“What does RX mean?”
Basically every new CrossFit athlete that joins the gym asks that question within their first few classes. RX means doing the WOD with the movement, reps, and weight as prescribed.. so not scaling the workout and doing it as written on the whiteboard. An example would be doing “Fran” 21-15-9 Thrusters (95/65) and pull-ups. This would mean you completed the workout RX.
So why do we have an RX for each WOD? Just as a doctor prescribes medication, as your coaches, we prescribe a level at which we strive for you to perform each and every movement in a workout. It may be front squats at 105 in the workout or chest-to-bar pull-ups. These are things that if the weight is too heavy or the movement is too advanced that you can work towards achieving. RX movements are something that take work to achieve, but when you do, it’s an amazing feeling of accomplishment! Striving for RX is a great way to keep constantly improving in CrossFit and to bring a challenge to each workout.
You may be an athlete that is used to going RX on 80% of the WODs at the gym. While you should always be striving to challenge yourself in the workouts, you should also make sure you’re hitting the intended stimulus of that workout. This is where ego comes into play. If a workout has a time goal of 8 minutes with keeping high intensity the whole time and you end up taking 15 minutes, it’s safe to say that we didn’t scale something appropriately. This is why as coaches, we give recommendations for weights and movements. If we say pick a scale for pull-ups that you could do 12 unbroken if asked, you shouldn’t try to do chest to bar pull-ups in singles for the workout. This is where it’s time to put your ego aside, lower the weights on the barbell, or choose a scale that will get you within that time goal.
The point is to remind you guys that RX is just two letters placed besides your name on the whiteboard. It’s something you should be proud of when accomplished and to continue to strive towards! However, you should NEVER be afraid or shamed to scale a workout. I’ve been doing CrossFit for over 5 years and still have many WOD’s that I scale. Some days I’m just too sore, know that I’m not 100% in it, or the weight is just too heavy for me to hit the time goal. Take your coaches advice, listen to your body, and aim to hit the stimulus of the workout while still giving yourself a good challenge.