Why Rx Is Killing Your Progress

Scaling has always been something to be ashamed of in CrossFit. It’s not uncommon to hear another athlete say, “I had to scale”, when asked how their workout went.

The prescribed weight is just what it is. A general prescribed weight to accomplish a desired stimulus working your metabolic pathways.

There isn’t a one size fits all weight or rep scheme. In fact, on any given day in a class of 12 people I think I could prescribe 6 or so different workouts to help an athlete get fitter.

I’ve tried. People generally don’t listen. They are here to do Rx.

Why is this the case? Here are 3 reasons I have seen:

  1. Ego. Athletes are unwilling to humble down and do what they are capable of. Instead they choose to do Rx and they get crushed. You’ll see this on workouts with a 25 minute time cap and most people are finishing in 17-22 minutes and an athlete working beyond their capabilities gets time capped and still has handfuls of reps left.
  2. Ego. Athletes think they are somewhere they aren’t. It’s not uncommon for people to think they are strong enough, powerful enough, have enough endurance & stamina, and to be fitter than the guy/girl across the room. A healthy dose of self actualization would fit this athlete well.
  3. Ego. Feeling less than others because of having to scale isn’t a good reason to do Rx. If doing a workout Rx makes us feel equal to or better than another athlete and we aren’t getting fitter, we need to look inwardly and deal with what’s really going on.

Scaling workouts to your current ability will get you fitter faster than doing workouts Rx and not finishing them. Getting crushed by weights, rep schemes, and getting time capped is most likely decreasing your fitness capacity and it’s sooner or later going to get you injured.

These 3 things will happen if you scale your workouts and work on progressing over months and years:

  1. You will limit your injuries inside and outside of the gym. Your ligaments, tendons, and muscles need time to adapt to the workouts you are performing. Adding too much weight too soon will get you hurt. It might not happen next month or 6 months from now. It might be a few years down the road. Joint issues typically don’t rear their ugly head for a long time. Don’t live for the here and now. Workout smart so you can do this for the long haul.
  2. You will improve faster than Mr/Mrs. Rx everything. I’d rather you do Fran 21-15-9 unbroken with 65/55lb or 3 rds of 10 thrusters and pull ups than Rxing the workout, dropping the bar 6-9x and resorting to singles on the pull ups out of fatigue. Our goal with scaling is produce the best possible workout for the individual to get as close to the desired stimulus as possible. If you are getting crushed by workouts we aren’t getting you fitter. Athletes that scale and push the intensity get fitter faster. I’d put $500 down on it.
  3. You will leave the gym feeling accomplished. Getting time capped isn’t helping your mental game. Even if you do complete a workout Rx, is getting beat by 7 minutes making you fitter and leaving you feel more accomplished? If so, we need to talk, I can scale you down on your workouts and shave 5 minutes off that workout time in 3 months and I would love to show you how.

I could literally write 20 more pages on this topic and give endless examples as to why scaling is important. When in doubt, scale and push the intensity. You will still get fitter and stronger, trust me. Doing more is really just doin more and doing more isn’t a great strategy.

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