The Value of Scaling The Workout

When you’re new to CrossFit, it’s easy to assume that everyone is insanely fit and can do any workout exactly as it’s written on the whiteboard. This assumption may even prevent you from trying CrossFit.

CrossFit is for any fitness level. And the thing that makes CrossFit for anyone is something called “scaling.”


CrossFit workouts are programmed “as Rx’d” (as prescribed). Completing a workout as Rx’d means that you did every movement, weight, rep, and round as it was written and without any modifications.

Scaling a workout of the day (WOD) makes it so everyone can do the same workout, regardless of ability. For a given workout, a coach may scale the weights and movements to produce the same level of intensity.


Honestly, everyone benefits from scaling. Beginners learn how to first move correctly and confidently by scaling workouts. Intermediate to advanced CrossFitters can address their strengths and weaknesses by scaling. Even the most elite athletes have to scale occasionally due to injury or recovery reasons.


It’s common to see a workout written as Rx’d with scaling options included. If you’re still unsure of how to properly scale a workout, make sure to check-in with your coach.

Proper scaling maintains the desired outcome of any given workout.

“CrossFit workouts are scaled to preserve the intended stimuli despite athlete limitations such as experience, injury, illness or range of motion.” (source)

Scaling while maintaining the desired outcome means that one (or more) of the following is adjusted:

Reps or Rounds:
Scale by completing fewer rounds at the Rx’d intensity and weight. Or, do fewer reps of a particular exercise.

Drop the Rx’d weight to maintain the intended stimulus.

Replace a movement that you have yet to master with a modification that is similar to the Rx’d exercise.

When you scale a workout, you might feel like you’ve somehow cheated, or you might even feel ashamed of your score. Do not write off your score because you scaled. You’re working toward individual improvement, and scaling makes that improvement possible.

Old World Strong in West Berlin is here to support you. Our experienced coaches can help you properly scale your workouts, as well as reach your fitness goals. For more information on how to get started, contact us today.


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