SLIPS Series: What Are Scales In CrossFit?

Some of you may be thinking that scales are the things that you stand on that show you that you went too hard on the all you can eat buffet or that you're reaching your fitness goals. However, in CrossFit there are scales that mean an entirely different thing.


CrossFit.com programming has been introducing SLIPS or Scales, L-sits, Inversion, Planks and Stretching into the WODs.


Aa part of a new series of blogs from AMRAP ANTICS, we will be taking a deeper dive into SLIPS, how to perform each movement and why you should use SLIPS in your workout regime.


In this blog we break down the first part of SLIPS, Scales.




What are Scales?


With two main variations of a scale, the front scale and the back scale, Scales include balancing on one leg and lifting the opposing leg. Lifting the opposing leg in front is a front scale and backwards behind you is a back scale. To improve balance, it is important to keep your core engaged and your arms out on either side of you.


While looking and sounding simple, scales are far from it. Often used with all types of athletes to improve flexibility, balance, strength, coordination and agility.


Scales are a great addition to your workout regime and even as a warm up. Learn how to do them here.


How To Do A Front Scale In CrossFit


When performing any exercise it is useful to seek the advice of a medical professional or CrossFit coach before doing so.


  1. Stand feet hip width apart and straighten your arms out to your side so they're at or above shoulder height, forming a "T" with your body.

  2. Keep your head and neck in a neutral position by focussing on a fixed point ahead of you. Engage your core by drawing your belly button to your spine and draw your shoulders back and down to activate your lats.

  3. Shift the weight onto one leg and then squeeze your glutes and quads and lift your other leg straight up and out in front of you whilst keeping it straight.

  4. Raise the leg as high as you can lift it and hold that position whilst keeping your back straight, chest raised, arms out and shoulders engaged.

  5. Hold this position for as long as you can. Beginners should aim for 30 to 60 seconds at a time.

  6. Return to your starting "T" position and switch legs and repeat.


Coach Cues


Never compromise on form with your scales. ensure that you only lift your leg as high as you can without compromising your form. In addition to this, try and keep your core as engaged as it can be to help you balance.


How to do a Back Scale in CrossFit


  1. Stand feet hip width apart and straighten your arms out to your side so they're at or above shoulder height, forming a "T" with your body.

  2. Keep your head and neck in a neutral position by focussing on a fixed point ahead of you. Engage your core by drawing your belly button to your spine and draw your shoulders back and down to activate your lats.

  3. Shift the weight onto one leg and then squeeze your glutes and quads and pull your other leg straight back and behind you whilst keeping it straight and hinge at the hips.

  4. Raise the leg as high as you can lift it, ideally until your ankle, knee, hip and shoulder are in a straight line and hold that position whilst keeping your back straight, chest raised, arms out and shoulders engaged.

  5. Hold this position for as long as you can, with control. Beginners should aim for 30 to 60 seconds at a time.

  6. Return to your starting "T" position and switch legs and repeat.


Coach Cues


This position might be challenging for some, so ensure your quads and glutes are engages when you start to feel a wobble or when you are losing balance. Try not to twist your torso or pull your arms to your side to get the best out of the back scale.


If you are really struggling with your scales, try holding onto a chair, box or bar to help you with your balance.


What are the benefits of Scales in CrossFit?


Scales have so many great benefits for all types of CrossFit athletes and we believe every should consider scales in their next workout. Here are our top benefits for include Scales in your workouts:

  • Scales improve balance and core strength - As a key component to CrossFit, fitness and overall health, improving balance and core strength can help with almost every other movement in and outside of the gym.

  • Scales can improve your posture - By keeping your torso upright and solid, scales can help you recognise your limbs in relation to your midline.

  • Scales can improve your ankle mobility - By putting your weight on one leg and balancing with that leg, scales can be a low impact movement to improve ankle strength and mobility.

  • Scales can help recognise imbalances - Scales make it really easy to notice significant imbalances in the muscles either side of your body. Recognising these imbalances can make it easier to work on weaknesses and get fitter overall.

As a warm up or cool down, including scales into your next CrossFit workout can be a great way to improve your balance and core without having to prepare any equipment or without requiring too much space.


Once mastered, you can make scales harder for yourself with other variations including side scales, front to back scales, back to front scales, weighted scales, or scale holds.


Next on the SLIPS Series, is L-sits, keep an eye on our blog for the next one.