Thursday, August 20, 2015

Progression vs. Scaling

One of the common rallying cries of the functional fitness crowd is that their workouts are infinitely scalable and that the 80-year-old grandmother and the Olympic athlete can do the same workout with only a different degree of intensity. We feel that's a fundamental misunderstanding of movement and skill development. There's a difference between scaling - making the same exercise easier - and progression - using a different form of the exercise to learn specific skills.

We split our class time into skill development and a workout. We may challenge you and push you outside of your comfort zone when we want to teach you a new skill, but when we transition to the workout, we will always modify the workout so that you're working safely. If you don't have the shoulder mobility to do a proper overhead squat, scaling it to be lighter isn't going to help, and you shouldn't be doing it during the workout.
In blue, you see our squat progression. If you can't comfortably do a full-range-of-motion squat, we don't want you doing it in the workout, so we'll move you to a goblet squat, an air squat, or even a box squat so that you can learn proper mechanics before you progress to the next movement.

Be aware that moving up the progression doesn't necessarily mean moving to a "harder" exercise.  It could mean that you just need to have the strength and skill of one exercise before you go on to the next. It's generally accepted that the kipping pull-up is easier than the strict dead-hang pull-up. But until your shoulders are strong enough to actually do a dead-hang pull-up, you should never even attempt a kipping pull-up (unless you want to get injured).

When we get ready to start a workout we may move you up or down the progression ladder based on your individual needs. We're not making a judgement on your character; we're having you do the movement that is best for you at this time.
Workout
10 rounds for time:
5 pull-ups (or wherever you are in the progression)
10 OHWPL