Why Scaling Is Good

You have complete your final CrossFit of the week. You tapped the Rx button but you wanted to roundhouse it. You would have too if your limbs didn’t flap like spaghetti. To Rx a CrossFit workout is a huge personal victory. The high hits all your dopamine receptors. After gloating in the shower you settle down and let it all sink in. You can’t wait until next time. But what if you’ve only dreamt about the elusive Rx button? Don’t let the big whiteboard intimidate you. You’ll get there. Start by scaling your workouts.


Scaling workouts levels the field for participants in Crossfit. It works much like the handicap in golf. Scaling allows athletes to achieve proper work-out results by manipulating aspects of each exercise. Shaping each exercise to fit the experience level of the individual permits everyone to perform the same routine within the scope of their own ability. Fitness levels vary from person to person. Adjusting the number of reps, time/speed, and weight allows each individual to perform the prescribed routines without injury.

Three important ingredients in scaling are number of reps, weight load, and range of motion. These steps allow for less experienced athletes to complete the same exercises with the pros. The exercises and movements are modified to meet the person's level of training. The goal is to maximise one’s level of intensity while taking care to avoid injury. Pushing oneself beyond reasonable limits does more harm than good. Ignoring this may produce long-term damage, especially in older athletes.


If the big board says 40 push-ups but you arms will shutter at 20, you may aim for 15 each round. Push it. If 50 air squats are but a dream because you tip over after 20, set a goal that makes you struggle but is achievable.

Weight Load

You see the board say 40/30 kg next to overhead squats. Your ego is bruised because you couldn’t drag that amount of weight across the floor if you wanted to. Don’t fret. Do 80% of your max. Heck, squat the bar if you have to. The same principles apply to any of the weight routines.

Range of Motion

This may be the key to scaling your workouts. Form is everything. Who cares if glide through 20 overhead squats if your form is all wrong? There is a lot that goes into a perfect squat. Your shoulders, wrists, back, knees, and ankles all have to work as a team. As one part of the body is comprising it forces the other to pick up the slack. That’s when injuries happen. Remember, you are only as strong as your weakest link. Don’t push your body beyond that point.

To tap that coveted Rx button be smart. Start slow and find your limits. Then push yourself to the edge of sanity. Your body will thank you for it. To achieve the results you are looking for, correctly performing routines is vital. Take a deep breath. Focus and scale it down.

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