Coaches corner by:
Stop Viewing scaled/modified workouts with negativity. Everyone has their own starting point.
Most workouts we as coaches get asked many question, some smart and others where we are left scratching our heads! However, the most common question is “What weight should I do” or “How many reps should I scale too?” This brings me to this month’s topic.
Every day, people are finding themselves feeling embarrassed about modifying or scaling work outs. Most of the time these excuses have to do with the fact that people don’t think they’re are ready or they don’t know how to do certain movements yet. The first thing people need to remember is that all workouts are scalable. CrossFit is infinitely scalable, so of course is each and every single workout at CFA. They can be scaled to accommodate all abilities and skill levels. There’s even a scaled division and scaled leaderboard now for the CrossFit Games which shows that there should be no shame in having to scale or modify.
As a coach, I think the hardest thing to teach people is how to feel ok with scaling a workout — be it an Open workout or a regular class workout. We all have a little bit of an ego in us but the only way you’ll ever get good at CrossFit, or fitter, is if you check that ego and allow yourself to start from the bottom. Build a good base and take the time to learn good technique because then you’ll be setting yourself up to make consistent progress. Scaling is not a negative thing in any way. There’s a maturity that comes with knowing when it’s smart of you to scale. You are showing that you want to get better and are willing to take the steps necessary to get there. There’s no shame in that, so don’t make an excuse ever for scaling or modifying a workout. Sometimes the intended stimulus of a workout means you will get more benefit from performing a workout with less weight, or less reps, or a slightly modified movement in order to complete the workout as the programming intended rather than try and complete as RX and not getting through the workout in the time cap or with far fewer reps.
Besides injuries another bad thing about going Rx’d with poor form is that your body adapts to your latest training. So if that is performing poor reps because it’s actually too heavy, guess what your body adapts to? Yes you guessed it, it will adapt to these poor reps. Now keep doing this over and over, and there goes your mobility and your technique.
Likewise as coaches we can continually see people’s improvement across fitness level and technique, so when we encourage you to push yourself a little harder and step outside of your comfort zone with a movement, rep selection or weight selection, don’t be afraid! Embrace the challenge. We wouldn’t make you do it if we didn’t think you could do it. If you always play safe you will never improve. In fact you will end up being worse!
Physiologically your body likes to be in homeostasis. Which means in balance. To improve your fitness you need to get your system off balance so it can recover and heal itself for another battle. They call this supercompensation. This will only happen when you challenge yourself. So bottom line is challenge your workout in that matter that you are out of your comfort zone and so to speak it starts hurting... but do this with proper form throughout 90-95% of your workout! If you start losing form/technique (5-10%) then stop, rest and try again with good form. Technique is key and so is Intensity. Balance these two out and your are GOLD!
We are all here to get better! Enjoy the process and make sure we leave the ego at the front door.