Article by: Ryne Milner
When the next day’s workout is published on Wodify, you will commonly see the letters Rx. This simply indicates which weight or movement standard is prescribed by the programmer. Most commonly, programs are written with the elite athlete in mind. From there the workout can be scaled down to meet the fitness level of each individual athlete. The goal for most athletes is to be able to complete each workout Rx and push that magical blue button. However, it is the duty of the coaching staff to ensure that you only Rx a workout if you prove that you are capable of completing it safely. So when should I Rx? When should I scale?
The number one factor in determining whether or not to Rx a workout is safety. Many athletes will try to perform a workout Rx even though the load is too heavy for their current ability level. This can lead to major injuries that will set us back in our training. Just because you have hit a certain lift at the prescribed weight once or twice does not mean that you are ready to use that weight within a workout. As fatigue sets in, our bodies begin to look for any way possible to get that weight up. The athlete will put themselves in unsafe positions such as rounding their back or jerking the weight around to try and get the bar up. This is very dangerous and can lead to injuries. It is the coaches’ responsibility to decide where the athlete is at and if it is in the athlete’s best interest to Rx the workout. It is the athlete’s responsibility to take that advice and make a safe decision. Pushing the blue button is not worth an injury.
The same applies for gymnastics. If you do not have the proper form and technique to perform a certain movement, then you again are putting yourself at risk. If you do not have the requisite strength and form to perform a movement properly, we need to spend more time practicing our progressions and skills. It is vital that we go back and perfect the basics before moving on to more advanced movements or heavier loads on the bar. We do not want to form bad habits. It is so important to look at your fitness with the long term view. If we first master the basics, the rest will follow. It may take a little longer then you hoped but your movements will be stronger, safer and technically more efficient.
Another factor to consider is the type of response we are hoping to illicit with the workout. We can look to a classic CrossFit workout to explain this. Let’s look at Grace, which calls for 30 clean and jerks for time. Even though we are performing one of the Olympic lifts, we are not just looking to build strength. The goal of Grace is to illicit an aerobic response while we are performing the lifts. So if we are doing one rep and then resting for a full minute before trying another, we will not be hitting the metabolic pathway that we are intending to. Instead we should lower the weight and move quicker through the workout in order to get the type of physical response that we are looking for. You may be frustrated on that day but it will be much more beneficial for you in the long run.
While we certainly encourage our athletes to work towards being able to Rx all of the workouts, we want to first make sure that we can accomplish that goal in a safe manner. Keep working those progressions, getting stronger and trust the process one day at a time!