CrossFit Dictionary: “Rx”

By January 5, 2011CFMC Blog Archives

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The letters “Rx” are a shorthand way to write “as prescribed,” which simply means that whoever has those letters next to their time/score on the board did the workout exactly as it was written and did not scale any of the movements.

“Rx” is commonly misunderstood as “using the same weights listed in the workout,” however several other factors go into doing something “Rx’d” than just the amount of weight used. All the standards for that movement must be met on each and every rep in the workout as well, including (but not limited to) range of motion.

For example, using a 20 lb. medicine ball for wallballs does not in and of itself mean you did them “Rx’d.” In order for a wallball rep to count as “Rx’d” you must meet the following criteria:

  • Your hips must reach full squat depth
  • The ball must touch the wall at the 10′ target

If your hips don’t get to full depth, you didn’t do an Rx’d wallball. Likewise, if the ball doesn’t get to 10′, you didn’t do an Rx’d wallball. If the ball goes straight up in the air and comes down without touching the wall, you didn’t do an Rx’d wallball.

This general rule applies to every wallball in every workout, not just the ones you have enough energy to do right. If you’re doing “Karen” and you do the first 149 wallballs perfectly but don’t get to a full-depth squat on the 150th, then you have NOT done 150 wallballs. This principle does not change regardless of how tired you are. If you do 149 perfect wallballs and do a half-squat on the last one or just make the ball go to 9′ because you’re tired, then you have, in effect, scaled the workout and you don’t deserve an “Rx.” Do the rep again, but this time meet all the criteria for a wallball, and you will earn an Rx.

Another common one I see is with pushups. I don’t care how tired you are, if your chest doesn’t go all the way to the ground at the bottom and your arms don’t come to a complete lockout at the top while maintaining your body in a perfect plank throughout the movement, then you didn’t do a pushup. And if you count any of those crap-reps as pushups, then you don’t get an “Rx” for that WOD.

Not coming to full hip extension at the top of a box jump, not getting your chin all the way over the bar on pullups, not locking out your elbows on a shoulder press, not jumping and clapping with your hands over your head on burpees, not racking the bar fully on power cleans…these are all examples of stuff that simply doesn’t count.

The remedy for this is simple – do the movement all the way, every time, every rep, in every WOD. If you run out of gas and fail on a rep, don’t count it. Only count the ones that count, not the ones that are “close enough because I don’t feel like doing any more.” Hold yourself to the highest standard, and you’ll reap all the rewards that go along with it.

For another (similar) take on this same topic, check out “Rx’d Doesn’t Mean Sh*t” from CrossFit Mission Gorge.