A New Scoring System for CrossFit: Scaled, Rx, and…ALJ?!?

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Defining “Rx’d”

A New Scoring System for CrossFit: Scaled, Rx, and…ALJ?!?

“As Rx’d.” You know what it means. “As prescribed,” per CrossFit Kinnick, “means that we completed the workout as written, with no scaling or modifications, with full range of motion (ROM).” They go on to add:

Perform your movements according to the standards and earn your prescribed status 100%. Let there never be any question that you played a good, clean game.
[M]arking a workout performance “as Rx’d” is something special. It means something. It means that you are a pretty solid athlete. It means you did all of the prescribed reps, with no substitutions or scaling. If you substitute an exercise, or scale the workout somehow, it is NOT “as Rx’d”. It also means that you demonstrated solid form throughout the effort.

Some of your very last reps might not have been absolutely perfect and beautiful, but 97% of them should be. It means that your ROM was complete on EVERY rep. In order to do a WOD as Rx’d, you must redo reps that were not complete. I know its hard to go all the way down to floor on each push-up, especially towards the end of a workout. But if you don’t, you didn’t do it Rx’d, period.

Remember that CrossFit is the sport of fitness, and sports have rules and standards. Triangle CrossFit summarizes it well:

[J]ust like the sport of basketball, baseball, etc., there are standards associated with the game. A strike is a strike. The ball through the hoop, not the ball hitting the backboard, gets you two points.

Perform your movements according to the standards and earn your prescribed status 100%. Let there never be any question that you played a good, clean game.

Being Smart Before Going “Rx”

Be smart!

Certainly you should care about the rules and integrity of the sport as practiced in your box. But you also put your health and longevity as an athlete in jeopardy if you push too hard to a do a workout Rx’d when you should not, as CrossFit Hollywood explains:

[M]ost injuries are caused by your own overtension and technique faults rep after rep after rep. It likely wasn’t the 1RM bench press attempt that tweaked your shoulder, it was the months prior of lifting with poor form. And looking back, you probably know it.
Like that rough bumpy part of the road that wakes you up before you drive off the highway, most injuries will give you warning signs before the final straw. Learn to pay attention to those signs and heed them.

… [T]he “Rx” weight is kind of misnamed. It is merely a suggestion. The prescription for a workout is whatever is suitable for you on that given day at that given time. It’s not imperative that you thrustered 135 pounds a week ago. Maybe last night you didn’t get much sleep. Or maybe you’ve been in your car all day and your hips are tight. Or any other reason you may not be operating at 100% today. If a 95-pound bar is your Rx TODAY, so be it.

Is it worth sitting on the sidelines for two months while your shoulder heals from bursitis because you wanted a star next to your name on the whiteboard? Do you think you’ll get any less of a workout if you scale down to ensure proper form and protect a nagging joint?

Read our article on “Scaling with a Purpose” for more on this topic.

Not Quite Rx’d = “A Lil’ Janky”

Not quite RX'd

So what is the solution? Freddy Camacho of CrossFit One World has come up with an updated scoring system for their whiteboard results to reflect the middle ground between “scaled” and “Rx’d”:

[T]he “Rx” weight is kind of misnamed. It is merely a suggestion. The prescription for a workout is whatever is suitable for you on that given day at that given time.
[W]e still see people miss lots of reps and the first thing they say when we write their result on the whiteboard is “I did it as RX!”

I don’t really make a big deal about it. I came from a bodybuilding background. I relate people thinking that they do workouts “as RX’d” to those guys who were spotting me on a bench press and telling me, “It’s all you!!!” We tend to turn a blind eye to the truth so we don’t discourage valiant efforts. I love it when peeps work their ass off and get excited about accomplishing something they didn’t think they could do. BUT…….

THE KING HAS NO CLOTHES!!! Let’s call a spade a spade, but encourage hard work. We write “RX” next to performances that meet the criteria for RX’d. We don’t write anything next to a performance that is scaled. I propose a third measurement. I used it the other night when a person doing the 150 push-up/shuttle run workout had more than a few reps that were definitely not legit. When he told me his time, I wrote “A LIL’ JANKY.” He was cool with it, and we both laughed.

Over the long term, by reserving the term “Rx” for truly Rx-worthy efforts, you will hold yourself to a higher standard and you will see the best gains.
“ALJ”- You used the RX’d weight, and you did the required amount of reps, but in all honestly, it wasn’t quite RX’d. Good work. You need to work harder and get stronger. Your result was ALJ, but you will work harder and do it RX’d next time.

A lil’ janky. Love it.

Over the long term, by reserving the term “Rx” for truly Rx-worthy efforts, you will hold yourself to a higher standard and you will see the best gains. But enjoy the journey and start celebrating your progress along the way from scaled to Rx’d by using Freddy‘s intermediate designation of “ALJ” on the whiteboard in your box!

Don't be afraid of doing your workout ALJ!

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