New members are often curious about this Rx thing that CrossFitters often talk about.  What does it mean?  What is it for? 

Rx is straightforward, it just means as prescribed.  So if you completed the workout Rx’d, it means you completed it as it was written.  Nothing more, nothing less.  It is a quantitative value, not a qualitative value.  Rx is not necessarily better than not Rx.  It is not a judgment but a description.  As a coach I get frustrated when I hear someone say “My score doesn’t count because I didn’t do it Rx’d.”  Like hell it doesn’t!  I’ve completed many workouts using some modification and every one of them counted, thank you very much!

Let’s be very clear on what the Rx is for:

1) To compare apples to apples.  If I completed Grace in 3:23 last time at a weight of 115lbs but this time I Rx’d it at 135lbs with a time of 5:05 it is important to note that though I moved slower I was using different loads.  Rx’d is a shorthand to tell me quickly what scaling was used.  It is particularly important in competition so we can accurately compare performances between athletes.  In training it is only important historically as I compare myself to my past performances.

2) Preventing people from scaling too heavy or difficult.  More is not better.  CrossFit workouts are designed to challenge the fittest in the world.  Grace is prescribed at 135lbs for men.  Unless you’re Rich Froning using 225lbs is not better.  The Rx is best thought of as a ceiling rather than a floor.  It is the maximum load to be used, not the minimum.  You should do Grace at or below 135lbs depending on your fitness level.  If 135lbs is too light, do it faster!

3) A motivator.  When you’re starting out, the Rx is aspirational.  It gives you a benchmark to work towards.  Completing your first Rx’d Grace is an accomplishment.  As Bruiser once said, the Rx keeps you honest.  It prevents you from slacking off and going lighter on a day when you’re just not feeling it because, let’s be honest, most days it would be easier to just go lighter if CrossFit did not hold us to a standard.

The misconception is that the Rx’d is always better.  This often arises when CrossFitters confuse the competition standard for the training standard.  Competition standards like the hand-release push up are designed to make judging criteria easier, not because they improve the functionality of the movement.  The hands-off push is in fact inferior from a fitness perspective to a strictly executed push up.  The same applies to the competition style burpee which is easy to score and great for scaling but almost completely negates the athletic intent of the burpee. In these cases the competition Rx standard is inferior to the training version of the movement and should be relegated only to competition and avoided in training.

There are other cases where the Rx’d is inferior.  So much so that I often intentionally abandon the Rx in favour of workout versions that produce better fitness outcomes.  One example is dumbbell thrusters which at most weights are much more challenging, safer and provide better fitness outcomes than the barbell version.  Even at loads slightly below the Rx’d.  In pursuit of optimal fitness outcomes why wouldn’t I use the more productive version if it is available? 

The longer I train, the fitter I get, the less important the Rx seems to me.  I will not hesitate to abandon it in favour of a scaling option that better serves my fitness goals.  Obsessing about the Rx seems a bit silly.

The RX is a tool that can be useful in some circumstances but is also meaningless in other situations.  In general I think CrossFitters put too much emphasis on it.  It is not as important as some make it out to be.  Much of the emphasis on the Rx’d comes from the error of mistaking training for competition.  Competition happens at the Open or at the CanWest Games, what we do day-to-day is train.

This in no way diminishes the accomplishments of members who succeed in completing a workout Rx’d.  AV, Venom and Electric for example recently completed all 400 reps of benchmark workout Angie Rx’d!  This is a huge accomplishment worthy of recognition.  It is evidence of their improving fitness levels.  It does not diminish the results of those who did not complete Angie Rx’d and doesn’t mean that you should aim for that goal at this moment.  But for them it was a meaningful benchmark signifying their progress to date.  Great work guys!

Friday Make Up Day

1) Angie
100 Pull-ups
100 Push-ups
100 Sit-ups
100 Squats

2) 5 Rounds:
5 Deadlift
10 Burpees

3) 10k Run

4) 5k Run

5) Empower Reset #20
1 min Knees to belly breathing
30/30 sec Knees to belly head nods/rotations

3 mins
10 heads-up cross touch dead bugs
10 head pressed down windshield wipers

3 mins seated Roll to Commando Crawl

3 mins
10 cross touch plank bird dogs
10 judo push up rocks

5 mins
Max Handstand Hold
Max Leopard Crawl

Max Hanging Hold
10 medball get ups

Max Table Pose
10 medball get ups

Max Squat Hold
20 Cross Crawls