You are a few months in to your CrossFit journey and you have started to notice the RX designation next to people’s names who always have the top times, who are above and beyond in their fitness, and you can’t help but want to strive for that too. Having an RX by your name on the whiteboard is the goal for a lot of crossfitters, because it is something to be proud of! No matter how long it took, no matter if it was tough, you got that RX, right?Is that what it is all about? Over many years of coaching, we as coaches have seen several athletes misinterpret the intent and meaning of “RX,” and we want to make it clear what doing a workout as prescribed means, and why it isn’t always the right decision to go RX, just because you can.

Crossfit HQ teaches us to program for the most experienced athletes in the gym, with the expectation that the weights & movements listed at that ‘RX’ to show the intended stimulus of the workout. So many times I hear “Wow! so-and-so got xx rounds or a time of x:xx, I can’t even get close to that”. Our hope and intent is that you DO get that many rounds, or a time close to that, as that means our intended stimulus was reached, whatever scale or modification was used to get there.

For example, all the scores on a given WOD should be within a relative standard deviation. Let’s look at an example-CF Vesuvio’s May 22nd WOD:
15:00 AMRAP
9 Calorie Row
18 Wall Balls (20/14)
27 Abmat Sit-ups

The intent of that workout would be all athletes to get a score of 6-7 rounds (based on an athlete moving through the movements unbroken). Just because you ‘can’ do wall balls at 20/14lbs, doesn’t necessarily mean you should. The intent of the workout is 6-7 rounds and should be done at a weight/ scaling that you could keep moving throughout the 15:00 relatively unbroken. If you know you won’t be able to do 108+ wall balls within the 15:00 AMRAP at the prescribed weight, we probably didn’t scale appropriately. This is why listening to your coaches is so important. We want the intended stimulus for you, even if that means doing a workout at a lighter load, or doing less volume. Use the RX designation as a guide to decide what scaling options are right for you.

If an experienced athlete on the board has a score of 6.22 rounds, your score should be between 6-7 rounds as well. Scoring upwards of 9 rounds, next time we will make sure to scale up. If your score is around 4 rounds, we need to scale down next time. Learning what scale is appropriate takes time, but your coaches are here to help with that. Ask your coach what they think is appropriate, and if you need any kind of modification, you can ask about that as well.

We encourage everyone to remember you are here to do the best you can to reach your fitness goals, and to ‘RX’ each workout to the best of YOUR ability, which can be as simple as doing a few more reps, adding a few more pounds, or continuing to work without resting as much during a workout. Focus on your fitness journey, and how far you have come from where you started. Remember that RX is not the end all of CrossFit, your health is.