Are you trying to kill me? Scaling Progressions & Modifications.

Are you trying to kill me? Scaling Progressions and Modifications.DSC_5456
Scaling Progressions and the new CrossFitter
It’s your first day of CrossFit.
You walk in the door, look at the white board and see:
21-15-9 reps of:
225 pound Deadlift
Handstand push-ups
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That’s 21 225 pound Deadlifts, 21 Handstand push-ups (HSPU), 15 225 pound deadlifts, etc…
You then turn and run away screaming…
Ok ok, hold on. No coach in their right mind is going to let you do that as it’s written if it’s really your first day.
First off any CrossFit gym worth their salt will have had you go through some sort of ‘On-ramp’ or ‘Elements’ program to prepare you for their main class offering. The longer the prep, a better and stronger foundation is built for you to work from. (Our On-ramp it twelve classes spread over four weeks or 6 one on one Privates)
Next up there should be some sort of scaling available to the class for any given workout out.
Our white board would look something like this

21-15-9 (15-12-9) (12-9-6)
225/155 pound Deadlift
Handstand push-ups
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The color coding is just like that used a ski resort. You don’t slap on a pair of ski’s for the first time and hit the black diamonds do you? Nope, first day with the new gear you’re on the bunny trail to practice your stem christies and wedge stops.
When you finally feel that your technique and control have reached a certain level of consistency you start looking at the blue trails. Not all of them at first, just the ones that fit your current skill set.
Before you know it you’re doing blue workouts almost everyday and starting to explore the more reasonable black workouts.
I know what you’re thinking. That’s a great bedtime story, but how does that translate into me doing “Diane” for the first time? Fair enough.
Before each workout the trainer leading the class will bring you in and breakdown the workout, including the goals and expectations you should have.
For “Diane” we want you to pick a weight that is reasonable to do so many reps, for most everyone that number is roughly half of their best deadlift ever. (for reference most adult males come out of our onramp averaging around a 185 pound deadlift. Females is a bit lower, say 100 pounds. There are lots of variables that go along with this, age, height weight etc, but play along.)
We also don’t want it to take all day, for our example class “Diane” should be completed under 10 minutes. That 12-9-6 written in green is sounding pretty good now, isn’t it?
But what about the Handstand Pushups? Having completed the On-ramp program you would have had exposure to a number of HSPU scaling variations that you and the coach can pick from.
Some are as easy as having your hands feet on the ground a touching so your hips are high and you form a wedge. Then all you need to do is touch your head between your hands for a rep.
The progressions go up from there gradually working your feet higher and higher until one day you’re fully inverted!
So you’ve got a 50 pound barbell, your ‘teepee’ handstands on the ground and the 12-9-6 rep scheme. How hard does “Diane” look now?

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