Wednesday 150513

As many rounds as possible in 12 minutes of:
7 Hang power snatch, 95#(65#)
14 Box jumps, 24″(20″)
21 Double unders

Post rounds to comments and BTWB

The couple that rows together, stays together. Vanessa and Kenny spending an hour on the rower in support of the #RowForRoby Fundraiser.

The couple that rows together, stays together. Vanessa and Kenny spending an hour on the rower in support of the #RowForRoby Fundraiser.


Was it RX or was it not RX, that is the question. By Courtney “you may not like the answer” Shepherd

Several weeks ago a workout was posted involving rowing for calories and chest to bar pull-ups. When the workout finished, as athletes were cooling down and shouting out their scores, the trainer writing those scores on the whiteboard asked 1 particular athlete, “was that RX?”. The athlete responded back, “maybe”. I heard this exchange take place and was immediately prompted to ask the athlete, “what do you mean by “maybe”?”. Seriously, what does that mean? It either was or it wasn’t RX, there really isn’t room for a maybe. Here is the remainder of the conversation between myself and the athlete:

Athlete: Well it depends on what you guys count as RX.
Me: Did you do the calorie row and chest to bar pull-ups?
Athlete: Yes, but I don’t know if you count the ones where you told me to get my chest to the bar.
Me: Did you touch your chest to the bar 10 times every round as the workout called for?
Athlete: Well some of them didn’t quite touch.
Me: Okay. Well when your chest didn’t quite touch, did you call that a no rep and work to re-do the rep until your chest touched. . . or did you still count it as one of your “chest to bar” pull-ups and continue on?
Athlete: I just kept going.
Me: Then no. You did not do the workout RX.

This is a concept that can be hard for some of us, especially those of us that perhaps do not compete outside of the walls of Verve and may not truly understand the idea of a non counting repetition, a.k.a. the “no rep”. When we are in the middle of a workout, when we are pouring our heart and soul into moving as fast as we can, just trying to finish in a certain time, and we throw a medicine ball up in the air towards the wall but it doesn’t quite hit the 10 foot mark, it hits just below the 10 foot mark, we continue moving as though it did. We put the work in and we want to give ourselves credit for that work. When asked, we then call that RX work. The problem is, that’s not RX work. It’s really just RX effort. And to be even more blunt, there is no such thing as RX effort.

Let’s talk about a “good rep” vs. a “no rep”. Every movement we perform has a range of motion standard. Wallballs hit 10 feet or higher, toes physically touch the bar, push jerks end after we have stood up all the way and then bring the bar back to the shoulders. These range of motion standards are not random or made up on the fly. These range of motions come from putting our joints through their full ranges of motion as well as achieving the ultimate goal of the movement. The standards are addressed during warm-ups when we review the movements. These standards are constantly re-enforced throughout the workout in the form of coaching, cueing, and correcting from the trainers. If we complete the movement, through it’s full range of motion standard, then that my friends is a good rep. If we do not do the movement to the movement standard, then that is a no rep.

I don’t squat below parallel, it’s a no rep. My chin does not get over the bar in a pull-up, it’s a no rep. My chest does not touch the ground in a push-up, that’s a no rep. The workout calls for a squat snatch and I do a power snatch. . . that is a no rep. I’m certain you get the point.

Well, what do I do with a no rep? You don’t count it towards your collection of reps. If the workout calls for 10 toes to bar per round, during one of the rounds you get tired and on rep #5 your toes don’t touch the bar, you are still at 4 reps. Even if your toes are close, you did like 98% of the toes to bar, it still is not a good rep. We want a 100% toes to bar. You rest, you get back up on the bar, you start swinging, and you complete rep #5 the next time your toes touch.

Here’s the crux of the situation. . . you can count that “close enough but not quite there” toes to bar as a rep towards your total rep count but you can’t call that RX. In fact, perhaps that was a scale for the workout, to get your toes as high as you can without worrying about touching the bar. Cool. Keep on keeping on. We can change a lot of things when we scale workouts, weight, distance, reps, rounds, and even sometimes but not nearly as often, range of motion. And when we scale or modify, we already know we have taken that good old “RX” off the table. Well, how do I get it back on the table? If we complete every repetition called for of each movement, through the movement’s full range of motion standard, at the prescribed weight, height, distance, etc., then that my friends is how we RX a workout.

I will give a personal example. A recent WOD called for handstand push-ups in increasing degree of difficulty and 30 pull-ups per round. I am new to doing butterfly pull-ups in a workout and I chose this opportunity to work on them. Now I am very certain, if someone is not watching me, verifying my range of motion on my butterfly pull-ups, that many of them do not meet the range of motion standard. I did 30 butterfly pull-ups per round but because I’m not really good at telling which ones counted and which ones did not, I did not worry about it. I did not worry about no repping myself, I just focused on moving and working technique. I did all the HSPUs RXed and when the coach asked me if it was an RX workout, I said no. It was a great workout for me. I got to work on a skill and do some pretty hard HSPUs but that was not RX work. And I am okay with that. It is easy to get caught up in doing a WOD RX. We want those RXs as much as we want muscle-ups. But it’s okay to take a step back and just focus on whether or not we got a really good workout in and call it that.

Here’s the deal, it is not my job to watch all of your reps and count all of your reps. I can’t do that for every person in class. Which is why we ask you, at the end of the workout, “was that RX?”. Now it’s easy for someone to count their RX effort as RX work and get that RX by their name without fully earning it. You won’t get struck down by lightning where you stand. Here is the down side to giving yourself credit where credit is not due. . . you don’t actually know what it takes to get that work done. If you have to do 10 chest to bar pull-ups and your chest only really touches 7 out of 10 times and you still count them. . . you and your body have not built up a capacity to do 10 chest to bar pull-ups. Strength and endurance wise, you still do not know physically what it takes to do 10 chest to bar pull-ups. That’s it. In a nutshell, you only cheat yourself and cheat your progress. 

The moral of the story is this, it either is RX or it is not RX. If you get asked and your first response is to say maybe. . . the actual answer is no. But I would put money down you still got one butt kicker of a workout in. 

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