Modifying Movements aka Scaling
You are curious about CrossFit so you walk into "CrossFit X" and you see men and women moving an impressive amount of weight in a variety of lifts and you see them working on gymnastic movements such as muscle-ups and hand stand push-ups to name a few. The music is cranked up, people are yelling and everyone is breathing so hard that is sounds like a pack of wild dogs panting after they just got done trying to chase down a cat, mid-July in Alabama.
You immediately turn around and walk out the door because, well, walking on your hands?? Who does that? Did you see that guy dead-lifting a small car in the corner? That girl, what was she doing hurling herself up on those wooden ring things? And why was everyone yelling at Mary to go? That must have be some type of alternate universe. Why did I see what looks like Division 1 linebackers and our school librarian working out together?
Actually, what you just witnessed is becoming the norm across the country. That's right, 60 year old women are performing olympic lifts and 200+ pound men are moving on rings like aspiring gymnast. Men and women of all walks of life are gathering together for an hour each day to improve their capacity in 10 recognized fitness domains: cardio-respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance and accuracy.
Then you ask yourself, WHERE DO I BEGIN?
Some people are lucky to be born with the flexibility of a ballet dancer, the strength of Thor, doesn't have to work at a desk and has never been injured...and then there's the rest of us who have to work really hard for it, who have to start from the most basic of progressions and work diligently on those skills to improve.
After working with one of my clients today I wanted to talk about modifying movements or scaling. What is that you ask? It's taking a movement and modifying it to meet your current health and fitness level. Think about it like this. You want to build a brick house aka do an unassisted strict pull-up. So you start laying the foundation by doing ring rows, starting from the very beginning of almost standing completely vertical to the point of being horizontal with your feet elevated. Then you start working on negative reps hanging from the bar and then BOOM you get your first unassisted pull-up! But just like building a house, it takes time and sometimes you lay a few bricks and notice they're a little crooked so you take them down and start over again so that you can build the best house on the block.
This is just one of what could be thousands of examples. Whether you are working around a prior injury, you've been sedative for a while or you are learning a new movement there is always a scaling option to fit your needs. AND don't get discouraged! The best olypmic weightlifters in the world started by lifting a pvc pipe or broom stick and still go back to it for technique refinement.
If you want to build the best house on the block you'll need blueprints and a lot of bricks. Find a coach that can design the blueprints to help you reach your goals and can teach you the best way to lay the bricks for the strongest foundation possible.