Prescribed Scaling for Women

By Tony Budding and Katie Hogan

In CrossFit, Videos

December 04, 2011

Video Article

HQ Media’s Tony Budding asks Valley CrossFit’s Katie Hogan, who finished 20th at the 2011 Reebok CrossFit Games, just how inferior women are compared to men.

The tongue-in-cheek question is a response to the notion of prescribed women’s weights on the CrossFit.com WOD.

“For me, in my gym, in my training, we’ve never had a set percentage or like amount of the men’s weight that we should or should not do,” Hogan says. “I’ve tried and done many workouts as prescribed. I’ve scaled some. I’ve watched men scale as well.”

In fact, she’s only done Grace at the prescribed 135 lb.

In CrossFit competition, everything has to be identical for each athlete competing. Loads, reps and distances must be exact. The top men require heavier loads than the top women. But training is different. Athletes should assess the prescribed workout, taking into account their strengths and weaknesses, where they are physically and mentally, and what their broad training goals are.

Scaling principles apply equally to men and women. Having official women’s weights that are lower than men’s for every training session imposes an artificial limitation on women that HQ doesn’t support. Budding suggests it’s a ludicrous notion that he and Rich Froning Jr. should always train at the same weights because they're both men, but somehow he and Hogan shouldn’t because she’s a woman.

Budding asks, “Should a woman’s vote count for just two-thirds of a man’s?”

5min 45sec

Additional reading: Testing Fitness as Sport by Tony Budding, published Sept. 8, 2010.

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Comment

29 Comments on “Prescribed Scaling for Women”

1

wrote …

It's nice to have this to point people at.

The topic came up recently on the BX forum and was cleared up. This saves me some typing.

2

wrote …

If denoting weights for women "imposes an artificial limitation on women that HQ doesn't support" then doesn't the same happen to men with the current prescribed weights?

3

replied to comment from Armen Amirian

My wife and I had this exact same discussion. We can understand the perspective of Tony Budding, but at the same time, the RX'd weights are so far off the radar for most women that they become discouraging and unmotivating.

4

Darren Coughlan wrote …

I've had to listen to this argument for 7 years.

The "Rx'd" on workouts is the weight prescribed for people with two arms & two legs, it doesn't matter what your gender is.

5

wrote …

The prescribed weight of a workout is a benchmark for all. Man or woman. It is merely a suggestion. If you can then surpass that and raise the bar then great. If you can only do a small percentage of that suggested weight then you have some work to do. You could argue that these numbers are arbitrary since fitness is by degree and not kind. I can only do X number of box jumps and you can do Y. The point is that we both do box jumps, not how many we do. Saying that a prescribed workout should have a labeled and scaled female component is automatically making females second class CrossFit citizens. You do the weight and the reps that you are comfortable with and to challenge yourself and your comrades.

If a prescribed workout is intimidating then don't do it. You have something to work up to. Automatically looking at something and saying that you could never do that is a sure route to failure. Keep your hearts and minds open to possibility.

Brilliant video.

Out

6

wrote …

Yes, it's nice that HQ provided an answer...finally...and although it appears well reasoned, I still find error with the logic...Checkout any affiliate's blog...almost all of them post WODs with a female Rx. I wonder why?

1) If CrossFit is designed to be competitive (i.e. compare your results with the community). How helpful is it that, as a result, women have fewer scores to compare against?

2) Not providing a female Rx forces a female athlete who doesn't have regular access to coaching to scale nearly every WOD (that needs scaling) on her own.

3) Large class...no female Rx...think about the equipment/space issue...no female Rx effectively makes it more difficult to share bars, KBs, DBs, etc.

So if CrossFit is truly a reflection of the community, why does HQ ignore one of the most common (best) practices from the affiliates...like having a female Rx?

7

wrote …

The logic and arguement presented against a female RX suggests that there should not be female or masters divisions in the Open, Regionals or Games. Just everyone with the same loads, head to head...3,2,1..Go!. I'm pretty sure CF wouldn't be where it is now if we weren't providing the "apples to apples" opportunities to compare and compete that we do in female/masters divisions. Annie is amazing; would she have even made to the games with out a womens division though? Maybe. To the finals? Nope, and that would be too bad because she's inspiring a lot of women to think that Strong is Sexy. As a man, I'm all for that.

8

wrote …

As a much older woman (pushing 60) relative to the other folks at my gym, and also coming from a background of almost no athletic training or ability, I can safely say that without scaling I wouldn't even bother showing up. Every day I have to confront the fact that I am smaller, weaker and less coordinated than just about everybody in the gym. I also lack the hormonal advantage that pre-menopausal women have, which shows up in how long it takes me to build even a fraction of their strength. I've learned not to pay attention to what other people, including other women, are achieving. It would simply demoralize me and keep me from acknowledging the strides I have made. Even the women's Rx's are probably more than I will ever accomplish. But I like seeing the women's Rx posted on the board and knowing what an average woman might hope to accomplish in CrossFit. It gives me something to aspire to, in my dreams.

However, a unisex benchmark strikes me as utter denial. The benchmark assumes that a man could expect to work towards, and achieve the benchmark. But realistically speaking, a woman, despite her best efforts, might never reach it. It is really a male benchmark masquerading as a unisex one. The playing field is not, and never will be, level from a biological standpoint. I'm a feminist. But I'm also a realist. CrossFit has demonstrated that women as a class are capable of a lot more than anyone previously realized, especially if they are of child-bearing age. Nevertheless, testosterone is a fact of nature.

9

wrote …

Female weights aren't "female Rx'd", they're gender based scaling.

Same as old folks and weak dudes scalings.

There's no real reason to have a women's weight per se.
It would be just as easy and more reflective of the intent of scaling to specify various levels and let everyone, regardless of age or gender pick the scaling which is appropriate for their abilities and the stimulus they're trying to achieve for that day and workout.

10

wrote …

Should a votes count depend on the weight somebody lifts?

There are differences between women and men. In endurance sports you have differences in the aspects of power and endurance. This can mean that optimal training should be different for men and women and that research about training methods done with men is not necessarily valid for women.

I believe all of the elite women can lift more weight than me, my shoulder press 1RM is 45kg (i am a beginner). I am 2m and my lean body mass is according zone calculations around 95kg. WODs with absolute weights (dead lift) should (hopefully one day) be easier for me than for smaller people. In WODs where the bodyweight is used (push up), the weight is automatically adjusted to our size. So I have some advantage.
You can see clearly if you compare WODs how long different people need. If everybody uses the same weight, some train harder than others. I believe there is an optimal training load, if doing less because the weights are too easy, you have no optimal benefit, if you do more you will probably overdo it and get injuries. On the other side a marathon has 42km for the slow and for the fast.

11

wrote …

It's silly to say that "the prescribed weight of a workout is the benchmark for all" regardless of sex. Besides the fact that the abilities vary greatly from person to person, there are fundamental differences between men and women. Denying these differences doesn't make you a feminist, it makes you ignorant; denying these differences doesn't help empower women.

Also, it's more than a little dumb that Tony Budding equates women's scaling on WODs with the idea that women are inferior. Saying "We recognize there are significant differences between this general type of human and this general type of human, and here is the result of that recognition" has nothing to do with with women being inferior or men being superior.

12

replied to comment from Cara Beckenstein

as a 61yo woman i have to reply to this.. i have been doing CF for 2.5 years and this year finally have been Rx for quite a few WODs.. ok the womens RX but i am tickled pink nonetheless. granted as we age we loose some of our strength and agility etc.. but much of this loss is thru lack of use. I have learned to do many things now that i should have learned when i was much younger.. ie strict pullups,pushups, 20"box jumps, handstands ( working on the push up bit) love kettle bells, and rope climbs amongst others. My balance has improved beyond belief ,as has my strength and confidence. Progress has been slow and steady for me but it is PROGRESS. I say to all women who are getting a bit beyond the "sweet young chick" stage in life dont allow yourself to be talked into doing what many see as appropriate for an older woman.. get strong get fit and get confident..you will not regret it.
scaling should not be used as a limiting factor rather as an enabling factor.

13

wrote …

Many of you seemed to have missed the key point of the video. It is not to say that scaling isn't appropriate, or that there are no differences between men and women. The point is that assigning a predetermined difference to women just because they are physically "inferior" is wrong. The differences among women are as great (or greater) than the differences between men and women. In fact, many women are more capable than many men.

Go back to the first time "Diane" was posted on the main site in June '04.
http://www.crossfit.com/mt-archive2/000454.html
There is an uncommonly long description about how to scale this workout, which was assumed to be out of reach of most CrossFitters (men and women). Today, the top women can finish Diane as Rx'd in under 5min. What should we have scaled this down to for women back then?

Go back to the first time "Grace" was posted on the main site, also June '04.
http://www.crossfit.com/mt-archive2/000453.html
Alternate weights are given, with the implicit assumption that 135lbs was out of reach of most CrossFitters (men and women). Today, the top women can finish Grace as Rx'd in under 5min. What should we have scaled this down to for women back then?

There is a misconception that CrossFit workouts on the main site are programmed to elicit a particular effect. For example, the thought is that "Fran" is supposed to be very fast and if it takes you long, you're doing it wrong. This is not the motivation for how the workout was conceived. Instead, these workouts are tasks to be performed. Of course, the programmers have expectations for what the workouts will do to/for particular athletes, but they also know that everyone is different, and the same workout may pose very different challenges for them. In fact, look at the first time Fran was posted on the main site (August 03). Anyone beating Greg Amundson's world record time of 3:59 was given a t-shirt.
http://www.crossfit.com/mt-archive2/000143.html
The top women of today would be getting that t-shirt.

It makes no sense whatsoever to presume the capabilities of a population of athletes, male or female. Humans are amazing creatures, and CrossFit has just begun. Time changes our perspective and our ability. Is it impossible that athletes develop so much that women in 2030 "scale" Diane to 315lb deadlifts and free standing ring handstand pushups?

The question arises, why put weights in at all if everyone is different? The answer is again that the workout is designed to be a physical challenge. Cleans at 150lbs are a different challenge than cleans at 65lbs. Nature doesn't scale for women. Smaller trees or less snow don't fall on women's properties. Plus, not all trees are equal size, and wet snow is harder to move than dry snow. Deal with the challenge presented, scaling whenever needed.

And please remember, this discussion is about the main site WOD, not the Games or any other CrossFit competition. The WOD is for training, not determining a winner.

14

wrote …

I think this goes to the heart of what it means to "Rx". Doing a WOD "Rx" is shorthand for saying that you did it exactly as it is written on the Main Site or your gym's whiteboard. It means that you didn't change anything. That's it. It is not a set of magical numbers including reps and suggested weights that are ideal for all men, women, or frogs. It's part of the job of coaches and athletes to take the suggested workout and modify it for individual abilities. The argument that most women can't do it "as Rx" is not too important to me. It means they are likely to spend more time on their own and with coaches figuring out how to appropriately accomplish today's WOD in a way that is most appropriate for them as individuals.

I believe the concept of Rx can be detrimental to men. Men tend to see Rx as the goal. Most gyms treat Rx as a goal. That is wrong. Men should be changing WODs daily: taking the suggested Rx, seeing how they feel that day, as well as analyzing what their training goals are. Mindlessly doing as you're told and trying to do all WODs "Rx" is stupid. "Rx" should stop being treated as a goal or reward for doing things exactly as it is written and to a set of arbitrary standards. Coaches should never threaten to "take Rx away" because your reps suck or whatever. The coach should tell the athlete their reps suck and help them to understand what they are doing wrong. Rx is not a goal; it's a suggestion.

Here's a novel idea: prescribe weights with females in mind. Why not? You can say, "What female? They are all so different." All the same things can be said for men. You prescribe weights that you think most women should be capable of accomplishing with proper training.

In my experience, no matter how a box scales for Rx for women, proportionally more women scale than men. Prescribing weights with women in mind would keep most women scaling, and it would force men to start being more proactive in analyzing how they want to perform today's WOD. I realize that this would just mean that men would start lifting lighter weights by trying to do the WODs Rx. Maybe if we made it known that these weights were suggested with ladies in mind, they would stop being so obsessed with "Rx".

15

wrote …

What is the reference to the women of 2007 having a 520 total and today more than 650 approaching 700? Is it the CrossFit Total?

16

wrote …

Interesting discussion, Tony I'm appreciative of the historical perspective.

The WOD as a task to be performed vice 'designed to develope capacity X, Y, or Z' is interesting. It does fly in the face of those who love to feel proud of their programming prowess.

Always evident - humans want to have things quantified for them and they want to try it their own way. Generally, in confronting a perceived authority, they feel quite liberated to complain about too much quantification and too little responsiveness to their stated complaints.

I think CFHQ shows wisdom in leaving this question out there to be wrestled with, and thus posing a mental WOD for us to perform in running our gyms or taking responsibility to do the WOD for one's own fitness. Hubris usually prevents those in authority from saying "I don't know what the right answer is." That is sometimes the only right answer.

17

wrote …

Interesting...when I went to my level 1 certification, men did Fran at 95 lbs, yet some scaled to 65 lbs. Women did Fran with 65 lbs, yet some scaled to 45. Ditto when my spouse went. I assumed Rx was 95# Men, 65# Women.

18

"There is a misconception that CrossFit workouts on the main site are programmed to elicit a particular effect. For example, the thought is that "Fran" is supposed to be very fast and if it takes you long, you're doing it wrong. This is not the motivation for how the workout was conceived. Instead, these workouts are tasks to be performed. Of course, the programmers have expectations for what the workouts will do to/for particular athletes, but they also know that everyone is different, and the same workout may pose very different challenges for them."


Could you elaborate on this? Because I am apparently of the misconception/ideology that, within reason, scaling is done to elicit a similar stimulus to what an "elite" athlete/CFer, male or female, would experience (a moving target I know), generally by trying to get most athletes of average or above ability (much less fit athletes move significantly slower so it's generally not possible to achieve similar scores without drastically changing the workout) to score within a margin of time/reps centered about an established "good" score. Also, too much upward or downward scaling actually results in a decrease in average power output, as demonstrated in Glassman's 2005 CFJ article "Fooling Around with Fran." Max power is not always the dominant goal of a WOD, I know, but in general isn't that the idea? Finally, in that "Diane" June '04 mainsite posting you referenced, there is this bit at the end:


The point is that there's a manageable substitution for this workout for everyone that preserves both its mechanical and metabolic characteristics - this will be "your Diane."


What does this mean if not to elicit a similar effect to.. something?


I agree that no athlete should ever feel constrained or obligated toward Rx/designed numbers, and top athletes should indeed reach above them in many instances, but to do away with target numbers entirely seems like a slippery slope. Why not add or remove reps/rounds/minutes/etc. by the same token? Does one literally program for a class of 10-20 athletes with no general goals and only specific goals for each athlete?


Thanks for your insights.

19

wrote …

Mauricio:

I think what Tony Budding is trying to say is that the "proper" way to scale Fran (as an example workout) does not necessarily mean using a weight that puts you under around 5 minutes. Because you are scaling the workout, there is a good chance that you may not be strong enough to do Fran as Rx. Then, maybe a more intelligent way to scale would be to work on heavy (subjectively, even if it is the Rx 95 lbs) thrusters and pullups so you can get stronger.

That is only a suggestion; maybe you scaled for another reason, so you may choose to work on that other weakness. Using this reasoning, you are working towards the stimulus of doing the WOD as Rx.

20

replied to comment from Mauricio Leal

Mauricio,
Good questions. First off, you describe a very common approach to scaling in your first paragraph that is oversimplified in my opinion. The reasons and methods of scaling should be as varied as regular programming. What I mean is different people and scenarios require different approaches to scaling. Here are three scenarios:

1. Three friends of different skills and fitness levels working out together.
2. A beginner with only a few weeks of experience with CrossFit.
3. An intermediate athlete with an inherited bias (either a big guy who loves barbells and hates gymnastics or vice versa).

Of course, you're not going to scale Diane (or any other workout) the same way for all three. In 1, I'd most likely adjust reps, loads, and variations of movements to handicap all three in hopes of achieving the closest race possible. In 2, I'd adjust the workout however necessary to keep the learning curve smooth. In 3, I'd probably "punish" the bias even further so the athlete walks away saying "I really need to fix that..."

You are correct that scaling often seeks to generate a similar effect to "something." What that something is, though, should vary based on scenario and athlete. And, going back to the original point of the video, it is inappropriate to assume a specific "goal" of each CrossFit workout. Was the original goal of Diane to create a workout that you'd have to partition to complete or one you should blaze through in just a few minutes? The answer is neither.

About your question of programming for a class. Again, think in terms of tasks not adaptations. The goal of CrossFit is GPP, which means being ready for anything. This requires competency in all types of physical tasks. Pulling, pushing, running, jumping, throwing, lifting, squatting, driving, rolling, inverting, balancing, light, medium, heavy, long, medium, short, etc etc. Program for the group by mixing up the tasks and scale individually when needed.

21

replied to comment from Tony Budding

Tony,
I very much appreciate the HQ view on this. Here is my .02 cents for what it's worth...

Personally, I hate what the term "Rx" has come to represent within the CrossFit community for a number of reasons, and I never even bother to use the term within my gym. Why? Because every athlete completes every workout as "Rx'd" every time they come in, because they use the weights and the rep schemes that I prescribe for them to achieve a specific training response.

Tony, you said:
"The question arises, why put weights in at all if everyone is different? The answer is again that the workout is designed to be a physical challenge. Cleans at 150lbs are a different challenge than cleans at 65lbs. Nature doesn't scale for women. Smaller trees or less snow don't fall on women's properties. Plus, not all trees are equal size, and wet snow is harder to move than dry snow. Deal with the challenge presented, scaling whenever needed."

This is where I disagree. I would agree with everything you said if it was in context of a competition. Competition is where we test our training and attempt to complete the challenges that are put in front of us regardless of who we are... BUT, I believe that every training session should be designed to elicit a specific response - that's what training is. Just because we're training for the unknown and the unknowable, doesn't mean our training doesn't need a purpose. Training without a purpose isn't really training... it's just doing a bunch of stuff.

I guess the bottom line is that I view the WOD as a training opportunity, not as a random challenge. I train myself and my members to meet random challenges in life and in competition - I don't train with random challenges.



22

replied to comment from Kevin Quinlan

Kevin,
I say this with all due respect: Really?

First off, you say every workout you program is designed to elicit a specific response. Do you program a variety of CrossFit workouts? I'm very curious how you define the specific responses for multi-modal workouts. And, are you talking about programming for individual clients or for groups? And, if you had two clients, one of each type listed in Case 3 from my previous post, what would be the specific response for both of them doing Diane?

Second, variation isn't necessarily random nor devoid of purpose. We specifically use constantly varied functional movements. We mix up the tasks to ensure competency across broad time and modal domains. This is training, and it's immensely effective. Competition has very different requirements and can be a lot less random.

Are you sure we're talking about the same thing?

23

wrote …

Approach this subject not bound by gender differences and instead look at it from an average athletic person's build. A person that weighs 165lbs and is 5'9" can probably move a lot more weight than someone who is 135lbs and 5'4" given the same athletic training. There are the exceptions, but they are not the norm. So to say that women (who typically fit this smaller/lighter athletic build) should use the same Rx weight as men is to live in denial and to go against what Crossfit training is all about: To provide a stimulus that will elicit a certain desired response from the body. So yes, there should be a specific scaled version for woman's Rx weight. Our bodies are different but they are not "inferior" by any means. Providing an Rx weight for women that is different than men does not mean we cannot move the same weight, it means that we understand the stimulus/response theory and prescribe an "average" weight that will elicit what we want from an Rx'd female.

Also, I like the way Cara put it...

"...a unisex benchmark strikes me as utter denial. The benchmark assumes that a man could expect to work towards, and achieve the benchmark. But realistically speaking, a woman, despite her best efforts, might never reach it. It is really a male benchmark masquerading as a unisex one. The playing field is not, and never will be, level from a biological standpoint."

24

replied to comment from Tony Budding

Tony,
Sincerely appreciate the response, and based on that response, I think that perhaps you misunderstood. Let me attempt to clarify and draw out the most salient points.

First - you ask about how to define a specific desired response for a multi-modal workout. I'm honestly not sure how you would program a multi-modal workout WITHOUT thinking about the effect you want that workout to have. If you're not thinking about the effect, than it's just random.

As far as your groups listed above, I still don't understand the confusion. What's the intention of my programming? Do I program Diane as a strength biased workout, or as a more metabolically taxing workout? If the former, I program a weight for folks that will prohibit them from completing the sets unbroken; if the latter, we'll program a weight that each athlete can handle unbroken. If I just throw up an Rx weight, it's a different workout for each athlete, it delivers a different response from each athlete and in essence, my programming is randomly challenging different people in different ways.

Philosophically, I don't like challenging different people in different ways with the same workout. I LOVE it for competitions, because that's the only way to test fitness across broad time and modal domains. But I firmly believe that training should have a purpose.

It is possible to program constantly varied, functional movements with a training purpose in mind... Random training isn't effective (IMHO)

How does this relate to the "Rx" debate?? My point was, in training there should be NO "Rx" if you hope to achieve a similar response across varied groups of athletes (which, IMHO, is the purpose of training). In competition, there absolutely should be an Rx... and it should be different for different categories of competitors.

Again, I really appreciate your response!

25

replied to comment from Kevin Quinlan

Kevin, I agree completely. It's actually very simple to standardize the desired response among a varied group of people: cap the time limit and scale appropriately.

Tony, you say that we need to think in terms of tasks and not adaptations, but that doesn't make any sense in the context of training (and it's also questionable in competition). You even contradict yourself almost immediately after writing that by listing "light, medium, heavy, long, medium, short" as possible variations of workouts.

If you at all think of the time domain or a workout (or, more specifically, the energy pathways involved), then you're purposefully programming to train a specific adaptation. The tasks don't matter as long as they fall under the banner of "functional". Tasks only apply to movement (gymnastic, barbell, monostructural), but CrossFit isn't about only developing movement. It's about completing the task at hand as quickly as possible, or as many times as possible.

Also, I think we can all agree that if you're doing Fran in 35 minutes, then you're doing it wrong, plain and simple. We can look at Fran in two ways: a training tool or a test of fitness. As a test of fitness (where loads moved and distances traveled are relatively equivalent), someone who completes Fran in 35 minutes is less fit than someone who completes Fran in 7 minutes, and while that doesn't necessarily mean that a 35 minute Fran is wrong, it does mean that it's not what it should be. As a training tool, given that the metabolic effect of Fran is a major part of what makes Fran Fran, we can say that completing Fran in such a way that there is no metabolic effect (IE, just completing the task at hand with no mind on the clock) is doing it wrong.

Let me put this in another way: if we just focus on the tasks instead of the adaptation, then someone who scores a 15 on FGB is doing the workout just fine because they did 1 rep of each movement each round.

26

replied to comment from Helen Brennan

Helen, thank you for responding to my post. It's great to hear from another woman who started CrossFit in her late 50's. To keep my reply on topic, I'll say that I agree with you about scaling: it should enable rather than limit us. And of course older women can (and do) make progress in CrossFit, just like everybody else, although the degree of progress is variable, just like everybody else. Even the women's Rx is daunting to me, but I'd rather see it on the board than have a unisex Rx or no Rx at all. It puts my performance and potential in a framework. Since everything in Crossfit is new to me, without some guidelines I would have no idea of what's possible and, knowing me, would persist in underestimating myself.

27

wrote …

Armen and Kevin,
I'm afraid you are way oversimplifying stimulus and adaptation. There are 10 physiological adaptations to training (endurance, stamina, flexibility, strength, power, speed, balance, coordination, agility, accuracy). They are not controlled entirely by time domain. How they develop is intertwined with many factors. Always scaling loads and movements to hit a particular time domain misses much of the depth of CrossFit training.

You are both also confusing cause and effect. Constantly varied functional movements performed at (relatively) high intensity develop fitness (increased work capacity across broad time and modal domains). This has been well established literally millions of times now with all the results the CrossFit community has achieved. Doing the workouts with good faith, common sense, and maximum sustainable intensity makes you fit no matter what you may ascribe to the purpose of each workout.

But all this digresses from the original purpose of the video, which is to say that assigning a predetermined reduction in capability to women because they're women cannot be justified for all the reasons in the video and in my prior posts.

And Gennipher, Chris Spealler finished 3rd in the 2010 CrossFit Games at 5'5" and 140lbs beating a couple dozen guys 5'9" and 165lbs and larger. It's not size. It's not gender. It's fitness and general capability that matter when it comes to scaling.

28

wrote …

I think this is an interesting conversation about the “Rx” concept in general.


I’ve seen “Rx” get smeared by a lot of people in the comments so far (someone went so far as to say “Mindlessly doing as you're told and trying to do all WODs ‘Rx’ is stupid.”), but to an average CrossFitter (such as myself) it’s a powerful and potent tool for targeting weaknesses, setting goals and gauging overall fitness.


The idea that a particular workout has some sort of platonic ideal is one of the main components of the program's success. Fran is what it is... if you used 85# for your thrusters and got under two minutes I’m happy for you - but you didn’t do Fran as prescribed. This level of exactitude, this focus on measurable, observable and repeatable data points, is part of what people seem to enjoy about CrossFit (myself included).


I agree that “size doesn’t matter” at a world-class, competitive level. But gender? If that were the case, shouldn’t elite women’s average times be faster than men’s, given that they’re presumably using 65-70% of the weight? Instead, they run just about the same. The idea that women don’t have inherently different capacities doesn’t jive with basic human biology, and I say that with all the feminist zeal in the world.


The fact that performing a workout using the “men’s weight” (or, apparently, the prescribed weight) is within reach for the highest echelon of ladies in the CrossFit world doesn’t mean that women in the community at large wouldn’t benefit from conceivably attainable target matrices that take their fundamental physiological differences into consideration, and I haven’t heard any woman besides Ms. Hogan saying otherwise.


Should people scale workouts to their particular training needs and goals? Absolutely! It’s inevitable. Newbies need to use light bars and training bands, Rob Orlando needs to do Heavy Fran. Does the concept of doing a workout as prescribed invite the whole CrossFit community to participate the sort of shared-suffering meta-experience that benefits the individual athlete and gives CrossFit its unique identity? I would say so, and I don’t think it’s a zero-sum game.


Prescribing a specific weight for ladies that would keep the workout to roughly the same time domain and metabolic response (that the entire community has already adopted anyway) isn’t putting a glass ceiling on women any more than it has for men, and I certainly wouldn’t consider it “ludicrous”.


I respect Mr. Budding quite a lot, but I need to disagree with him here.

29

wrote …

I just want to be able to cut down a tree with an axe to make firewood. Pick up my grandbabies. And kill deer for food as need be. And all of that requires skill, form, endurance, and strength. Just food for thought. :) And our programming gets folks there to do all of the above. Are we over thinking this?

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