Scaling Shouldn't Be Stupid, Part 1

I know, I know... absolutely shameful how long it's taken me to post something. I could argue I've been very busy, but it's more than likely I've just been very lazy. Fret not; I'll feed you, baby birds...

First off, the views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author. They may or may not reflect the same ideals espoused by other trainers or coaches you have worked with. This is totally fine, but they might suck, so take that into consideration as well. Either way, this issue has been chapping my ass for a while now, so out with it, I suppose.

Let's get one thing straight: scaling is important and necessary for most everyone. If a workout is designed to take someone less than 10 minutes, then it should be scaled to achieve this end. This isn't to say that if it takes you 10:35 or 12:01 to finish the workout, that all is lost and you should quit exercising forever. There may just be some minor adjustments needed in the future. But if a 10 minute workout takes you 27 minutes, you fucked up and - more importantly - missed the point. This is why it's important to confer with your coach before your workout, log all of your numbers/times/loads, and be aware of your own abilities and limitations.

The fact of the matter is that a good amount of people out there can't do everything prescribed. If you choose to do "Diane" prescribed and your best deadlift is 250lbs, then I hate you. Put your ego away, tighten up, and take some weight off the bar. Workouts like "Diane" and "Fran" are supposed to take less than 5 minutes. If you slog through it for 12 minutes, then it's not the same workout. Any intensity or power is lost and subsequently converted to movement for the sake of motion. You're better served scaling the workout and finishing it faster.

This guy has every right to do "Diane" prescribed

Alright, enough lecturing, let's get down the nitty-gritty and talk about which scaling options piss me right the shit off...

As far as a "functional movement" goes, double-unders aren't terribly high on the list. Their main purpose as I see it is to maintain coordination and rhythm when you're tired. While I doubt this would carry over to coitus, it's nice to think it might since rhythm and coordination are crucial in that arena.

CrossFit.com suggests doing tuck jumps if double-unders are not developed yet. Their reasoning is that "multiple single-unders in no way compensate for the exertion required for double-unders." My main issue with this is that substituting a double-under with a tuck jump takes the rope entirely out of the equation. If people need to improve or develop their double-unders, what use does eliminating the jump rope do?

With this problem in mind, a compromise I find most effective is to split the reps between single-unders and tuck jumps. This offers several benefits:

1) The exertion of tuck jumps
2) The development of jumping rope technique (while fatigued as well)
3) Decreased chance of injury with reduced repetitions i.e. people shouldn't be doing 400 fucking tuck jumps in a workout

Obviously, this approach needs to be adjusted on a case by case basis. Some quick examples...


For someone with no double-unders at all, this workout would be excellent for tuck jumps and single-unders. It would look like this...

25 single-unders
25 tuck jumps
50 sit-ups
20 single-unders
20 tuck jumps
40 sit-ups

This would allow the person to still complete the workout quickly, become highly "exerted" from tuck jumps, and work on jumping rope while tired. Also, this workout is best whenever this girl does it.

If a workout calls for 100 double-unders at some point, rather than doing 50/50, it'd likely be better to do 25/25/25/25. This way you're not doing too many tuck jumps at a time.

The most important takeaway from this discussion, especially in relation to double-unders, is that you have to practice. Your skills don't improve during metcons. They improve when you devote time to skill development.

More movement scaling to come - Stay tuned!