9Jan13

Part A:
Take 15 minutes working toward a 1RM Push Press

Part B: 4 Rounds for time of:
400m Run
15 Pull ups
15 Shoulder to Overhead
Rest 2 minutes

A great post from an old friend in Denver and a great Coach! Lindsey Marcelli at CrossFit Eminence

CrossFit workouts are designed to be universally scalable (where haven’t we seen this saying?!)  The same workout can be performed by Grandma as by an Olympic athlete; where the only difference is intensity and load. These workouts vary by degree not kind. A good coach knows exactly how to scale a workout for athletes with varying levels of fitness and/or athletes with pre-existing injuries while keeping the intent of the workout roughly the same.  (when we scale an athlete, don’t worry about the weight/reps they are doing…focus on your own workout)

In a world full of intense workouts, PR boards and huge egos, there exists a time to scale. Not every workout that you do should be with 110% intensity. Know why? Because this is going to cause you to burn out! CrossFit.com promotes a 3 days on, 1 day off training schedule for elite level athletes.  (We mention this during on ramp…but I am sure it is easily forgotten for you are trying to remember what the hell a burpee is!)  They aren’t in the gym 5 times a day, everyday of the week. They aren’t using their rest days to work on bar muscle ups, doing accessory lifts, or to run a “quick 5K”. They rest!! They allow their bodies the time they need to recover.  You need to do the same!! Overtraining wears you down….

Do I need to scale my training? Having trouble sleeping? Is your resting heart rate unusually high? Do you feel emotional and overwhelmed? If you answered yes to those 3 questions, then there’s a good chance that you have walked through the gate of overtraining hell. Talk to your coaches about this, as it’s not something to take lightly.  We are here to help you make progress and reach your goals!  Listen to your body, and share the feedback with your coaches.

I post workouts that to Suzy (we don’t have anyone named Suzy which is why i picked that name) look hard…and they are! The difference between Joe (or Suzy) CrossFitter is the work capacity and power output of each individual.

When a coach scales a CrossFitter, the coach takes the CrossFitter’s work capacity, range of motion, mobility, physical state, experience, consistency in training, power output, and mental state into account. (whew that’s a lot to consider, but it’s what runs through a coaches mind when setting you up for your wod or when we are programming workouts for the gym).  If you’re going to Rx a WOD, that’s great! Realize that the coach, not you, have allowed you to go Rx and not the other way around. Rx weights and times do not matter. The only thing that matters is your effort and your progress. The reason why we use Rx weights is because it simplifies and standardizes the WOD throughout the day. It provides a relative baseline for the weights and intent of the workout.  If you don’t quite understand the intent of the workout, ALWAYS ask your coach.  We love when you ask questions!

The simple fact is that the WODs posted on our website are designed for elite athletes with CrossFit experience, and almost all new CrossFitters will have to scale their workouts. Sometimes those elite athletes even scale the workout…it’s normal, acceptable, etc! Why is that normal?  Scaling correctly will increase work capacity (mentioned above…remember we are focusing on work capacity and power output) more efficiently than attempting to complete workouts as Rx’d before you’re ready for them. Properly lowering the weight, not just bailing the weight, and achieving a faster time will actually yield a higher level of power!

It’s also critical to scale weight on workouts. You need to evaluate the point/intent/goal of the WOD. (Ever heard the coach say….goal is 15 minutes, pick a weight you know you can get about 5 reps unbroken….etc?!) In CrossFit, one-rep max days exist for a reason: to build strength while struggling with a heavy load.  That’s also why we have specific strength and olympic training programmed in.  If the WOD calls for Grace, 30 clean and jerks at 135/95lbs, it’s clearly a metcon WOD. If you turn the workout into 30 single reps with rest between them, you’ve missed the point of that workout. You want to scale the weight appropriately to preserve the metabolic challenge!

A workout can never be too easy! If the workout seems easy, you’re not working hard enough. (Go ahead and tell me it was too easy and see what happens)  On the opposite end of the spectrum, you never want to scale incorrectly and have it be too heavy and have to strip weight in the middle of the workout. You want to start working up to that Rx weight, I get it…but striping a weight in the middle of a workout (fail) because you started to heavy is not the proper way to build up to the Rx weight.

Scaling works—but it takes planning and experience. Be Patient…this may be the hardest thing of all. If you jump up in weight too quickly in your workouts, you will become more discouraged than motivated.  Trust us here, we have experienced it and have seen it happen.   Remember to be systematic about your increases.  Track your progress, evaluate the results of your scaling and correct your mistakes. Talk to other coaches and athletes and ask for advice. Think, plan, and educate yourself (have a system in place for tracking your progress). Most importantly, keep at it.  Your coaches are concerned with your overall fitness progress. We want to see you set goals and achieve them. In order to do that, we want you to challenge yourself a little bit at a time.

Some beginner athletes will have to scale their entire workout. For athletes just learning weightlifting movements, scaling may mean completing only bodyweight movements in metabolic conditioning workouts. Once you’ve reached a level of proficiency with weightlifting movements that allows you to complete them for time, you can begin to work them into your metcon workouts.  Developing competence and virtuosity in the basic movements is more important than doing complex movements as soon as possible.  A quote from coach Glassman, “but if I can’t take the primary movers, the joints and muscles, the levers…if I can’t take this through function movement controlled, a natural functional line of movement, full range controlled, I’m making a powerful mistake to add high velocity, high impact repetition to it.” So study crossfit.com, watch videos, and listen to your coaches.

Our role as coaches is to make sure you are improving in a systematic and safe way. If we tell you to go up in weight or down in a band it isn’t because we are just being jerks (I’ve seen the looks I get when I say “use 1 less band today on pull ups, haha), it is because we believe you are fully capable of doing it! Not Get After It.

 

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