can see what kind of numbers people put up and then try to scale appropriately to hit that time range. Also, remember that the workouts are designed for elite level athletes. The rest of us are supposed to scale down from that. I could write about programming for pages and pages. PM me if you want to discuss it more.
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Old 07-29-2013, 05:10 AM   #10
Philipp Lendner
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Re: when to and when not to Scale?

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Originally Posted by Nathan Holmes View Post
Max,

Correct CrossFit programming is designed to train you across broad time domains....meaning you should train your body with short, medium, and long WODs, all at as high of intensity as you can manage to have good form for the majority of the time. A general rule of thumb is to use the daily WODs as training and the girls/heroes as tests. By that, I mean scale the daily workouts so that you finish roughly right around the target times. Those WODs were designed to train you in a specific time domain. If it was designed for 10 minutes and it takes you 30, you just missed an opportunity to train your body at the 10 minute range. So scale down. Every once in a while, you do one of the girls to gauge the effectiveness of your training. I have my folks go as close to RX as is reasonable when completing the girls/heroes.

If you are following mainsite or another site's programming, put yourself on a week's delay so you can see what kind of numbers people put up and then try to scale appropriately to hit that time range. Also, remember that the workouts are designed for elite level athletes. The rest of us are supposed to scale down from that. I could write about programming for pages and pages. PM me if you want to discuss it more.
Exactly

The example WOD from my point of view was designed to be done more or less unbroken. This was supposed to be a light, easy workout.

As it has been said, mainsite programming is for elite (games) athletes. If you want to figure out your numbers then go to some profiles of games athletes and take their 1 rep maxes, divide your 1 rep max by theirs' and then multiply that number with the rx'd weight (can also be done with e. g. pull-ups in a workout; just take your max pull-ups and compare it to the one of a games athlete).

If you go for an AMRAP or timed mainsite workout as rx'd, be aware that you are not doing what mainsite has intended to do that given day (unless you are ranked 150th or better in your region during the CF Games Open).
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