The Why’s Behind a Time Capped Workout.
We have all been in a workout with a time cap, but have you ever understood the reason for that particular time? It’s not as simple as the programmer saying they think that is how long the workout should take. There is a reason and intent behind that chosen time. Every workout has a certain stimulus in mind. For example, Fran is meant to be short in time and fast in intensity. It only features two complimentary movements and a relatively low rep scheme. On the other hand there is a workout like Murph, which is a lot of reps and 2 lengthy runs. This workout is intended to be done at a moderate pace that allows for continual movement.
How to scale a workout
Scaling involves different considerations. There is movement scaling where a particular movement is replaced with a movement that the athlete is able to complete correctly. Sometimes the scaling is solely in terms of the weight used.
If you are unable to perform a movement in a workout as it is written, speak with your coach. They will substitute that movement with something that can completed safely and efficiently. Common movement scales would be ring rows for pull ups, Russian kettlebell swings in place of American swing, or box step overs instead of box jump overs.
Occasionally there will be a workout that an athlete is able to perform the movements in a workout, but is unable to perform the weights written. In this case, the coach will advise the athlete to use a lighter weight. There will also be occasions where the athlete is able to perform the weight listed, but not for the number of reps listed in the workout. In this case the athlete should also lower their weight.
Scaling for a time cap
When preparing for a workout with a time cap, it is important to think of how long each round can take to finish by that time. In today’s workout for example it takes 4:30 a round to finish by the 18:00 time cap. In this case, Lets say you finish round 1 at 4:45. That means you are going to have to be faster on the next 3 rounds. Due to fatigue, this is not a likely scenario.
Therefore in order to complete the workout and get the stimulus intended, it is important to drop the weight. This will allow you to move at a faster pace. This lighter weight is also going to allow you to move properly at that faster speed. If you go too heavy and try to speed through the workout, then you are putting yourself at risk on injury due to bad form.
On the other side of this is the possibility of scaling too much. If you finished the workout in 10:00, then it is very likely that you went too light with the weight. At this point you are hitting the intensity piece, but not being challenged enough with the resistance piece of the workout.
How do you know what do or use when scaling?
This is were the metcon prep that we do prior to the workout comes into play. Use these warmup reps to feel the weight out and listen to your body. If you are struggling with the weight as you are warming up, then it is best to lower for the workout. This is also a point where your coach can help you decide what to do for the workout. They will advise you on any movement modifications and understanding of how to choose a weight for the workout.
At the end of the day we want you to have a great workout in a safe manner. No one wants see someone struggling through a workout. Set your ego aside and impress everyone with your best movement quality at a weight that fits your ability for that specific workout. If you happen to not finish under the time cap, that’s ok. Stop working out and think to yourself, “what should I have used to be able to finish this workout?”