Box Development May 9, 2019

Next Level Scaling: Previous Movement Rep Totals


Providing scaling options is the first step toward making the workout come to life for every member at your gym. While those options provide an initial filter to point athletes in the right direction, additional strategies are needed to help athletes make a final decision on which choice is right for them.

A Workout with Two Scaled Options

Let’s look at an example of how coaches can use an athlete’s previous movement rep totals to help make the call on which option (Rx, Scaling Option 1, or Scaling Option 2) is right for them.

The workout is a 20-minute AMRAP of 12 calorie row, 6 box jumps, and 8 pull-ups. At the whiteboard, the coach specifies that the scaling options for pull-ups are:

Scaled Option 1: 4 unassisted kipping pull-ups per round

Scaled Option 2: 8 band-assisted kipping pull-ups per round

She elaborates that Scaling Option 1 is good for athletes who have some unassisted kipping pull-ups, say 3-4 unbroken, but will need to do smaller sets and may resort to singles at some point.

An athlete then asks, “Well what if you’re not sure if you should go Rx or Scaled Option 1? I can do a set of 8 at the beginning but I might end up at singles, so maybe 4 per round is better, I just don’t know.”

Mental Math and Effective Scaling

The coach knows that an average Rx score is 8-9 rounds, which would total 64-72 pull-ups. In other words, if the athlete in question did the workout Rx, they would end up tackling roughly that many pull-ups.

The coach can then ask the athlete, “what is the most number of pull-ups you’ve done in a workout recently?” The athlete looks through SugarWOD over the past month and sees they did a workout well within the intended time domain that had 60 pull-ups, 15 per round.

At this point, the coach then knows that the athlete should be capable of handling the number of pull-ups in this workout with the Rx option. If the athlete’s answer had been 30, for example, the coach would be correct to recommend the athlete scale to 4 per round as a jump from 30 to 70 pull-ups would take away from the intended stimulus of the workout.

Using information from past workouts, specifically, rep ranges where the athlete has been successful, can help bring a more athlete-specific layer to scaling and long term development.

Next Level Scaling

To learn more about next level scaling, check out our article on the topic. Next up, we’ll talk about using a comparison of past and recent attendance to inform proper scaling for the day.