Last week I talked about scaling, and gave a couple specific examples of how to scale in certain situations. One of these involving someone who would otherwise be an upper level athlete, but had a lingering injury. As a coach it’s simple to adjust a workout knowing all the physical factors that are going on, but there’s often a common response from athletes, especially at an upper level, being “that seems a bit easy”.
It’s this sentiment of feeling like once we get a certain level that we should never have to step back that I want to delve in to. This often leads to more detriments though because it can make an athlete feel like they have not been improving, or even getting worse. If we look at the example of scaling for an injury it’s likely they will simply view it as “not doing Rx” or “I’ve gone faster/done heavier”. Rather than seeing it as preventing/healing an injury or a chance to give a more concentrated focus on some other aspect of fitness that could need work.
When we first start a new form of training it’s also amazing because we essentially see a constant linear progression in improvements, but this just isn’t realistically sustainable. At some point if we keep looking at progress from a weekly, or even monthly view, it can look as if we’re literally standing still. Once we look at it from a more long term perspective however, we can see that the progression is still there! It’s just at a less extreme incline. There could also be points where we even regress, but just like climbing a mountain there are up, downs, and plateaus before reaching the peak.
In CrossFit once someone starts getting in the head space that they do workouts “Rx” you will almost see them stop listening because they assume they’ll just be doing exactly what’s written on the board. Regardless of what the stimulus is supposed to be a bar will be loaded, and high skill movements will be attempted. We’ve put the notion of “Rx” on a pedestal and treat it as law once its attainable, but in reality its just a suggestion. There could be a movement in a workout that’s either heavier for you in relation to others maxes depending on being a speed or power athlete, or a skill that you haven’t quite gotten the hang of that others do.
Things like this will always come up, but if we’re training and not testing it’s important to just remember that whatever you end up doing for that workout is YOUR prescription. It could be lighter than what’s written or even what you’ve done in the past if the week has just been long leading into that workout. Take time before each workout, whether doing it as prescribed or scaled, and think back to how the same workout would have looked for you six months or even a year ago!