CrossFit Ann Arbor: So You Understand Scaling

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Deadlifts, Burpee (Over Barbell)s - beyond the whiteboard

Scaling in necessary to effective training.

One of the concepts that can help is expected value. Let's say the best people on the planet can deadlift a #185 barbell at a an average of 1 rep every 1 second for twelve reps. Then can do 12 burpees over the bar in 45 seconds. (The very best and first round) Add in a little noise in transition and you have the first round done in a minute. Let's say the second round takes 65 seconds (slower cyclic rate based on bioenergetics) Third round 70 seconds, fourth round 75 seconds, fifth round 80 seconds.  Roughly 5:40 seconds

Some variance comes from size difference and technique. Most variance comes from differences in conditioning. Let's say the average time should be 7:30 – People who are scaling should shoot to be done near 7:30 as a guide.

In the above example, the athlete has three options for scaling. 

1. Decrease load in deadlift

2. Decrease number of burpees

3. Decrease the number of rounds

Let's assume that most people gas between going between deadlifts and burpess because of the burpees. Choosing how to scale the burpees to fit into the expected time value of the work out. Less reps or fewer rounds. There is no hard and fast rule when making the choice. 

If you know you are most challenged by some movement, look to scale it rather than decreasing overall quality of your work out. Think about hitting the expected value. How can you go faster to have higher power output? i.e. get better workout verses going prescribed and taking a day to do it. 

If you need help scaling, ask.