Blog Search

Rep Shaving (aka cheating yourself) Revisited

By: 0

“Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.”     – C.S. Lewis

With Murph right around the corner, I thought it might be a good time to revisit a topic that sparks controversy every time it comes up… “rep shaving,” “losing count,” or as I refer to it, cheating**.

It’s likely that no matter who you are, at some point you’ve shaved a rep, either intentionally or unintentionally. Coaches definitely understand that sometimes you forget which round you’re in. It happens. We know that sometimes you accidentally put the wrong load or time in Wodify because your brain isn’t functioning correctly after wrestling with Fran. We’re aware that you can’t always tell if you squatted below parallel exactly 300 times during Cindy. These are honest mistakes made by honest people.

Murph is a long, grueling workout. It’s easy to get lost inside those hundreds of pull ups, push ups and sit ups. It’s also easy, when you’re deep in the thick of it, and muscles are starting to fail you, to think, “Maybe I’ll just cap it here and move on to the next movement.”

That is a totally legit decision IF you are also planning to accurately record that decision, so that you know exactly what you did for next time. “Wasn’t feeling it. Only did 150 push ups” or whatever. But if, at the end of the workout, you check that little RX box and pretend your score should be compared to others, who actually did all 200 push ups…that’s where you and I are going to have a problem.

Rep shaving is cheating. And it has negative implications for both the person doing the cheating AND the people getting worked up about it.

To the rep-shaver, I’d like to say this: who do you think you’re fooling? You know what you’re doing when you intentionally shave reps or short-change your movements. Your coaches know it too. And most importantly, your community knows it.  So why are you doing it?

If it’s winning that matters to you, think about all those reps you didn’t do that could have improved your fitness! If you’re only doing 75% of the work, you’re only getting 75% more fit. You’re leaving 25% of your potential on the table for the sake of a spot on the top of the whiteboard that you didn’t actually earn; a spot that everyone in the gym knows doesn’t really belong to you. Everyone you workout with KNOWS YOU REP SHAVE.

So a) you aren’t fooling anyone and b) if you actually DO “win” legitimately, nobody will believe it. Everyone already adjusts your score by like 25%, so…

Fitness is a long game, and cutting your workout short day after day only hurts you in the long run.

Now, to those who let it get under your skin…while I totally understand, I’d like to offer another perspective: who cares? You know the score. In the end, it doesn’t actually matter what that person is doing. If you go out hard and do your best in each and every workout, you win. It’s that simple. Wasting energy worrying about someone else’s workout takes away from your own. So why bother?

Besides, a little good-natured competition can be fun! So if a shaver puts up a score, valid or not, that inspires you to push yourself that much harder, then they’ve helped you improve your fitness by giving you something to shoot for. Silver lining, right?

In the end, we’re all just trying to get a little bit better every day. So keep your eyes on the prize and focus on your own biggest competition – YOU!


** To Be Clear:

A CrossFit Cheater is…

1.   A person who is shaving reps – usually we count like 1, 2, 3, … but they count like that 1, 3, 4, 7, …

2.  A person who is logging fake scores – they say: “I didn’t count the reps” and then they post one of the best scores on whiteboard

3.  A person who is shaving time off WODs – cheater is finishing WOD in 9:30 but an hour later you see 6:30 on whiteboard

4.  A person who isn’y doing the full range of motion (ROM) – today’s WOD is Karen, everyone is doing full depth squats and hits the target except the cheater who is doing only half squats and hits under the target which allows cheater to have one of the best times.


Not A Cheater:

1.  A Beginner – usually they even don’t know they are technically cheating by doing something like quarter squats

2.  A person who has problems with full ROM – if you can’t do full squats then it is OK to do half squats provided you aren’t claiming to have done the WOD “Rx”

3.  A person who accidentally miscounted reps/rounds once in a blue moon

Comments: 0

Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.