crossfit rx

What Does CrossFit Rx Really Mean?

Posted on 15. Jul, 2013 by in Workouts

In my time coaching and programming in several different CrossFit boxes, I’ve noticed there is some confusion surrounding the CrossFit RX standard and what it means to each and every individual CrossFitter.

This confusion, can drastically change the experience of CrossFit for each person.

There are definitely Pros and Cons to the majestic CrossFit RX standard, but I want to help you get into the mind of your CrossFit coach so that you can best use RX to better your WODS.

When people view the RX in the right way, it can help accelerate them towards their goals.  In contrast, if too much emphasis is placed on the RX, it will usually lead to injury or failing to reach your full potential.

In this series of 3 blog posts, I’m going to walk you through 3 BIG misconceptions about the RX and hopefully give you actionable advice to make your WODs tomorrow that much better. If you’d like to visit our box and check out our daily WODs –>

First of all, What is RX?

RX is used in CrossFit WODs (Workout of the Day) to prescribe recommended weights or standards for what is typically your best athletes in the class.  Above all it should be a POINT OF REFERENCE to make the process of choosing your weights easier.


The Misconception (#1) – The RX weight/standard is what my coach WANTS me to do. 

The Truth – Your coach wants you to choose the appropriate weight for YOU for TODAY.

In most cases, this will mean choosing a weight or standard that is below the RX one.  The reason is that most RX standards are not designed for your average CrossFitter, they are designed for the elite athletes who usually already have a couple years of CrossFit experience.

When we program the workouts for each week, we set our RX standards to target the top 5-10% of our athletes.  Due to the infinitely scalable nature of CrossFit, this allows for all other members to scale the workout to some degree, based on their strengths and weaknesses.

Put another way, we expect 90% or more of our members to scale most of our WODs to some degree. 


As you approach each WOD, your weight selection will not only vary by your own abilities and limits, but should also vary day-to-day as many other factors come into play.

Before you start setting up the weights for your next WOD, consider some of these factors.

What is my current one rep max for this movement?

How many total reps of this movement will I likely have to perform over the entire course of this WOD?

How did I perform the last time this movement was programmed in a WOD?

Can I maintain good form for all the prescribed reps at X weight or standard?

Am I able to perform full range of motion for this particular movement?

Do I have any flexibility issues that will put me at a higher risk for injuries for this movement?

Do I have any nagging pains or injuries I should take it easy on? 

How has my sleep, stress, nutrition, and hyrdration been today and the last few days?

You should be considering most of these factors every day you step in the box and set up for each WOD.

Always try to look beyond just your 1-rep max for a particular movement.  It’s a good place to start, but it’s just another point of reference to help you make an informed decision.  It’s not as simple as saying your max push press is 135 lbs, so you should be able to handle an RX weight of 115 lbs.  Not only that, but the weight you choose may vary from day to day, even when the factors of the WOD are the same.

It’s okay to have days that don’t push the limits of your intensity, especially when form, range of motion, and fatigue are at play.

It’s also okay to be fast every once in a while.  If you’re constantly finishing near the bottom of the pack in each WOD, it’s probably a better indication that you are going too hard or too heavy, then it is an indication of your ability levels.  Remember, choosing heavy weights is only one aspect of intensity.


“Shut up body, I’m doing RX!”

There’s a time to listen to your body and a time to tell your body to shut up.  If you spend every WOD telling your body to shut up, your body will eventually bite back in a big way, usually in the form of a major injury.

To be honest, your coach isn’t all that caught up in whether or not you RX.  What your coach wants is for you to complete each workout, perform all movements correctly with full range of motion, remain injury free, and accomplish your goals.

Your coach is there to help you any way that he or she can. If you ask them to choose a weight for you, they will do their best to provide you with another point of reference to go off of.  It will still come down to you actually trying the weight first to see how it feels.

It’s a great idea to ask your coach to watch you perform a couple reps at a given weight to see if it will work for you in the WOD.

By utilizing your coaches before the WOD to correct errors and spot inefficiencies, the only thing left to worry about once we say “3-2-1 GO” is pushing yourself to the best of your abilities.

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