Scaling & “The Sevens” WOD


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One of the most amazing things about Crossfit is that the program is infinitely scaleable! What exactly does that mean and how does it pertain to you? The scaleability of each movement allows both a world class athlete and a young  mother of two to do the very same workout yet still get the same results. How exactly does that make sense you ask? This is where scaling comes into play. Let’s take a look at our workout programmed for today:

“The Seven”
7 rounds for time
7 Handstand push-ups
7 Thrusters (135,95)
7 Knees to elbows
7 Deadlifts (245,165)
7 Burpees
7 kettlebell swings (2,1.5)
7 pull-ups

Level 2- 5 rounds, (115,75), (185,135), (1.5,1)
Level 1- 4 Rounds, HR push-ups, (95,45), (135,95), (1,0.75)

LOTS of different weightlifting and gymnastic movements within the workout. So we’ve got two athletes for comparison. George, a world class olympic lifter who has been crossfitting for two years and Susan, a stay at home mom who just started crossfitting 8 weeks ago. Two VERY different individuals, yet both are going to complete the same workout in the noon class together. For George, the weights prescribed for the barbell movements won’t be a limiting factor. As he analyzes this workout, his goal will probably be not only to get through as quickly as possible, but also to try to finish each set of seven “unbroken” or without breaking the reps. Susan on the other hand has never done a handstand pushup or a knee to elbow in her life! For her, we will scale the movements and weights down to target her individual needs. Pushups are a perfect substitute for her HSPU and we can work on her kipping her knees to chest to scale down the knees to elbows. She hasn’t developed much strength yet, so we scale to 45lbs for her barbell movements and we will also keep the rounds at 4 instead of the prescribed 7. Remember that the different levels written under the WOD are suggestive in the sense that the weights/reps/rounds can be changed to tailor to your specific needs. They’re a great guideline to follow but make changes where needed. If you are having trouble figuring out how to scale, remember that our goal within each workout is to keep the intensity level high. Intensity is what breeds results.
How can you keep each element of this workout intense? Think about scaling in such a way that every movement you perform is a workable or doable set. Are you doing the deadlifts one at a time? The weight is too heavy. Scale it down to finish chunks at a time.

I love witnessing good scaling. When you scale your workout accordingly, you will finish alongside those with mean/average scores and within the time cap. Now let’s check back with our two athletes George and Susan. They both started the workout together but George is already on round 3 and Susan is just beginning her second round. George finishes his last pullup and walks over to cheer Susan on for her last set of kettlebell swings and pullups. Both athletes finish the workout within a few minutes of eachother! Great scaling Susan! If you find that you generally finish last, take a deeper look at how you generally scale the weights/movements. Remember completing  the Rx version of the workout is the end goal, but it requires alot of time, dedication, and patience to get there. Each crossfitters journey is so very different and unique so enjoy YOURS because there is none other like it.

If you find that you need assistance with scaling, please simply ask one of your coaches. We are MORE than happy to help!


  • Ryan Gould

    07/27/2014 @ 11:17 pm

    36:50 L2 ish (#95, #135, HSPU’s with green band, 1.25 pd)-5 rd’s even

    Started doing #185 on the DL’s, but switched on rd 3. This one was a hand killer

    Nice post Barrow!

  • JonesMike

    07/26/2014 @ 7:49 pm

    My eyes are telling me yes…. but my legs, back, arms, shoulders and hands are like sit back down dummy. Beat up after today’s wod

  • jason barrow

    07/26/2014 @ 3:44 pm

    Yeah rad post Retta, shame it was posted on a Saturday, I’m assuming less people read the site on weekends.

    Kinda on this topic. I like talking to people after the intro session (right now Amy and Goose are like nooooo, don’t worry I don’t scare anyone off…plenty of regular classes for me to do that). I always tell them that the coolest thing about Crossfit in my opinion is that someone could do a WOD on their first day next to Goose. Goose could use three times as much weight and finish three times as many rounds. It could look like they did two different workouts entirely, but at the end they can give each other a high-five and it would be GENUINE because they both feel exactly the same, they both got their asses kicked, they both pushed it to the limit.

    Crossfit’s a great equalizer. EVERYONE wants to get better, NOBODY is satisfied. You think the top athletes competing in the games this weekend are satisfied? Hell no, most of them have a strength coach, an oly coach, and a gymnastics coach on top of their usual Crossfit training partners. They want to get better just like the person trying to get their first pull-up wants to get better, same thing just on different levels. New members should talk to our competition athletes, they’re some of the nicest most approachable members we have because they’ve been doing it so long, they’ve been through the ringer, they don’t look down on you, they remember what it was like starting out and are still working as hard to get to the next step as you are.

    The Seven:
    12-1-2012: 5 rounds at 35:41 (7 HSPU’s, 95, 185, 1.5)
    7-26-2014: 4+42 at 38:34 (3 HSPU’s, 95, 185, 1.5)
    4+42 because I got to the pullups on my 5th round, looked at my hands and saw I was on the verge of ripping, shut it down. 7 pullups ain’t worth tending to a ripped hand for a few days.

  • C. Rusty

    07/26/2014 @ 1:43 am

    1. Nice post Retta, 2. Cara killing it on recently, 3. Barrow – post that money gif again as well as your Dominos review from 2010.

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