Eight rounds for time of:
10 Pullups
10 Pushups
10 Dips
10 Situps
10 Box Jumps

Post time to comments.

Had an interesting conversation yesterday afternoon…..we were talking about scaling, and there is an interesting phenomenon that every CrossFitter has to experience to really understand the value of scaling. There will be one WOD you encounter that the CrossFit gods throw at you, full of movements and weights you know you can do….however, it is some nasty combination that in reality, completely destroys and breaks you. It’s your introduction to leaving your ego behind and scaling because in the long run, it’s the smart thing to do.

Here’s my story (and I took longer than others to understand scaling because I am stubborn that way…)

Shortly after Ryan opened CrossFit Seven, I did a workout consisting of 21-18-15-12-9-6-3 of wallballs and pullups. Doesn’t sound too bad right? At the time, I had just learned to string multiple pullups together, so this WOD was going to be my first real test, and fortunately for me, there weren’t many people around to witness the disaster that was about to take place…..I should have finished the WOD under 20 minutes, but when I hit 20 minutes and had barely made it halfway through, I knew I was in trouble.

When I hit the 20 minute mark, I was struggling with the pullups BADLY. I had ripped my hands, had zero grip, and I was doing singles, maybe two at a time. I was getting no where fast, and I knew at that point, I should have scaled the pullups. The worst part was yet to come….

The farther I got into the WOD, the madder I got that I was struggling with stringing the pullups together. I was asking myself over and over, “Why can’t you just string them together?? Everyone else can, so why is it so hard for you???” I wanted to quit, but had convinced myself that I was too far in to quit, that no matter how long it took, I was going to finish. I was beyond frustrated that I knew, KNEW, I could do the pullups, but they were getting the best of me…and that’s the point I lost it….Ryan, being the encourager that he is, comes by and says, “Amie, string the pullups together! It will be easier.” And poor Ryan, who was trying to be encouraging….I came unglued.

I started yelling at Ryan, and I was so frustrated I started crying (in the middle of the WOD!). I’m pretty sure I yelled at Dutch and Erik too. It was completely awful. When I finished, my time was more than 30 minutes, and I walked out of the back door and around the block, crying the entire time because I was so incredibly frustrated (and I’m not a cryer, so I was really embarrassed about it all).

However, that WOD sticks with me because it’s the day I really understood the value of scaling. When I came back, Dutch sat down with me and helped me really understand scaling and knowing when to scale. Could I do all of the pullups? Yes, but it took me 30 minutes. Did I get a “good” workout? Not really because it took too long, I ripped up my hands, and I was so taxed afterwards, that it took me a few days to recover. Furthermore, I didn’t “prove” I could do anything – I finished, yes, but finishing cost me more in the long run. It was also the day I really understood leaving ego behind because it will get in the way and mess you up….

We have talked a lot about scaling this week…..scaling is not designed to make the workouts easier; rather it is there to help increase your power output, perfect your technique and gain strength over time. After a WOD, you should feel like you left nothing undone. I challenge you to take a look back at the WODs we have done the last few weeks and ask yourself, “Is there was something I would change to make the WOD more effective for me?” Would you scale a weight to go faster or to keep better form (knowing now your form wasn’t so great, and you were sore for a few days after)? What changes would you make?

Your coaches will continue to make suggestions, helping with form, range of motion and power output – their recommendations will help you most in the long run, and chances are, it’s a recommendation that comes from knowing a time we should have scaled ourselves…

You guys have all been asking great questions and having outstanding conversations! Thank you for all of the comments – keep it up!

Thursday WOD, July 8, 2010

10 thoughts on “Thursday WOD, July 8, 2010

  • July 7, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    Another long workout requiring some pacing strategy. 15 minute range here I am guessing. I want to start out by addressing the movement standards. I want to preface these statements by also saying that I “cheat” on movements every once in a while, it happens, everyone does it, but as a gym we ALL need to get better in this area. The most obvious areas are the squat and pushup. Some are still not doing it right. Broken record here but squat is below parallel and pushups are chest to floor. You aren’t doing yourself any favors by shorting the movement, and you’re actually preventing progress by doing it. Do it right or do less reps. If you cannot do 10-15 pullups in a row then this workout needs to be scaled for you. Bands, less rounds, whatever your coach thinks is right. I would recommend picking a number based on this equation – If you can only do 6 pullups in a row, I would do 8 rounds of 6 reps each. This will challenge you in the exact same way a person who can do 10+ pullups in a row thats doing this rx’d. You want to be constantly moving here so resting and fighting through this JUST to say you completed is not the object in this wod, or any one for that matter. For the more advanced people, muscle failure and breathing are the two enemies here. Not much you can do about the muscle failure, its gonna happen, but breathing needs to be your focus. Big breaths in between stations and don’t hold your breath during a movement. You do it, I promise you, but train yourself not too. If your real advanced use the rings for dips. Intermediate do static dips, and if your starting out go as far down as you can on each rep and use a band. Ok go hard and post your times.

  • July 7, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    Amie and Andrew, good points about scaling! Customize your wod to give you the best workout with minimal amount of rest time. Challenge yourself to where you’re not breezing through the workout with a light weight to get the fastest time but not spending twice as long in order to finish the workout rx’d just to say you did. Find the balance and make it your own!

  • July 8, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    Haha Amie, you yelled at Ryan 🙂 that was a good story..

  • July 8, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    Went to Crossfit Portand this morning – good box but not well organized

    WOD – 5rds 105lbs overhead 40 m walk, 300 m row, 95lbs barbell farmer carry (one in each hand)

    They do rope climbs as part of their warm up

    Amie you are doing a great job on blog!!

  • July 8, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    Should people without a fitness goal keep the WOD the same? There has been a lot of talk about customizing lately, and I’m a bit confused on the matter.

    Great story Amie.

  • July 8, 2010 at 1:17 pm


    Everyone has a fitness goal. Even if that goal is only to maintain. Most of us are looking to improve, but in either scenario “Scaling” is really skill that you develop as you become more familiar with your limits, crossfit, and what your trying to accomplish, all in one. Doing any WOD rx’d should ALWAYS be your first choice, I don’t want to be confusing here. However, in some cases, based on the things I just mentioned, your limits, and what your going for, it makes sense to modify a WOD here and there to make it more beneficial to you. There isn’t some magic equation you plug into each workout and a neat tidy little customized wod comes out. I will work on that though and try and sell it to HQ. So here is the summary. Always first, try and do it rx’d. Second, if you see potential problems with you accomplishing the wod in a timely manner, then consider modifying it to allow you to move more fluidly through it without constant breaks. In a year you will be able to immediately look at any wod and know if you can do it and probably calculate within 30 seconds what your time will be. For now, ask someone who knows more and they will be able to help. Hope this answer clears a little up. If not, lets talk later.

  • July 8, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    Great discussion, thanks Amie and Andrew for talking the time to pen all that.

    One thing this discussion points out for me at least, is that I need strength training in addition to METCOM wods. Not exactly a news flash to be sure, to to the small degree I have done that, huge benefit. Perhaps for someone like Ryan who was already an athlete when he started xfit it’s not much of an issue, but for someone like me the strength training in addition to xfit is a real plus.

    Also taking recovery days.

    On the pull ups, I think I have really over used the skinny band as a crutch for my poor technique stringing PU’s together. The amount of weight it takes off me is pretty trivial, but my crummy kip evolved with the dang rubber.

    I note that Andrea’s buddy Rob Wolf is really down on using bands for PU’s, though I don’t know his reasoning?

  • July 8, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    I can’t answer why Robb Wolf is down on the bands but you might have answered your own question. I’ve seen too many people strong enough to perform pullups use the band as a crutch long after they graduated from needing it. I’m not talking at this gym alone. I had lots of folks at GSX that would do the same. A better solution, once you’ve got the strength, might be to scale down the total reps on the pullups rather than scaling with the band.d

  • July 8, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    Just to note, I don’t know Robb Wolf.

  • July 8, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    Adding on to what Whisky said, it is okay to do a work out Rx’d and do it slower than you normally would do the work out scaled. I have noticed that some CrossFitter’s will not perform WOD’s with push ups (as an example: from toes. chest touches down, arms fully extend at the top, tight core throughout the movement) because they think they should be on their knees if they have to break them into one’s and two’s. You may get the WOD done faster, but your push ups will never get better if you never place the stress of a true push up on your body. I personally struggle with push ups and when they are found in a WOD, I perform them Rx’d but you had better believe they are typically broken into sets of one’s and two’s depending on the WOD. Don’t be afraid to push yourself because you would rather have a faster time. The faster time will come, then you will be doing WOD’s Rx’d WITH a faster time.

    At the same time, if your going for an intense WOD intended specifically to leave you breathless and performing regular push ups slows your heart rate down because you have to recover for a longer duration of time, scaling would be fine for such a WOD (or performing a different exercise during the WOD and performing push ups, or whatever your weaknesses are, as a strength or skill exercise before or after your actual WOD). But if your goal is to improve your push ups, never breaking that discomfort barrier will never get your push ups where they belong. The same goes with any other movement. It would make no sense to do Fran Rx’d if it takes you an hour as opposed to scaling it down and knocking it out in about five minutes, leaving you gasping for air. Be smart about scaling and do not use it as an excuse to avoid discomfort. Learning to deal with discomfort is what makes you better at CrossFit which in turn makes you more fit. The more experience you have with dealing with discomfort, the less it will affect your mind during a WOD as well.

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