As a CrossFit athlete, choosing the right intensity level for your workouts is crucial for achieving fitness goals and making progress. However, it sometimes becomes difficult to decide which level of intensity is right for you. That is where the terms “RX” and “scaled” come into play.
RX stands for “prescribed,” which refers to performing the workout at the intended intensity with the specified equipment as defined in terms of weights, reps, sets, and movements. In contrast, the scaled workout is a modified version of the workout, tailored to an individual’s specific needs and capabilities. These workouts may involve modified weights, reps, sets, and movements.
Nonetheless, when it comes to determining which will work best for you, should it be RX or scale? You must consider many factors before relying on one and that’s not always an easy decision. To help you decide, this article discusses the differences between RX and scaled workouts and provides tips for determining which intensity level is right for you.
Knowing the differences between RX and scale can help you maximize your CrossFit workouts and make steady progress toward your fitness goals, regardless of whether you’re a seasoned CrossFit veteran or new to the sport.
The importance of choosing the right intensity level for workouts cannot be undervalued. Working out at a too-high intensity can lead to overtraining, injury, and burnout, while working out at a too-low intensity may not provide the desired stimulus for progress.
It is, however, important to find the right balance to ensure that you are able to make progress towards your fitness goals while avoiding unnecessary risks. For that purpose, there are many factors and tips to consider, including:
Your current fitness level is a crucial factor in determining whether you should RX or scale a workout. If you are new to CrossFit or have been inactive for a while, it may be more appropriate to scale the workout to a lower intensity until you build up your strength and endurance. Alternatively, if you have been consistently participating in CrossFit workouts and have a good basis of strength and endurance, you may be ready to attempt the RX version of the workout.
Your fitness goals should also be taken into consideration when deciding whether to RX or scale a workout. If your goal is to improve your strength and power, you may benefit from attempting the RX version of the workout to challenge yourself and stimulate muscle growth. On the other hand, if your goal is to improve your endurance, it may be more appropriate to scale the workout to a lower intensity to allow for a longer duration and less rest.
Your experience with the specific workout movement patterns and intensity of the workout is another important factor to consider. If you are unfamiliar with certain movements or the intensity of your CrossFit workout is significantly higher than what you are used to, it may be more appropriate to scale the workout to a lower intensity until you build up your proficiency and tolerance.
It is vital to be mindful of your limits and not push yourself beyond what you are capable of. However, If you’re not sure whether to RX or scale a workout, it is always safer to scale the workout to a lower intensity. Moreover, it is crucial to listen to your body and pay attention to how it feels during a workout. If you are feeling exhausted or in pain, it is important to scale the workout to a lower intensity or take a break as needed.
Setting achievable goals is crucial to maintaining motivation and making progress in your fitness journey. If you set your objectives too high, you may become discouraged and unmotivated. On the other hand, if you set your goals too low, you may not push yourself hard enough to make progress. It is, therefore, meaningful to find the right balance and set goals that are challenging but achievable.
Familiarizing yourself with the movements and equipment used in a workout is also essential to deciding whether to RX or scale it. If you are unfamiliar with a movement or have limited experience with a particular piece of equipment, it may be more appropriate to scale the workout to a lower intensity.
Regularly evaluating your progress can help you determine whether to RX or scale a workout. If you have consistently been able to complete the prescribed reps and weights, it may be time to increase the intensity by RXing the workout. In contrast, if you have plateaued in your progress, scaling the workout may be necessary in order to continue making progress.
The purpose of a workout can play a role in deciding whether to RX or scale it. For example, if the workout is designed to build strength and muscle mass, RXing may be more beneficial. On the other hand, if the workout is designed to improve cardiovascular endurance, scaling the intensity may be more appropriate.
Recognizing the risk of injury is an important step in ensuring that you stay safe while exercising. If you are unsure about a movement or are not comfortable with a particular exercise, it may be best to scale the workout or substitute the movement with a safer alternative. It is always better to err on the side of caution and prioritize your safety over completing the prescribed intensity.
In addition, it’s a good idea to seek the guidance of a qualified fitness professional, such as a personal trainer or physical therapist, if you have any concerns about your ability to perform certain exercises safely. They can help you modify or substitute exercises as needed to ensure that you can get a great workout while minimizing the risk of injury
The decision of whether to RX or scale a CrossFit workout depends on various factors including current fitness level, fitness goals, experience with movement patterns and intensity, and overall health and safety. It is important to find the right balance of intensity to make progress toward fitness goals while avoiding overtraining, injury, and burnout.
It is recommended to consult with a coach or trainer and seek professional guidance to determine the best intensity level for your workouts. Whether you choose RX or scaled workouts, the key is to listen to your body and set achievable goals to maximize your CrossFit workouts and make continuous improvements toward your fitness goals.