Why going RX is preventing you from going RX
by CTP of Faction S&C
Have you ever decided not to post your score after a workout because you had to scale or modify the movements? Did you feel that due to the scaling you didn’t do the “real” workout? Are you ready to start posting RX times on the board? If you answered yes, then this article is for you.
If you’ve made it here and are still unaware as to what “RX,” even stands for, look no further than the heading above. Some of the athletes at Faction make going RX look like a piece of cake, and some even scale up, making it more difficult than what was prescribed.
Are they doing something you’re not? Nope, they’ve just accumulated enough strength and skill work over time to be able to handle RX workouts.
If you’d like to start going RX on your WOD’s then you need to:
- Get stronger
- Practice your skills
- Stop going RX
You can, and will go RX and heres how…
Stop “Saving it for the WOD”
The stronger you are the easier the WOD will be. Lets look at the popular CrossFit workout “Fran” for example. Fran is 21-15-9 of Thrusters and Pullups at 95# for men, and 65# for women. If you can front squat 225# for 5 reps, then doing 95# for 45 reps is going to feel much easier.
All too often I’ll hear an athlete say they don’t want to lift heavy on the Strength/Skill side so they will be fresh for the WOD. This idea actually does seem pretty intuitive at first, however it is not going to dramatically hurt your WOD, if at all, and will only slow down your overall progress and ability to go RX.
While you most certainly can and will get stronger doing the WOD, that is not the goal. The primary role of our WOD’s are metabolic conditioning. The time and place to increase strength is on the Strength/Skill side.
You’ll never get the strength you want if you don’t lift heavy. If we are front squatting for a 5RM and you never get to a weight where the 4th and 5th rep were a grind then you aren’t lifting heavy. Every time you fail to lift heavy, you leave a lot of progress on the table.
We have a limited amount of time for strength work, sometimes getting to a heavy weight can be tough. If you don’t keep track of your PR’s (See: “The Number One Mistake Preventing You From Hitting PR’s”), then you will struggle to use your time efficiently. If you know going into a workout that the last time you performed a 5RM front squat you hit #225, then you can make smarter jumps in weight in order to hit a new PR, instead of just lifting until it “feels heavy,” which can be very time consuming.
Work on Your Goats
Sometimes your inability to perform a workout as RX has nothing to do with the weight prescribed but the movement itself. You’ll always scale handstand pushups if you never practice just getting into a handstand. Maybe doing them makes you nervous, or you just struggle with them, and therefore they aren’t much fun… whatever the case, if going RX is something you really want then tackling these “goats” should be a priority.
A “goat” is an exercise or movement you dislike doing, or are weak at. A great time to work on your goats are over the weekends during open gym hours, or after your warm up.
Quit Going RX
And last but not least, going RX when you’re not ready to go RX is only hurting you. Sometimes I wish there wasn’t even such thing as “RX”, as it can be the cause of many of headaches while coaching.
Having an “RX” keeps a lot of athletes motivated. It gives you something to strive for, something to accomplish, and satisfaction when completed knowing you performed the workout exactly as it was intended to be.
It makes some athletes feel like they aren’t getting a good workout when scaled. This is far from the truth. With the exception of a few genetic freaks, everyone in this gym scaled at one point, it’s how we get better.
It can have the inverse effect and be a motivation killer. If you are a guy and can’t perform the WOD using the prescribed women’s weight it can surely mess with your ego.
What To Do About It
It’s easy to fall into the “RX trap”. That feeling that you need to do it RX or you’re not really working out, or you that you shouldn’t be proud of yourself.
The fact of the matter is that regardless of what the RX is, you should pick weights and scale in such a way that it challenges YOU. Everyone is different, and are at different points in their fitness journey.
Priority number one should be safety (your technique). If you can’t perform a movement/or certain amount weight with good technique then you should scale. Seriously! Priority number two is consistency. Can you maintain good technique for multiple reps? If not you may need to scale. And finally intensity. If you find yourself continually putting down the weight or stopping then you should be scaling. Pick a weight and modification that allows you to stay moving. Your conditioning will greatly improve this way.
Going RX with bad form is only a quick road to injury and no progress, and stopping after every other rep is really counter productive to the entire purpose of metabolic conditioning, don’t be “that guy”.
As I mentioned earlier we get stronger on the Strength/Skill side, and we do our conditioning during the WOD, so don’t look at scaling during the WOD as a missed opportunity to get stronger.
By focusing on lifting heavy every chance you get, working on your goats, and scaling appropriately going RX is most certainly in your future!