Scaling movements is one of the most important parts of training. More important probably is developing awareness on when we should and need to scale a movement or weight based on how we are feeling and how we are moving in that given training session. Scaling allows an individual to do a movement through a full range of motion that generates a stimulus similar to if not the same as a “prescribed” movement. Scaling helps us achieve our goals and become stronger athletes. Does scaling make us any less of a person or inferior to those who do movements or workouts “as prescribed”? The answer is NO, ABSOLUTELY NOT! In fact I would argue that the athletes who know they need to scale and make that choice for themselves are far better than those who push themselves to do a movement or weight that is outside of their wheel house, all in the name of doing a workout prescribed.
When it comes down to success in training whether it is in CrossFit or another specific sport, scaling plays a crucial role in successful training. We all can’t expect to walk into the gym day in and day out and expect to be 100%. That fact is that we are all exposed to a multitude of different experiences each and every day. Some days may be great and leaving us energized as we make our way into a training session, whereas other days may leave us feeling drained, tired, or sore from the previous day of training. It is important to remember that on those days in which we don’t feel our “regular” 100% we need to adjust and examine and realize what our 100% will be for that given day and training session. In making this observation and having this awareness we take note of what we are capable of pushing ourselves to do in that training session. While we might regularly perform a certain weight or do a particular movement, if we aren’t at our normal 100% we might need to scale that day and use a weight that is lighter or scale down a movement so we maintain a full range of motion that is productive to growth. In doing this we ensure we are at a level where we are pushing ourselves to improve and effectively adapt to the stimulus we put on our bodies.
Something that I have noticed in my experience in training both specifically for a sport and in CrossFit is that idea that people don’t like to scale. Many look at it as a weakness and they believe that if they do something once they should be doing it all the time. This just isn’t true or realistic. Over time our bodies change and adapt. When we focus on one area we will improve in that area, but the moment we don’t focus on it and turn to another part of our training that needs improvement we loose a little in the part we were just focusing on. Now there is nothing wrong with this, this is just the way things happen when we train. We can’t realistically train every single one of our weaknesses every day and expect to improve evenly across all of them and for our body to keep up and adequately recover.
The long-winded point I am trying to make here is that SCALING IS OKAY! If we don’t scale sometimes when our bodies don’t feel 100% then we are doing ourselves a disservice. We should never sacrifice form or a full range of motion for the sake of putting an RX next to our name on the whiteboard. That won’t make us better; it will put us at risk of injury or ingrain poor movement patterns. The point of training is to better ourselves and to improve our movement patterns. Sometimes in order to achieve these goals we will HAVE to scale. This doesn’t mean we are lesser than anyone else, in fact it means we show a true investment in our goals to get better, become stronger, and achieve a higher level of overall fitness. So next time your not your full 100% remember it is okay and sometimes necessary to scale weights and movement to ensure success. Scaling is our friend, not our foe!