The importance of scaling and modification in Crossfit and MetCon WODs

I love Crossfit and MetCon WODs, but since I do them at home, while living in an apartment on the 3rd floor, and having hormonal arthritis along with a severe POP condition means I have to modify them to suit my needs without making my conditions worse or increasing chances of injury.

Other times I modify simply because I absolutely hate a specific movement (like snatches or overhead squats 🤮).

But you also need to consider the sustainability of your WODs. Hero WODs can be fun in a brutal way, but rather than do a tough WOD exactly as prescribed that can keep you bedridden for the rest of the week, why not focus in doing WODs that can keep you active and functional every single day without the burnout?

So don't be afraid to modify them to suit your individual needs. Mostly scaled WODs have to do with lowering weight or swapping pull ups for inverted rows for instance, but you can change it up however you want to. Here's a few ideas that I incorporate personally:

  • Can't lift heavy due to my POP condition and limited home equipment: Use low weights, and double the reps.
  • Can't perform certain movements yet: Trade Muscle ups for Pull ups + Dips, Handstand Push Ups for Pike or Hindu Push Ups etc. Any movement that can be used as a progression to that goal movement.
  • Replace jumping / high impact movements with lower impact (for apartment-friendly WODs): Inchworm Push Ups instead of Burpees, Farmer Walks and Thrusters instead of Double Unders and Wall Balls, Air Squats, Goblet Squats or Reverse Nordic Curls instead of Box Jumps or Jump Squats, rowing or stationary cycling instead of running. For the cardio replacement of running, I just search online how much time it takes to do the distance or calories required by the WOD, and apply that time with high intensity or speed to my rowing or cycling.
  • Movements I don't enjoy or feel awkward: Replace deadlifts with single leg deadlifts (yes I hate the normal deadlifts for no good reason lol), replace Snatches and Overhead Squats with Push Press and Thrusters.
  • Variation in core movements. Even though I have no problem with regular situps, I occasionally change them to Hanging Oblique Tucks or Hanging Knee Raises, or Cocoon Crunches, or L-sit holds or Hollow Body Holds for fun and hitting the abdominal muscles in different ways.

A lot of times I keep seeing Pull Ups on every single WOD from the apps that throw out random WODs (like WOD Roulette or WOD Generator), so I sometimes swap the pull ups for chin ups, or inverted rows (recently I even had a taste of one arm inverted rows and it was a lovely challenge). That way I still work the back but in more fun ways, than just one type of movement alone. 

With the above methods of modifying the WODs, I can work the entire body / same muscles every single day without feeling burned out (although I do advise to take at least one day off every week, and make sure your nutrition and sleep is on point).

And MetCons don't have to take 30-40 minutes. Sometimes even 10m will suffice. I sometimes like to incorporate 2 small MetCons every day, once in the morning after my strength training and one in the afternoon, after a core, yoga or greasing the groove session. I may need 2 showers daily then instead of 1, but my metabolism and hormones thank me. Seriously, I personaly feel physically and mentally better when working out twice a day, instead of just once in the morning.

So as Bruce Lee said, long term consistency trumps short term intensity. I still do Hero and Girl WODs (such as a Double Murph, which is becoming a favorite), but only once or twice a month, not on a daily basis.