CrossFit Journey


Scale it’s ok (Injuries/Strains/Pains)

What’s the difference between an awesome athlete and an mediocre athlete? It’s the ability to know when to turn up the juice and knowing when you need to scale it back.

So IMMEDIATELY you think - RIGHT ON, let’s turn up the juice! Go HARD or Go Home! This is something we strive for when we walk through the doors of the gym. Let’s destroy our WOD and hit new PRs! 

Those who saw part two are probably thinking, what a dreadful thought to scale back a WOD!

Specifically, I’m talking about how there may come a point in your CrossFit lifestyle where taking a more conservative route may be the best option. By this I’m referring to when you go through injuries/strains/pains. Of course there’s the typical soreness you encounter from a great session at the gym, but then there are the pains that are NOT the good kind. These are the kinds that may be sharp twangs; pain that limits your range of motion; or pains that feel down right debilitating! This is where you need to fight your mentality to always go hard, and instead, scale it back and play it smart. 

Let’s take the example of Mikko Salo. If there ever was a competitor who could take the title “Fittest Man on Earth” in 2012, this is your man! Last year he pulled himself out of the CF Games because of a ruptured ear drum and he was out of this year’s open due to surgery. While he’s on the road to recovery, he is taking the necessary steps to play it smart by scaling intelligently (see video link below). He’s not being a pansy for not competing this year. He’ll definitely be making an intense come back in 2013.

Scaling back is something that’s very psychologically challenging for many athletes, including myself. You take your fish oils, you mobilize, eat right, and do everything in your power to stay healthy and well, but sometimes, injuries/strains happen! BUT, you have to remind yourself, IT’S OK to scale back. You won’t lose all your strength and abilities in a few days/week! Whether you scale intensity/load or both, you have to TAKE every step necessary to keep yourself well. There’s no sense in working through a strain, only to make a small tear, a more severe one. There’s no logic in allowing yourself to push through the pain, only to set yourself out of commission for 3 months, versus being smart and scaling for a week. Don’t be a hard ass and jeopardize yourself, for the sake of hitting a personal record. 


If you have an injury/strain:

  1. Be SMART! Assess the severity of it and honestly decide if you should take a few days off, or if you can scale a workout.
  2. Look at the situation as a way for you to work on other areas you might be ignoring (i.e. if you’re having shoulder issues, work on leg strength)
  3. Talk to a coach - just because you have a minor setback doesn’t mean you can’t train. 
  4. It’s not the end of the world. Remember, this is a small set back in your training. No one said it was FOREVER. Keep a positive attitude.
  5. Work that mental toughness! Even elite athletes go through injuries, but they find ways to come back, better and stronger than ever. You’ll be back in no time - as long as you play it smart!


Other reads

Mikko Salo’s Recovery via Rogue Fitness (youtube)

Training through Acute Injury  via CF Journal

25 Injury Insights Every CF Enthusiast Needs to Know - GREAT READ!!