Hey fellow athletes, I’d just like to take a few minutes of your day to bring to your attention a potential headache a lot of CrossFitters suffer from before a WOD, before we walk into the box, maybe even the night before we train! It’s two little letters (well one capital and one lower case). It’s whether we can or more importantly should do the WOD Rx or not! It’s a concern of mine and an important component of your training goals, results and progress.
First let’s take a step back and check out where the meaning of Rx came from and what it means as it relates to CrossFit.
Origin of RX
*alteration of ℞, symbol used at the beginning of a prescription, abbreviation for Latin recipe, literally, take.
First Known Use: 1926
So there you go, we take the medical symbol and use it as a term to quantify our workouts on the whiteboard or completing WOD’s as prescribed’. But it’s more than that to us, it’s like a badge of honour, it shows everybody how ‘good’ or how ‘strong’ you are, it’s something every CrossFitter strives for- but they shouldn’t, at least not for most people in their first year or two of CrossFit. Don’t get me wrong, occasionally somebody comes along who has a background in Olympic lifting or gymnastics or athletics who can crossover quite easily into CrossFit and get through a few WOD’s Rx, but that’s not most people and that’s ok.
To make it easier for you to decide whether you should be Rxing WODs or not we should first be looking at what the outcome of the WOD should be or its desired physiological affect on the body. Is it a strength workout, or cardio biased? What metabolic pathway are we using or trying to tap into? Also do you have any injuries, restrictions or technique issues. So it’s not just about whether we are strong enough to lift the weight that’s prescribed, it’s also about the movement standards as well. For example a WOD that requires 5 rounds of multiple 120kg Deadlifts and Pull ups shouldn’t be completed Rx or ‘as prescribed’ even if you can lift the weight but can’t get your chin over the bar EVERY rep! You probably shouldn’t be doing it Rx either if the Deadlifts are your 1 rep max but you can do butterfly pull ups!
Choosing Rx or not is a pretty important decision to make and you may not progress properly or even go backwards in your training if you make the wrong choice or aren’t hitting the movement standards properly. If you’re in doubt or don’t understand the WOD completely just ask your coach, we’re more than happy to give you advice about where we see you in your training, what the WODs outcomes should be and how you should tackle it.
There’s another side to Rx as well, if you’re not hitting the movement standards in a WOD ie. not getting full depth in a push up every rep or only doing a partial squat, not hitting the target each and every rep in Wallballs, or doing a push press when a shoulder press is called for or not locking the elbows out and pressing in a snatch or God forbid you’re shaving reps, don’t be ticking that little Rx button! Your coaches and other athletes notice and by doing this you’re not just cheating yourself and your progress by not doing proper movement standards, you’re creating a negative vibe in the community. We all know how hard CrossFit is because it is a group training environment and we’re all smashing ourselves together. You’ll earn more respect from your coaches and peers by giving 100% in the WOD, no matter the weight you lift or the movement you may need to scale rather than earning 0 respect from shaving reps, partial reps and lazy form.
So next time you size up a WOD, have a little think about what you’re capable of, what the outcome of the WOD is and what you may need to scale / modify. I guarantee yours and everyone else’s CrossFit experience will be more satisfying, you’ll get more out of it and progress quicker.
Thanks for taking the time to read this, your feedback is very welcome.
* Sourced from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, an Encyclopedia Britannica Company.