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How to Scale 5 Classic CrossFit Workouts (Tips for Non RX Athletes)

Learning how to scale CrossFit workouts is a vital skill for every athlete. Scaling allows anyone, regardless of their ability level or the amount of time they have been taking CrossFit classes, to receive the same stimulus from a WOD. It also allows two athletes of widely varying ability levels to compete against one another.

The following five workouts are classic CrossFit WODs. Each entry offers different ways to scale the workout, as well as tips to help you get the best time and/or score possible. Have fun and keep enjoying your training.


Murph is one of the most infamous CrossFit workouts ever invented.

calisthenics workoutsSource: CrossFit Inc

For the RX version each athlete must wear a weighted vest and complete the following:

Murph RX:

  • Run 1 Mile
  • 100 Pull Ups
  • 200 Push Ups
  • 300 Air Squats
  • Run 1 Mile

Crossfit bodyweight workouts mat fraser ice bath crossfit games photographsSource: CrossFit Inc

For many athletes this is simply unattainable. So here are a few options for great ways to scale the workout.

Scaling Murph

As with everything we do we can scale in several different ways. We can scale movements, loads, time domains and the amount of reps. Scaling the movements of ‘Murph’ is simple, pull ups to banded pull ups or ring rows, push ups to box push ups or knee push ups and the squats to a repeatable range of motion.

Scaling the rep scheme is also simple. A scaled version might look like:

  • Half mile run
  • 50 pull ups
  • 100 push ups
  • 150 air squats
  • Half mile run

Unforgettable Crossfit Games moments sam briggs Hero wod MurphSource: CrossFit Inc

Totally partitioned Murph

For some breaking down a long ‘chipper’ style workout makes it infinitely more manageable – this includes the run. Therefore, we could opt to partition the whole workout:

20 rounds of:

  • Run 160m
  • 5 Pull Ups
  • 10 Push Ups
  • 15 Air Squats

Whichever variation of ‘Murph’ you opt for make sure you consider how the workout is supposed to be completed. ‘Murph’ shouldn’t take you over an hour but you shouldn’t finish it in 20 either. You shouldn’t be stood looking at the bar or resting on your knees for minutes at a time but you also shouldn’t hit the whole thing unbroken. So, make sure you pick a scaling option that suits your ability but one that maintains the pure suck that ‘Murph’ should bring – if in doubt ask your coach. And remember to hit it hard, no matter what!

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