Strength & Fitness

Make Better Progress With This 1 Easy Change

Picture the following scenarios when you walk into the gym.  

The workout states to complete the EMOM at 70% of your 1RM.  

We are doing Cindy as our Metcon and you want to know if you improved from last time.    

The RX weight for Deadlifts in a Metcon is 315/185 and you have to do 50 reps in the workout, but your one rep max is only 340/200 and you don’t know how you should scale your weight.    

These are scenarios that you will encounter everyday at the gym, and the only way you can answer these questions is to start recording your workouts EVERY SINGLE DAY!!!!


As coaches we often get the question asked to us “how should I scale this?” “ what weight should I use?”...and as much as all of us coaches wish we had the exact answer for every single member in our gym, the reality is we do not know what is right for each and every person.  

We are here to make sure you are safe, help teach you proper form, and guide you as to how long a workout should take.  But it is your responsibility as the member to know your body and what pace and weights to choose in order to reach the correct intensity.


Let’s talk about scaling and intensity for a little bit.  

Like I said it is your responsibility as a member to choose the proper weights and scaling options in order to reach the correct intensity level.  What do I mean by correct intensity level?  Well let’s look at a hypothetical workout and some hypothetical scores.  

Fran 21-15-9

Thrusters (95/65) (75/55) (45/35)

Pull-ups (Bands) (Ring Rows)

Kyle 3:00 RX

-Has been doing crossfit for multiple years, was able to complete all reps unbroken at prescribed weight.

Jane Doe 10:00 RX

-Has been doing crossfit for a year, just got kipping pull ups last month and can do 3 unbroken when fresh, had to break up the thrusters multiple times.

Sarah 4:00 55lbs, Ring Rows

-Has been doing crossfit for a year, just got kipping pull ups last month and can do 3 unbroken when fresh, choose ring rows in order to keep moving in workout, did thrusters unbroken at 55lbs.  

Reflect on this workout and the scores of the three individuals.  This workout is meant to be light and fast, reps should be completed almost entirely unbroken, you should not be resting for more than 5-10 seconds between transitions, and you should be dead tired at the end.  Fran is a workout that should be completed under 5 mins.  Yes the RX weight is most likely something that the majority of us in the gym can lift, but just because you can lift the RX weight does not mean you should choose it, and just because you can do pull ups, maybe only in sets of 2 or 3 does not mean you should do pull ups in the metcon when there is 45 reps.

Choosing a lighter weight and a scaling options for the workout is going to allow you to REST LESS which means you are getting MORE WORK DONE FASTER which ====== HIGHER INTENSITY!!!!

When it comes to metcons working longer and heavier does not equal better results.  High intensity equals results.  You will have opportunity to work on strength and skills during class and it will translate into eventually being able to do those heavier weights and skills in metcons.  

Remember folks Crossfit doesn’t get easier you just get stronger.  


So everyone do yourself a favor if you are not recording your workouts, get a notebook and Start TODAY!  

Make sure you record not only your time and weights, write down how you scaled body weight movements.  Did you use bands on pullups? What color and how many reps could you maintain at this scaling option?  Did you go to your knees on push ups?  What pace could you maintain on the rower.  All of these are important notes to take because this will help you decided how to scale your next workout in order to reach the correct intensity level.

Also if you are guilty of not scaling appropriately during workouts...it's okay I know it is fun to lift the heavy weights...from here on out go lighter until you are completing your reps unbroken or you only need to rest for 5 seconds between sets.  

And understand that if we as coaches as you to scale down, it isn't because we don't think you can do something...it is because we want you to get better - and a lot of the time that means checking your ego and choosing what you can get done quickly and efficiently!

The point of Metcons are too keep moving! We want SAFE, QUALITY, and FAST movements!

Sarah Achman

Coach - Duluth