Scaling was a necessity when we all began our CrossFit journey.  We had to scale in order to make it through the WOD and to learn the mechanics of the movements.  As athletes progress in their CrossFit journey they tend to lose sight of the importance of scaling.  Knowing when to scale is just as important for an experienced CrossFitter as it is for a Beginner CrossFitter.  So the question is, when should I scale? The answer comes down to 3 key points:

1.  Safety

to scale

Safety is key in CrossFit.  When you are trying to decide whether to scale or not you need to ask yourself, “Can I complete every rep with good form”?  If the answer is no, you need to scale.  Why would you ever want to risk getting injured just to have a RX by your name.  It is totally not worth it! And remember even your coaches scale sometimes!

Unfortunately most of us will never make it to the CrossFit games.  If we do we will be a mere spectator. Therefore, let’s remember the point of why we started our CrossFit journey.  We did not start our journey to RX every workout if it meant we are doing it unsafely and without purpose. We all started for a point.  We wanted to get stronger, healthier, look better in a bathing suit or build confidence.  Whatever your point was remember that point every day when you are planning your WOD strategy.  And for goodness sakes, if you are unsure of what to do, ask your coach and trust their opinion!

2.  Purpose

The purpose of the WOD is another key element when determining when to scale.  Too many times athletes are enamored with having a RX by their name that they forget the purpose or intensity of the WOD.  At CrossFit Gardendale we set time caps for a reason.  We set them to give you a guideline on how long the WOD should take and to know the purpose or intensity of the WOD.  If Fran (21-15-9 pull-ups & thrusters 95/65#)  is programmed and your 1 rep max thruster is the RX weight then you should scale.  Fran is a sprint and should be finished as so.  If it takes you 12 minutes to complete Fran then you have missed the entire point of the WOD.  The intensity has been lowered.  You have lost the sprint element of the WOD that will leave you rolling around on the floor and gasping for air.  You have turned Fran into a strength exercise and that is not the point of the WOD.  WODs are programmed with a purpose.  Trust your coach, they know the purpose of the WOD!

3. Point

In the beginning of your CrossFit journey you were told to, “Check your ego at the door”, let’s never lose sight of this no matter how experienced of a CrossFitter you might be! Scale when needed and know that’s ok! Your coaches will think highly of you when you scale appropriately!

4. Respect for the Community and Coaches

CrossFit is as much about community as it is about individual achievement. Scaling workouts appropriately shows respect for the guidance of your coaches and the supportive environment of your CrossFit box. Coaches appreciate athletes who listen and respond to their advice, as it demonstrates a commitment to personal growth and the values of the CrossFit community.

5. Setting an Example

For more experienced CrossFitters, scaling when necessary sets a positive example for newer members. It reinforces the culture of humility and continuous learning within the box. By demonstrating that scaling is a normal and respected part of the process, you help foster an environment where everyone feels comfortable and encouraged to train at their own level.


~ Carrie