So how do you know when it’s time to scale up?
Here are some signs to look out for:
– Finishing first on the majority of workouts.
– When you’re able to hold a normal conversation immediately after the workout.
– Feeling like it “wasn’t that hard” and you could probably do it again after a two minute break.
– Doing everything unbroken, when you see everyone taking breaks after several reps.
-Lack of sweat and muscle fatigue
If any of the above describes you, take some chances and scale up when you are able to. Try adding 5 to 10 pounds on your lifts or a harder modification on a bodyweight movement. If it’s hard and you need to take breaks…well, good–it’s supposed to be. Worst-case scenario is that you’ve scaled up too much for a particular workout and you need to bring it back down in order to complete the workout. If this happens, don’t worry. Keep making the minor adjustments to continually challenge yourself until you reach the RX level.
Keep your eye on someone who always goes RX. If you feel like you are struggling just as much as they are, you are probably modifying appropriately. If you watch them and feel thankful that you’re not experiencing the same pain, you probably need to up your game a little.
When to scale down:
Sometimes workouts are programmed to condition the athlete with lighter weights so they can move fast through them. Other times the intention is to provide more of a strength aspect during the WOD. The best advice is to ask and listen to your coach. Sometimes you might be able to perform the workout with the RX weight, but that particular weight is supposed to feel light to perform it fast. Take Fran for example: Fran is done with ‘light’ weight and the entire workout can be done in less than 5 minutes. The coach should explain this to you so you can find a suitable weight. If Fran is taking you 12+ minutes, you’ve scaled incorrectly, and completed a totally different workout to what was prescribed. What was meant to be a quick sprint to challenge your metabolic conditioning has now turned into more of a strength and endurance workout.
Take your chances and get outside your comfort zone, since you’re not supposed to be there anyway. There are going to be times that you will not choose accurate modifications, and that’s ok. It’s a learning process.