Let’s face it, we all love to get to the whiteboard after a gnarly WOD and write a bold “RX” next to our score; however, if the majority of people are coming in 8:00 before you, maybe you should have scaled that WOD down.
Here are 5 things to consider to go as “RX”
Can you perform the movements on the board with the prescribed weight as your coach
demonstrated before the WOD? Do your warm up lifts with a PVC or empty bar look identical to the weight you will be using for the workout? If you can not answer YES, to both of these questions, you should think about scaling the movement and/or weight prescribed.
2. Consistency of Mechanics
Can you perform the movements (and loads prescribed) as described and demonstrated consistently? Your response should not be: “well I can kinda, sorta, some of the time." It needs to be ALL the time.
3. Full Range of Motion (fROM)
Can you perform the RX movements with fROM? Let’s use a hand stand push-up (HSPU) as an example. Many can stack a white mat under an Ab Mat and perform a “HSPU”. However, with the
height that is created with the double mat, we are losing 3-6 inches of range of motion. If
this were a back squat, you wouldn’t think to keep a heavy weight and stay 3-6 inches above
parallel, so why do it with HSPU? A better option would be to scale to a heavy strict press, box or pike
HSPU and maintain full range of motion, while building the strength to get down to no mats.
Can you reach the target intensity (time or reps) of the WOD? Yes, great, if not scaling is
necessary to achieve that goal of keeping the intensity high. Scaling applies for ALL
movements, Metabolic (running, rowing), Weight Lifting (Anything with added weight), and
Gymnastics (Body weight only).
Here’s an example from the workout on Aug 23: 21-15-9 of Deadlifts @225 and a 400m Run.
This WOD was designed with the intent of finishing in 8-10 minutes or less. In order to do this, this
deadlift weight should be something you could do unbroken, and your 400m time should be in
the 1:40-1:50 range. If the RX deadlift weight is more than roughly 60% or less of your 1RM,
you should scale it down, and the SAME THING applies to the 400m run. If you ever have a
question about the target time or reps for a WOD, ask your coach, we would be glad to
share insight, and help.
5. 1-Rep Max Strength to WOD weight
Yes, you may be able to lift that weight on the board, but can you lift it “X” times with the
consistent mechanics discussed above, while maintaining the target intensity?
Let’s use the WOD we did on Aug 15, “DT”, which was 5 Rounds: 12 Deadlifts, 9 Hang Power Cleans,
6 Push Jerks, RX weight 155/105.
Some of you, while warming up, lift this weight a couple times and say “Yes, I can lift that.” and the WOD starts. Round 3 comes, forearms begin to burn, shoulders are feeling different and “UH OH, this is getting heavy?” Instead of looking at a weight for one rep, you should be looking at the entirety of the work to be done. Can you do 60 Deadlifts, 45 Hang Power Cleans and 30 Push Jerks at that weight? The weight for
this WOD should be roughly less than ~60%. Not only doing ALL of the work at that weight,
can you (going back to point #4) stay within the target time for the WOD, less than 10 minutes?
Here is a table to determine if you should scale weights or not:
Number of TOTAL reps | % of Max for that lift.
5 or less ~80% +
15+ Less than ~60%
***Please note this table is a GENERAL guideline and not concrete***
At the end of the day, although having an “RX” next to your time may feel good for that moment, being left breathing hard and dripping sweat from scaling accordingly and hitting a target time domain will leave you much better off in the long run. To quote CrossFit founder and CEO, Greg Glassman, “The secret to the results is to go faster”.