Coaches Corner with Hroch: When RX (or RX+) isn’t sexy.
Listen, I get it. Those two little letters are enticing.
The weight is heavier, the skills are more technical, and you get that validation of walking up to the kiosk, finding your name, and ticking that tiny RX or RX+ circle next to your name. You click save, and you immediately ascend to the top of the leaderboard soaring past all other athletes — prescribed or otherwise.
But RX/RX+ is like a drug, and as we well know, addictions aren’t good for us…
The truth is, most people shouldn’t do RX, let alone RX+. And yes, even our coaches. Here are 3 things I want you to consider next time you’re thinking about doing RX or RX+.
Every workout has an intended stimulus. Some workouts are intended to push you to lift heavy weights requiring short bursts of strength and power, some require sustaining a high level of intensity (aka spiked heart rate) for 10-20 minutes to build stamina and endurance, and others are a long, slow grind to help you train volume and longevity.
When considering how to scale a workout, you need to understand the intended stimulus. If the workout is intended to be done at a high intensity, but the weight you are doing makes you stand over the bar for 30-60 seconds then you probably aren’t scaling appropriately, and you probably aren’t maximizing your workout.
Similar to the intended stimulus, you need to ask yourself, “how proficient am I at these prescribed movements?” If the workout requires a high number of double unders performed quickly, and you can only string together 3-5 at a time, then it’s probably best to scale and visit us at open gym to work on those. During most CrossFit workouts is not the time to hone your skills, as skill building is something we want to be performed at a slow, controlled pace — with thoughtful mechanics.
And guess what? Doing RX+ weight but scaling the gymnastics portion does not equal an RX+ score. If you want to take the credit, you must do the work. All of the work.
Do as we say, and as we do
To err is human. But to blatantly ignore your coach’s instruction is, well, thoughtless.
As a staff, we have had the privilege of watching and coaching most of you for months, and for some, years. So needless to say, we have a pretty good grip on your capabilities and limitations. If one of our coaches recommends you scale the weight or suggests RX+ will not help you achieve the intended stimulus of a workout, it’s because we care, not because we don’t think you’re capable. It’s not our job to feed your ego and fist-bump your inner bro. It’s our job to make sure you’re moving safely, efficiently, and to make sure you’re achieving the intended stimulus of the workout; to help you get better as an athlete.
My point of all this is: ain’t no shame in the scaling game.
As a gym, we scale load and intensity to achieve the intended stimulus of what’s programmed. Try to consider this for every workout we do and be willing to scale as-needed to maximize the work you put in day in and day out. We’ll be here to help you, every WOD of the way.