Scaling the TYR Wodapalooza Workouts for Your Gym

January 12, 2023 by
Photo Credit: Wodapalooza (@ wodapalooza)
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The individual events for the 2023 TYR Wodapalooza have been released and today we’re giving you the tools to properly scale the workouts for your fitness level. The first thing to consider when scaling a workout is the intended stimulus (time domain, loading, volume and movements). We’re going to break-down these elements for you and provide you with different movement options to help you customize the workout beyond a cookie-cutter scaled version. 

The idea here is to help you feel the workout in a very similar way to how the top level elites will be feeling over the next couple of days!  

Rings and Squats

For time: 

21/15 Ring Muscle-ups

21 Back Squats (235, 165lb)

15/12 Ring Muscle-ups

15 Front Squats

9 Ring Muscle-ups

9 Overhead Squats

Time Cap: 12:00

Stimulus: This workout is going to take the majority of athletes between six and 10 minutes, with the 12 minute time cap cutting off some of the field. Use the descriptions below to tailor each movement to your fitness level and strive to finish the workout in the intended time frame. 

Ring muscle up options: Most of these athletes will finish each round of muscle ups with two breaks or less each round. Choose an option that allows you to follow a similar structure in your workout. 

  • Ring muscle ups: Choose a number of descending reps that will allow you to perform each round with no more than two breaks. For example, if you can perform three sets of three reps, a good rep scheme for you would be 9-7-5 muscle ups. 
  • Bar muscle ups: Substitute bar muscle ups for the rings if needed and follow a similar structure to the ring muscle up scaling. Choose a rep scheme where you can perform each round with no more than two short breaks. If needed, you can perform banded bar muscle ups if that’s where you are in your journey. 
  • Burpee pull-ups: This is one of the more underrated muscle up substitutes, as it has a similar cycle rate and works an upper body push and pull. It also has a similar cardiorespiratory demand that will give you a similar feeling to how the elite athletes feel on the competition floor. Keep the reps for this at 21-15-9 and use a jump, kip or strict pull-up with the bar ideally being six to 12 inches above a standing reach. 
  • Burpees to target: If you’re still developing your pull-ups, burpees to a target are a great substitute for muscle ups. Stand under a pull-up bar you have to jump up to touch with both hands and perform 21-15-9 burpees with a jumping touch to the pull-up bar every rep. 

Barbell options: The barbell will be heavy, but most of these athletes will do the 21 back squats unbroken, the 15 front squats with one break maximum, and the final nine overhead squats will be the real test for the workout. Since the barbell is starting from the ground, most of these athletes will attempt to go unbroken, but you may see several athletes fail overhead squats if they pace the workout incorrectly. 

  • Strength target: If you’re looking to target strength and don’t care as much about the skill, take the barbell from a rack and perform 21-15-9 back squats with a heavy weight. The weight you choose should allow you to perform each round of squats with no more than one break. 
  • Descending loading: If you want to make each round as challenging as possible, you can decrease the barbell weight each round as you move from the back squat to the front and overhead squats. You will be limited by your overhead squat strength, so this scaling method will help keep the workout challenging if you’re still developing your overhead squat.
  • Reduce load: If you want to keep the format as it’s written, keep a fixed loaded barbell on the floor and perform the squatting portions as prescribed. Decrease the loading as needed so that you can do each round of squats with no more than one short break. 

We Have Lift Off

A) For Max Load in 4min:

1RM Clean & Jerk

2 Minute transition, and begin @ minute 6:

B) One attempt for max time: Parallette Free-standing Handstand Hold

Stimulus: This is the strength/skill event of the weekend where you’ll get to go heavy and then test your balance, coordination inverted skills. Use the below guidelines to get the most out of this test. 

Clean & Jerk options: The great thing about working up to a max lift as opposed to a lifting ladder is it is completely relative. This allows you to perform the exact same movement and compare yourself to some of the fittest on earth. 

  • Full clean and jerk: If you’re comfortable performing a full clean and jerk, warm-up to your first or second attempt weight and then strip down and perform this as prescribed. 
  • Power clean + front squat + shoulder to overhead: If you’re still developing the coordination and timing for the full clean and jerk, perform this complex so you can safely lift as heavy as possible. Choose a shoulder to overhead variation you are comfortable performing with heavy weight. 

Parallette free-standing handstand hold options: Safety and experience are going to be major players in this. If you haven’t learned how to safely forward roll out of a bailed freestanding handstand, we don’t recommend winging it without working through some progressions. Choose the appropriate option for you and have fun. 

  • Parallette free-standing handstand hold options: If you’re confident that you can kick up and hold for at least 10-15 seconds, feel free to give this a shot and have fun! If you don’t have parallettes at your gym you can use dumbbells. 
  • Wall assisted free-standing handstand hold: If kicking up to a freestanding handstand is the issue for you (not holding the freestanding handstand), kick up one to two feet from the wall and use the wall to spot you and allow you to get settled. Once you’re ready, bring both feet away from the wall and hold a freestanding handstand for as long as possible. 
  • Wall handstand hold: Kick up to a handstand with the back facing the wall and only the heels touching the wall (butt not allowed to touch). 
  • Wall walk start hold: Get into a tabletop position (hands and knees), with your feet against the wall. From here, walk one foot up the wall and bring the second foot up next to it. This is the starting position for a wall walk before walking the hands to the wall. You’re not going to move from this starting position and your body should form roughly a 45 degree angle from your feet on the wall to your hands on the floor. Hold this position as long as possible. 
  • Box pike hold: Put your feet on a box (20-30 inches), and walk your hands from an elevated push-up position towards the box until your torso is inverted. Once you’re in the inverted pike position, time how long you can hold this handstand. 
  • Double dumbbell overhead hold: If you’re not comfortable getting inverted, grab a heavy(ish) pair of dumbbells and push press them overhead. Hold the dumbbells in the locked out position overhead with the knees and hips fully extended. Once the elbows begin to excessively bend your set is over. 

Double Shot with a Splash

Complete for time:

2 Rounds of:

50 Wall Balls (30, 20lb)

Open Water Swim

150 Drag Rope Double Unders

Time Cap: 20 Minutes

Stimulus: This event is testing a combination of stamina (muscular endurance) and aerobic capacity. The elite athletes at WZA will be able to move through both rounds of this workout with very short breaks and the intent is to move steadily for 14-18 minutes. 

Wall ball options: Most athletes will perform the first round of wall balls unbroken, with a few breaking once. In the second round you’ll see one to two short breaks before jumping back into the water. Your goal should be to follow a similar pattern, using the below scaling options to allow that to happen. 

  • Reduce weight: These athletes are performing heavy wall balls, so modify the weight so you can perform that first round of 50 reps with no more than two short breaks. 
  • Reduce target height: If the accuracy aspect of the wall ball (throwing to a target) is what you’re struggling with, you can reduce the height to something you feel confident you can hit repetitively. You can adjust the wall ball weight as needed depending on the height that you choose. 
  • Jumping air squats: If you’re struggling with stringing together big sets of wall balls and you’re just looking to get an intense workout, you can use this as a way to just move. The main things here are to hold yourself accountable to squatting below parallel every rep. The jump doesn’t need to be high, just one to two inches off the floor to make sure you’re explosively extending the hips every rep. 

Swim options: Details regarding the distance of the swim have yet to be released, but based on the time cap we can predict it’s going to be somewhere in the 200-300 meter range. This means athletes will be swimming for three to four minutes each round. We will use this to gauge the distance/reps for our swimming substitutions. 

  • Concept 2 Ski-erg or Rower: If you have access to a skierg, that should take priority over the rower as the movement mimics swimming more closely. Perform a 1,000/800m ski or row in place of the swim. 
  • Burpees: Perform 50 burpees in place of the swim each round. Use this only as a last resort if you don’t have access to the Concept 2 machines. 

Drag rope double under options: Most athletes will do the 150 reps with two breaks or less each round. Choose an option that allows you to complete the work in roughly two minutes or less. 

  • Double unders: Perform 150 double unders with a speed rope. 
  • Double under practice: If you’d like to sneak some skill work into this event, accumulate as many double unders as you can in two minutes each round. 
  • Alternating high knee single unders: This option will get the heart rate spiked in a similar way to double unders. If you’re someone who has a high aerobic level, but you haven’t developed the skill of double unders, perform 150 alternating reps. This will look like jogging in place with the jump rope skipping, attempting to bring the knee as high as possible to increase intensity. 
  • Single unders: If you can perform 50 single unders unbroken easily, you’re going to double the reps here and do 300 single unders in the workout. If you struggle with skipping rope and you’re still learning, keep the reps as 150 single unders. 
  • Plate jumps: Put a bumper plate on the floor and stand with the feet wide on the sides of the plate. Jump and land with the feet close on top of the plate and then immediately hop back down to the starting position. Choose a plate height that is challenging, but allows you top hop on and off the plate without stopping to reset. Perform 100 reps in place of the double unders. 

Back to the Future

Complete for time:

5/4 Legless Rope Climbs

40 Weighted GHD Sit-ups (20, 14lb)

30m Double KB Overhead Walking Lunge (53, 35lb)

20 Double KB Hang Clean & Jerks

1 Mile Assault Run

20 Double KB Thrusters

30m Double KB Front-rack Walking Lunge

40 GHD Sit-ups

5 Rope Climbs

Time Cap: 22 Minutes

Stimulus: This will most likely be the longest event of the weekend, with elite athletes expected to take 18-22 minutes. Choose scaling options that will allow you to chip away and continue to move for the full duration of the workout. Take short breaks as needed, but nothing should completely stop you in your tracks. 

Legless rope climb options: The first set of rope climbs are prescribed as legless, with the final set of rope climbs being regular footed climbs. Most athletes will finish both of these sets in around two minutes. 

  • Legless: If you have legless rope climbs in your repertoire, feel free to do this and cap yourself at two minutes to maintain the stimulus of the workout. 
  • Rope climbs: If legless rope climbs are not in the cards for you, feel free to do regular rope climbs for both the start and finish of this chipper. 
  • Lying to standing rope climbs: Lie on the ground holding on to the climbing rope. Pull yourself up hand over hand until you’re standing. The more you bend your legs the easier the movement will be. Adjust the difficulty based on your strength. Perform five reps at the start and end of the chipper. 
  • Pull-ups: Perform 15 strict pull-ups at the beginning of the chipper and 30 kipping pull-ups at the end of the workout if you don’t have access to a rope. These can be with band assistance if needed, but should not need more than two quick breaks for each set. 
  • Ring rows: Substitute 30 ring rows for the rope climbs and make your torso angle difficult enough that you have to break at least one to two times each set. 

Weighted GHD sit-up options: 

  • GHD sit-ups: If you’re comfortable performing full range of motion GHD sit-ups, you should be able to perform the 40 reps with no more than two short breaks. Decrease the reps if needed. 
  • Parallel GHD sit-ups: If you’re still developing full range of motion GHD sit-ups, you can decrease the range to lying back to parallel before sitting back up. Keep the reps at 40 and try to not break more than once per set. 
  • Straight leg medicine ball AbMat sit-ups: If you’re not comfortable with GHD sit-ups, you can perform straight leg sit-ups to an Abmat. You can weight this movement like they will be doing for WZA by taking a medicine ball and touching it overhead in the back of each rep and sitting up and bringing the ball to the feet to finish each rep. 
  • AbMat sit-ups: The final option is to perform regular AbMat sit-ups. Try to perform all 40 reps unbroken. 

Double KB overhead walking lunge options: The challenge with this movement is not the strength, but the mobility and stability demanded on the shoulders. The workout calls for a 30 meter lunge, which works out to roughly 40 walking lunges. 

  • Reduce weight: If you have adequate mobility and can get into a nicely stacked overhead position, choose a weight that you can do the lunges with only one to two breaks per set. 
  • Single arm overhead: A single arm overhead lunge will reduce the mobility demands while still allowing you to get a similar stimulus to the elite athletes. Perform 20 overhead lunges on one arm and then switch to the other arm for the other 20 lunges. 
  • Front rack: The back half of the pyramid chipper calls for front rack lunges. You can perform this for both sets of lunges if going overhead isn’t in the cards for you.  
  • Bodyweight: If performing loaded lunges has too much impact, you can do bodyweight walking lunges. 

Double KB hang clean and jerk options:

  • Reduce weight: Choose a weight you can perform the 20 reps unbroken and you can substitute dumbbell hang clean and jerks if needed. Swing the dumbbells through the legs to make it more similar to how it will be performed with kettlebells. 

Assault runner options:

  • Outdoor run: Since most gyms don’t have Assault Runners, feel free to substitute an outdoor run. The run should take six to nine minutes, so you can reduce the distance as needed. 
  • Concept 2 machines: If your gym has the Concept 2 bike-erg, substituting a 4,000m bike would be the best immediate replacement for a run. You can also perform a 2,000m row if your gym doesn’t have the bike. We don’t recommend a ski-erg as a substitute for the run in this workout. 
  • Fan bike: Perform a 120/80 calorie fan bike as a replacement for the run if needed. Abilities tend to vary greatly on the fan bike, so self-scale by capping yourself at around 8 minutes on the bike. 

Double KB thruster options:

  • Reduce weight: Athletes are going to perform this unbroken, so choose a weight you know you can go unbroken when already fatigued. You can substitute dumbbells if needed for this as well. 

Start Fast and Finish Strong

A) Complete for time:


Toes to Bar

Hurdle Jumps (24″, 18″)

44yd Shuttle Run (11-22-11yd)

1-minute transition, rest, then at minute 5:

B) Complete for time:

1,000m Row

20 D-Ball Cleans (150, 100lb)

300ft D-Ball Bearhug Carry

Time Cap: 15 Minutes Total

Stimulus: The first part of this event is going to test the agility and speed of the athletes. Choose scaling options that will allow you move through the first part as quickly as possible with little to no breaks. The second portion is going to be a paced row, followed by a hard push on the cleans and carry. 

Toes to bar options: The rounds of 11 should be unbroken, with the round of 22 not being broken more than once. Choose one of the below options that will allow you to maintain the intended stimulus for this movement. 

  • Toes to bar
  • Toes to rings
  • Knees to armpits
  • Knee raises
  • V-ups
  • Tuck-ups

Hurdle jump options: The jump overs should be quick and unbroken. Use one of the below options to allow you to do each round of jump overs without stopping. 

  • Parallette lateral jump overs
  • Dumbbell lateral jump overs
  • Line lateral jump overs (tape or floor)

Shuttle run options:

  • Shuttle runs: If your gym has the space to do the 11-22-11 yard sprints, keep it as is. If you need to modify the distance, you can do shuttle runs and make sure that the distance totals around 125 feet. 
  • Bike sprint: If running and cutting isn’t something you’re interested in doing, you can replace this portion with a 20-second bike sprint and then repeat the number of calories in the remaining rounds. 

Row options:

  • Reduce distance: You should be able to complete the row in 4 minutes or less, so give yourself a cap to stay within the intended time frame. 

D-Ball clean options:

  • Reduce weight: If your gym has sandbags or D-Balls, use a weight you can cycle for very quick singles or even touch-and-go reps. 
  • Power cleans: If your gym doesn’t have sandbags or D-Balls, choose a power clean weight that you can do 20 quick singles with. 

D-Ball bearhug carry options:  

  • Reduce weight: If your gym has sandbags or D-Balls, you should be using the same weight you used for the cleans. 
  • Farmers carry: If your gym doesn’t have sandbags or D-Balls, grab the heaviest pair of dumbbells you can carry and use this for the 300 foot carry. 

Miami Meat Market and Dirty Isabel 

A) Complete for time:

3 Rounds of

25 C2B Pull-ups

15 DB Bench Press (80, 50lb)


30/21 Cal Echo Bike

1 minute transition/rest then at minute 10

B) At minute 10, complete for time:

30 Bar Facing Burpees

30 Unbroken* Power Snatches (125, 85lb)

*For every break, perform 3 bar-facing burpees

Time Cap: 17 Minutes

Stimulus: This event packs an anaerobic punch and muscular endurance (stamina) will be the limiting factor. Both parts of this workout will be in a short time domain, so it’s important that you choose scaling options that allow you to move through at a fast speed. 

C2B Pull-ups options:

  • C2B pull-ups: This will be completed with no more than one to two breaks each round by the elite athletes. Reduce the reps if needed to maintain this stimulus. 
  • Pull-ups: Choose a number of reps you can perform with no more than two breaks each round. You can do these with band assistance as needed. To preserve the speed/intensity of the stimulus, these should be kipping or butterfly pull-ups. 
  • Jumping pull-ups: Make sure you drop all the way down into a squat each rep to get full extension in the bottom of each rep. You can make these more difficult by increasing the jumping demand or pulling the chest to the bar. 
  • Ring rows: Choose a number of reps you can perform with no more than two breaks each round. 

DB bench press options: 

  • Reduce weight: These dumbbells are heavy for sets of 15 reps. Choose a weight that is challenging, but you can do with one, maybe two short breaks per round. 
  • DB floor press: If your gym doesn’t have benches, you can do dumbbell floor press. 

Echo Bike options:

  • Reduce calories: Most of these athletes will finish the 30/21 calories in around a minute. Give yourself 75 seconds to try and hit the prescribed calories, but cap yourself so you stay within the intended time frame. 

Bar-facing-burpee options:

  • Bar-facing-burpees: Athletes will move through this at a smooth, steady pace so that they don’t burn out for the unbroken Isabel. Choose a speed that is sustainable and isn’t going to gas you out for the final part of this workout. 
  • Burpees: Substitute regular burpees and try to keep the 30 reps if you struggle to move through bar-facing-burpees quickly. 

Power snatch options: 

  • Reduce weight: The intent is that this is unbroken, but following 75 chest-to-bar pull-ups, you’re going to see athletes fail. Choose a weight you know you can do at least 15 unbroken reps when you’re extremely fatigued. 

The bottom line: Competition programming can always be scaled down to appropriately challenge any fitness level. By breaking things down by stimulus and individual movements, you can adjust each aspect of the workout according to your personal strengths and weaknesses. Take these workouts for a spin and have some fun throwing down!  

And, check back to our 2023 TYR Wodapalooza competition hub, and on Instagram, for more updates on programming as workouts are announced.

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