I recently got Coach Joshua do a WOD with me. It was a few days ago, and many of you had some fun with this one too: 10 min of 10 Cleans, 10 Shoulder to OH, 10 TTB and 10 pistols. The men’s weight was 135, and Joshua asked me what weight he should use. My reply was, “whatever weight will make this session between us competitive.”
Joshua can do his Toes to Bars and Pistols both faster and more efficiently than I can, but I have about 8 years more experience with a barbell than he does. So in order to make the workout between us fun and even, we scaled his weight down to #115. The result was a competitive battle where I got ahead of him on the barbell movements and him catching up on the gymnastics movements. Mission accomplished.
One of the main principles of CrossFit is the group atmosphere, which fosters natural competition and improvement. In order for this principle to work, the playing field needs to be as even as possible. In other words, in a perfect world, the times for 150 KB Swings yesterday would be around 10 minutes with a standard deviation of 1 minute. This way, a class of 8 people would all be pushing each other to go faster, and result would be a low class average.
So here’s the deal: if you typically finish in the top third of class, you (and the coaches) should focus on making things a bit harder; heavier weights, more strict movements, and more complex skills. Going fast is always the goal, which this group usually does pretty well, so it’s important to start working on a controlled struggle more often.
If you typically finish in the bottom third of class, you (and the coaches) should focus on scaling the workout to increase the intensity and pace. The thought process should be, “how can I set this up so I can finish in the top 3rd today”. Going faster will eventually increase total work capacity, which is ultimately what we are all after.
If you are in the group that often finishes in the middle of the pack and once in a while in the top and bottom thirds, you are likely doing an excellent job with scaling and choosing workout set-ups appropriately.
In review, if you are always finishing first in class, we need to make things harder and slow you down. If you are usually finishing towards the back of class, we need to scale things so you can go faster. It’s a good reminder to refocus on staying competitive with your fellow classmates, it will make everyone better!
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