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Scaling: What's best for your fitness

Two little letters. Two letters of a twenty-six letter alphabet that seem to take up an incredible amount of real estate in the minds of crossfitters everywhere: Rx. It’s easy to get caught up in the idea of performing a workout “Rx”, especially when it seems like everyone around you is able to except for you. I remember a time during my fitness journey when performing a workout “Rx” was always out of the question; and when I was finally able to do it on that rare occasion, it was quite the accomplishment. It really is! Performing workouts “Rx” is an excellent goal to have; however, more importantly in terms of your overall fitness is how you are able to achieve that goal. This is what makes scaling so important…and AWESOME!

If we as coaches forced everyone who walked through our doors to do every movement, regardless of complexity and loading, “Rx” we would a) not be doing our jobs b) put them in an extremely unsafe situation and c) play into every single “CrossFit is dangerous” stereotype that there is out there. As coaches, it is our job to assure that every person in our classes performs each workout safely and effectively in order to achieve the desired stimulus for each individual workout. Scaling movements is what allows this to happen and what makes CrossFit universal. It gives you the ability to perform specific movements safely, while at the same time using proper technique which will pay dividends in the long run in terms of being able to move heavier weights more quickly and efficiently and perform more complex movements…which equals better fitness! So often we see athletes attempting to “Rx” a movement or a weight when they really should be scaling it (again, by no means a bad thing!), and the result nine times out of ten is that person continues to develop bad habits with the movement, or worse, they get hurt. Taking the time to scale a movement and learn the technique is crucial. The strength and skill will come if you stay committed, I promise you that, but it takes time and effort. There is no magic pill! None of us came out of the womb doing muscle ups and snatching 300lbs (except for Rich Froning, but none of us are Rich Froning).

Those who reach their goals put a ton of work in each and every day they are in the gym. We tell you a lot of things, but we will never tell you this is all easy. It is some serious hard work, but appropriate scaling, intensity, and real commitment is the recipe for success and performing all of those ninja-like Rx movements! So don’t be afraid to ask your coach how to attack a workout and whether scaling or performing it Rx is the way to go, that’s what we’re there for!

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