Perspective on RX

It’s been almost 8 years since I first started coaching CrossFit and 11 in the CrossFit circle. In those eight years, I’ve met 1000’s of athletes and coached many hours of group classes. During this time, I have gathered certain coaching perspectives that I believe, could be detrimental to your progress in the gym, and that is the notion that every session must be RX. I’d like to see if we can change the perspective on completing a workout as prescribed vs scaled. This is meant to give you a little perspective and maybe even eliminate a little bit of weight off of your shoulders! (Both in a literal and figurative sense.)

Integrity of Movement

As always, your safety is my number one priority. If your quality of movement is ever suffering for the sake of moving a prescribed weight, this could eventually lead to some very serious injuries. So instead of thinking of Rx as a certain weight that might have been prescribed on the whiteboard let’s try something new! Think of “Rx” as staying back on your heels during that push-press dip, or keeping your back completely neutral during every single deadlift that you perform during your workout! Change your perspective on what “Rx” means! It’s not just about who can do the workout Rx, it’s about achieving the desired training stimulus in a safe and effective training environment.

Strive for the Stimulus

Every workout you do, every time you see a prescribed weight, a standard movement listed in your program or whatever it might be, I want you to remember that someone just completely made that number up! The number is prescribed to generate a certain stimulus but not every athlete is going to use the same weight and receive the same stimulus. Let’s look at what that means for our sample workout below.

5 rounds for time:
Rx Weight- 155/105
12 Deadlifts
9 Hang Power Cleans
6 Shoulder to Overhead

This workout is a great example because it’s going to generate a different stimulus depending on what you, as an athlete, are capable of doing. Some of the top athletes in the world are completing this workout in about 3:26-4:00. (Insane right?) Now, that’s a crazy fast time, but let’s take a “normal” person (not the freaks of nature who are going sub-4 on this). You are looking at about 6-9 minutes of work to generate the desired stimulus if this were to be prescribed in a class setting. I’ve seen athletes that were so set on completing the workout as prescribed that they work for 25+ minutes on a workout that is meant to stay under 10! The intensity plummets, maybe this weight is only 20-30 pounds under your 1 rep max, it’s no longer the same workout for you. The effects on your body are now completely different and you definitely won’t elevate your heart rate the same way someone did when completing this in under 6 minutes.

Now, I’m not saying that you can’t challenge yourself during some of these benchmark workouts to set a time for yourself to beat in the future. That’s not my point at all. My point is that we need to think of what the desired stimulus is for the day and think of THAT as “Rx.”

So don’t stress yourself out over whether you are lifting a certain weight during your metcon or not. You should never feel like less of an athlete for having to scale back on the pounds to keep yourself safe! Make certain that you are moving safely and efficiently and I promise you will see so much progress. Have patience with yourself and remember that no two athletes are the same. Never feel forced to do the same weight in a workout as someone else just because it was the Rx weight on the whiteboard. Stay safe and think of this fresh new perspective!