To go RX or not to go RX

Workout of the day for Friday 02/22/13:

*Friday is Athletes choice! Choose a WOD you missed earlier in the week or pick a benchmark WOD and get after it!

Complete as many rounds as possible in 45 minutes of:
Run 800 meters
80 Squats
8 Muscle-ups

U.S. Army Captain John D. Hortman, 30, of Inman, South Carolina, assigned to the 1st Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, based in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, died on August 8, 2011, in Fort Benning, Georgia, in a helicopter accident during a military training exercise. He is survived by his mother, Brenda Jones, sister Jill Hortman, and brother, Andy Pierce.


To go RX or not to go RX

By: Coach Joey W.


The question of whether or not to go RX on a workout is a question that many athletes ponder, especially those who do not hit RX on a regular basis.

Athletes sometimes feel that they have failed when they cant meet the RX standard, this is not the case.  Lets look at the graphic below.  The graphic WOD from 02/13/2013 minus the run.  For the purposes of this demonstration the run doesn’t factor into the equation.

One of the goals we have for you as Athletes is to increase your power output.  The first step in increasing power output is to understand how it works.  This is where is gets a little nerdy so stay with me.

Power is a simple equation Load or Force multiplied by Distance divided by Time

The distance used below is an estimate of how far the bar travels during a Thruster from its lowest point to locked out over head.

So 15 reps @ 135 in 60 seconds produces 135 units of power.  If you drop the weight to 115 but complete it 15 seconds faster your power output has increased to 153.3 units of power.


So as you can clearly see, you can increase your actual power output by lowering the weight and going faster.  Does that answer the question about whether or not you should go RX or not?  No, I am afraid it does not and Ill tell you why.  We want you to increase your work capacity over broad time and modal domains.  This means we want you to do short workouts, long workouts, light weight, heavy weight and everything in between.   What it can give you is a piece of mind that just because you are not doing RX weight, does not mean you are not getting a good workout and producing power.  So ask your coach what the goal of the workout is, they will tell you if they would prefer you to go RX and go a little slower, or to drop the weight and go for speed.

One last item I want to point out in the graphic is the 3rd section.  This section demonstrates RX weight with increased speed.  Look at how much your power increases by dropping only 15 seconds off of each round.  If you can train yourself to hit bigger sets, not walk away from your bar when you set it down, or not take as long as a break before you move again, you can seriously increase your overall power output and thus raise your fitness level.  All it takes is shaving a second or two here and there.

So now the question of the day is; Do you feel better about yourself and the work you did by hitting the workout RX and being a little slower, or dropping the weight and finishing it faster?

Comments 15

  1. Dropping weight and finishing faster!!! I feel way BETTER w/ this method of WOD’s for me! Each week I feel more athletic and tighter/lean following this style program. PR’s are the least of my priorities! I’m trying to be ripp’d and FLEX at 45!!! Haha!!! (I ain’t gonna lie)

  2. I’ll be the first one to admit some of the RX weights for certain movements are definitely intimidating especially for new athletes. Despite that, I always feel a sense of accomplishment hitting RX weight even if it will be a slower time. However, speed and or weight should never come before right form. It’s a fine line to walk on. Cannot get too comfortable and use form as an excuse out of fear attempting heavier and or harder movements.

  3. I went with the Rx weight today and felt really discouraged even though I completed the workout in the time alotted. The next time around I will choose to go with a lighter weight so that I can maximize range of motion, employ proper form/technique, and increase power output. I felt really discouraged today because I got through the workout but felt like I cheated myself by not being able to follow through on all the movements with proper form/technique due to going with the heavier Rx weight. This graphic is really helpful. Thank you so much, Jesse and Justin, for the thoughtful attention to detail and the level of intensity you train us!!! Best trainers in Roseville if you ask me.

  4. Although math hurts my head, great post Joey! This article helps pull in my focus; don’t worry about the weight, worry about not stopping. Something to think about, your cardio comes from not taking a break, we break because we are trying to move as much weight as rich froning, the comparison would be every time I play basketball I dunk like lebron james. Point being, be the best you, you can be!

  5. I’ve only been able to say “Rx” two times so it’s definitely still novelty for me:)
    It’s nice seeing in writing that we are still generating great power without the Rx weight!

  6. Love the post Joey! Very interesting graphics too. Always struggled on how I could explain the why behind going with the Rx weight to a lot of my friends outside of the box. They have the ability to do it but a lot of them get discouraged with their times. I do agree with Hoy though too…if you are not getting ROM and technique dialed then you are cheating yourself and possible putting yourself in a dangerous position.

  7. Great post Joey!! I don’t do RX everyday, but when I do I am happy!! I am always cautious of the weight though because I don’t want get injured and be unable to workout!!

  8. I will admit that I feel bummed when I can’t do something Rx. I feel like if its on the board, I should be able to do it. Not because I am there yet, but because I want to be. With that said, I have been paying more attention to my body and have decided I am going to drop some weight so I can get better at form for several things, and will likely see myself getting closer to Rx in the future.

    Joey, this post makes me feel better…thank you!!!!

  9. Awesome post Joey! For myself, when I do not go RX, I tend to be hard (bummed, dissapointed) in myself.
    This puts into perspective that it’s okay to not always go RX. It’s okay not to be Wonder Woman/ She-Hulk all the time.

    Thank you!

  10. Oh my gosh I can’t even describe to you the difference that I feel when I do Rx vs not! Sometimes it’s a battle over my mind when I’d much rather drop weight and get the workout done faster…but it’s totally worth it!!! I honestly regret times when I don’t do Rx (but I also just have to accept that there are times when I cannot do Rx and I still just need to do my best!)
    Woo go after that Rx CFRV!!!

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