Knowing When to Scale
To “Rx” or not to “Rx”, that is the question….Or is it?? It seems for many that having that Rx written by their name on the whiteboard is the most important thing when walking into that CrossFit box. I’m here to tell you, it’s not!
Now, I know that I am not the strongest girl in the gym, but I take pride in knowing that I am performing the moves correctly and safely. If I am going to do the WOD, I am going to do it right - that may mean with the correct depth in my squat, with full extension in my arms, or with the correct number of reps. Whatever the WOD may be, I am looking for quality in my movements rather than finishing with the fastest time or highest number of reps. We need to look beyond the scores of others and understand that we are competing with ourselves. Don’t get me wrong, performing a WOD “Rx” is a great goal for anyone to have, but remember that if you are sacrificing your form just so you can write Rx by your name, then you are setting yourself up for failure.
Scaled or Rx… how do you decide? This is a question many of us ask ourselves as we analyze the WOD each day. You need to recognize what the intent of the workout is. For example, the infamous workout “Fran” (21/15/9 thrusters and pull ups) is meant to be done in under 5-6 mins. If you are resting more than you are working, then you are missing the point of this particular workout. Fran is meant to be a sprint, so you may need to scale down the weight in order to speed through it and get that gasping for air, burn that we all thrive for (well some of us do!!). You should not rely on the WOD as your means of gaining strength. You need to focus on the strength program for increasing your lifts and you can eventually improve your times or use heavier weights during the WODs.
Rx’ing a movement when you are not ready not only reinforces bad habits, and it can be dangerous, often leading to poor form and injury. Having the necessary baseline strength and technical ability will stay with you. Once you have the proper form and understand the technique, you can then worry about lifting heavier or setting new PRs. Stay true to yourself and don’t let your neighbor or your ego dictate how much weight you put on your bar.
While many of us want to be done first, and want the fastest time on the board, it is important to understand that scaling to make this happen is not benefiting you. If you find yourself repeatedly done before everyone and you are not Rx’ing, you need to review your movements and weights. Some of us scale because we are too scared to try a heavier weight, or do a pull up without a band, or maybe its just because you like to be at the top of the leaderboard. However, you are not doing yourself any favors if you do not challenge yourself properly. Just like putting too much weight on the bar for a WOD, not putting enough weight on that bar can be just as bad. So what if you come in last? We are all there to cheer you on so you can set those PR’s that we all strive for.
It takes experience and a willingness to listen to your coach to find that sweet spot of safety, speed, and quality. Be smart, check your ego at the door, and remember why you’re here.. to get better everyday!