Scaled does not mean easy…

2 min readJul 18, 2023
Some brutal Sandbag Deadlifts, with a long pause below the knee.




… These are 3 things some people think they should feel when it comes to the “dreaded” S-word.

I’m talking about scaling.

We just returned home from a nice family vacation.

I’m stoked to say I stuck to my training program while we were away.

I had super limited equipment. Just a jump rope and a couple of sandbags.

(Side note: I will never take a beach vacation without a sandbag again. Fill it with sand from the beach and you’ve got weights while on vacation! Best idea ever.)

Anyway, because we were traveling with limited equipment, I had to scale and modify almost every workout…

Case in point: A few days back my program called for a fun deadlift strength workout called “Deadlift 9–6–3 Inverted Pyramid.”

But the heaviest thing I had access to was a 100 lb (45 kg) sandbag… less than ⅓ of the weight I would have put on a barbell.

Fortunately, Coach Joe (who designs the program) provides a “limited equipment” version of each workout. So, I checked what he suggested.

He provided a version where, rather than adding load, you just pause below the knee for several seconds on the ascent of each deadlift.

The below-the-knee pauses actually made the relatively light deadlift weight feel way heavier than I expected…Eventually, my legs were shaking. I fought to keep my back flat. I even had to sit down between sets!

This may have been a “scaled” workout, but it ended up being as hard or harder than the actual heavy (“Rx”) version with a fully loaded barbell.

(I was spent!)

2 days later, when I had to be careful about sitting down, my hamstrings confirmed: it was a solid workout.

Scaled definitely does not have to mean easy.

The purpose of scaling is to help you achieve the intended stimulus of the workout, based on your needs and abilities.

And no, there’s absolutely no shame, guilt, or regret in doing scaled or modified workouts.

Scaling is cool 😎

Jeremy (and Coach Lisa)
WODwell | Co-Creators

PS. WODwell’s two training programs, ELEMENT (for everyone) and ATHENA (for women), both include scaling options (and limited-equipment modification options) for each workout. This is a huge time saver for when you’re training with limited equipment, because you don’t have to think about how to modify your workout. It’s also a great way to learn new ways to train (like I did with these deadlifts).




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