Our CrossFit Alpharetta family is growing! And as such we have a lot of new members who have asked us what the magical term RX is all about. So we are posting this educational piece!!!
“R” and “X” are two letters that are a staple of CrossFit circles. You see it on the SugarWOD, competitions, the OPEN and even the Games. You read it in the comments section. You hear members talking about it. In fact, we have many of our new members asking coaches what it means. And because we will embark on the CrossFit Open where we must complete the workouts “Rx” in order to post our scores … we thought we’d spend a little time discussing what “Rx” really means.
Well, literally, the letters mean “as prescribed”. Yes, I know, all of the acronyms CrossFit uses can be confusing, so let’s break it down. At its core, we define “Rx” as doing the workout
(1) at the prescribed weight/height (2) for the prescribed number of reps (3) to the full standards of each movement.
But before we further define it, please know it is okay and expected that many of our members do not perform the WODs Rx. In fact, we expect only 10-20% of our members to Rx the workouts. Yes, it’s true. On average, the workoutss are specifically designed for CFA athletes who have been attending CFA for longer periods of time and we expect the vast majority of our athletes to scale the workout. If you’re ever unsure if you should scale, your Coach is always the best resource for you to determine whether or not the workout should be attempted Rx.
So now, let’s take a look at an example workout to apply the concept of “Rx-ing a workout”:
3 Rounds30 Hang Power Cleans 95/6520 Burpees over the Bar10 Box Jumps 30/24
(1) At The Prescribed Weight/Height:
You’ll often see a weight or height posted next to a movement. In the case of this workout, the hang cleans are to be performed at 95 pounds for men and 65 pounds for women. The box jumps are 30 inches and 24 inches for men and women, respectively. If the coaches advise you to go lighter, or jump to a shorter box, then you are no longer “Rx-ing” the workout. If you start the workout Rx but then find you have to lower the weight or alter the workout, then it’s not Rx.
(2) For The Prescribed Number of Reps:
The number of repetitions is generally fairly straight forward: 3 rounds of 30 hang cleans, 20 burpees over the bar, and 10 box jumps. But while this seems easy enough to remember when you’re in your calm, pre-workout mental state… we all know it can turn into a blur once we hear that “3-2-1-Go!” It’s happened to all of us… we lose track of our count or perhaps we even lose track of the rep scheme. If this happens, the workout is no longer Rx. If you’re not sure… then it’s not Rx.
(3) To the Standards of Each Movement:
This is probably the most difficult aspect of and RX’d workout. Holding true the standard of movement is often difficult when you’re in the heat of the WOD. We’re often unable to”see” the range of motion required for any given movement and are forced to “feel” our way through the standards. For example, hitting depth (crease of hip below the top of the knee) on squats, not getting your chin over the bar on a pull up, or not locking out elbows on a push press are very common movements where we see standards slip.
In this workout you have to hit all points of performance for the hang clean: establish the hang position, elbows in front of the bar in the catch and come to a complete stand (extended knee and hip) before bringing the bar back to the hang position . For the burpees, chest must touch the ground, jump with 2 feet together over the bar and the feet must be the first body part to touch the floor. For the box jumps, you must show control at the top of the box with hips and knees fully extended.
Putting it all together…
So what should you do if you’re “going for Rx” and find yourself struggling with any of these requirements? Well, for weight, there’s not much you can do other than drop the weight and strive for Rx the next time. For number of reps, we recommend writing the exact rep scheme on a white board and put it next to you. Cross off reps as they are completed and keep track of your rounds. For standard of movement, you should be listening to your coach’s guidance and instruction during the workout and if you still don’t/can’t hit a standard, you should “no rep” yourself or marke the workout as scaled.
And by the way… we all make mistakes and at times, we may miscount, mis-post and have a mid-WOD lapse of judgement. That’s cool… we’re all human. We’ve been there.
One of the coolest parts of the CrossFit experience is the feeling we get when we finish that workout. In the end, does it really matter if it’s Rx or not? That’s not why we are here. But, we ARE here to improve, to check our egos at the door, and to have integrity when it comes to posting and recording our scores. Hopefully this clarifies any confusion and as always keep kicking ass!