To paraphrase Neale Walsh: “Progress begins at the end of your comfort zone.” In order to progress and change, you are going to be uncomfortable. We can go into a really deep philosophical explanation about life, but the focus is on getting those GAINZ! This is one of my favorite things about Crossfit; it never gets easier, you get better and you make it harder for yourself. So in the vein of progressing, gaining skills, and making a given workout harder, we are going to talk about scaling up and how to do it.
At this point you may have a solid 3-4 day a week Crossfit gym session for about 6 months. The lifts mechanics are becoming more natural, weights are starting to feel lighter, the assault bike is still an evil piece of equipment. You are wavering between doing Level 4 and 3 during the Metcons, not feeling comfortable enough to take the plunge to Level 2 (that is a 20 lbs jump in weight!) Below are some tips/strategies to consider for stepping up your Metcon.
The Length of the Workout
Consider pushing the weight, skill, or rep scheme when the Metcon has an AMRAP component with a 8 minute or under time cap. For example, if the WOD is four, two minute rounds of 20 wall balls, 15 box jumps, AMRAP power cleans until the 2 minute mark for each round, you can consider scaling the weight of your clean up. There is no designated number of cleans that you have to hit during the AMRAP so if you go heavier than usual and hit 5 instead of 10 that is fine. With a Metcon like this, you have a time end point rather than a rep end point. Doing rounds for time, can be a lot more daunting than knowing you can collapse after 8 minutes. By putting a time cap on a workout that you have a known destination. Push yourself.
The Weight Used
Jumping from a 65 lbs thruster to 95 lbs, is a scary thought. One way to accomplish this is to go up in weight by 5 or 10 lbs. That way you are still pushing yourself. You can always keep increasing the weight, the more comfortable you get with a lift. Or perhaps, you want to try 95 lbs thrusters, you can always lower the rep scheme in the Metcon. For example is the workout calls for 10 thrusters, attempt 5-7 at the heavier weight.
Handstand push-ups, pull-ups, ring muscle ups, double unders, toes to bar, the list of skills goes on and on. Now that you are getting the hang of some of the skill work, you want to use it in class. But holy crap 10 handstand pushups? Try starting with 3 handstand pushups, then complete the rounds with 7 hand release push ups. Your grip starts to go on toes to bar, well the only way to make it stronger is by getting on the bar. Try getting as many T2B you can, with good form, before you switch to knees to elbows.
When should you go for it?
All the time! With all seriousness, as athletes, we walk a fine line. Either fear holds us back, or our ego gets in the way potentially causing injury. You may have to listen to a voice besides your own, maybe a coach or a fellow athlete suggesting that you push yourself. You also need to listen to your body. If you are on your 4th day of going hard, your 5th class may not be the best option to scale up. However, you feel fresh and you feel like you can do it. GO FOR IT!
To sum up: