What Does ‘RX’ Mean In CrossFit? (Explained)

CrossFit is a high-intensity style training approach that has soared in popularity over recent years, and continues to attract more followers hoping to achieve a high state of fitness. It combines several diverse elements, namely cardiovascular exercise, weightlifting, and gymnastics. All these disciplines come together to provide a quite diverse and challenging workout for a person, even if you’re already in pretty good condition.

When someone asks you, “What does RX mean in CrossFit?”, you can respond the following way:

“RX” means conducting a workout exactly as requested by a coach or mentor. It is considered to be something of a gold standard in CrossFit workouts because it is recommended by someone who theoretically is familiar with your abilities and level of fitness.

In this article, we’ll explain the exact meaning of scaled, RX, and share the typical RX weights for most popular CrossFit Workouts. Keep reading!

What Does RX Mean In CrossFit?

RX is of course, the physician’s symbol for ‘prescription’, and that is the connection with CrossFit, since a demanding workout will have been prescribed or recommended by a coach or trainer. So that is the origin of the phrase commonly used by individuals performing these kinds of intense workouts.

To complete an RX, it means you will have accomplished the following:

  • Performed the number of reps recommended by your trainer
  • Completed all movements up to the highest level possible
  • All weights were lifted at the prescribed height and weight.

If it turns out that you can’t complete a CrossFit workout as prescribed by an RX from your coach, you would have to scale down the workout to fit your current capabilities. This is known as ‘scaling’

So, What Does It Mean To RX A WOD?

RX means to do as prescribed, and a WOD is a ‘Workout Of the Day’ so to RX a WOD is simply to do the day’s workout as it was designed/intended.

Most CrossFit classes will start with some mobility work, then maybe spend 20-30 minutes on strength, technique or gymnastics, before ending with the WOD – a high intensity routine usually measured for reps or time.

So, during a CrossFit class, you’d only really ‘RX’ this latter part of the session.

What Does Scaled Mean?

Another term you would hear when associating with these workout enthusiasts is ‘scaling a WOD’. Each CrossFit session will typically last an hour, and if it becomes obvious that you won’t be able to complete the RX for your session, you would have to scale the WOD down in order to match your level of fitness and your present ability level.

This is actually one of the real appeals of CrossFit workouts, because they were originally designed to be scalable. That allows for workout enthusiasts of all different ability levels to participate, and to gradually increase the level of fitness. In this way, you can work your way up to a fully RX’ed workout.

What Are The Different Levels Of Scaling?

on functional CrossFit movements, for instance pull-ups, hang-cleans, squats, and lunges, and that’s what makes them more intense than the average workout. Keep in mind that a CrossFit workout that has been RX’ed means it will be the most challenging type of workout possible for a given individual, because it will be at the highest level of CrossFit exercise.

Often (but not always) coaches present 3 tiers of scaling options, such as ‘Alpha, Beta, Gamma’ or ‘Gold, Silver, Bronze’.

These can be used as a frame of reference but don’t need to be followed exactly. For example, if the scaled weight for an exercise is 25lb, you can pick a heavier or lighter weight that best suits your current fitness level.

How to scale a WOD

For this reason, there are several different types of scaling that might be undertaken. Here are several ways you can scale back the WOD:

  • make the weights lighter when lifting
  • modify the specific movements so as to make them more do-able for the individual attempting them
  • reduce the number of reps
  • allow more time for the completion of each repetition
  • shorten the workout time to less than an hour

It is also possible to scale the WOD up, and in this case, you might add more weight to your lifting program, you might shorten the time between reps, or you might add extra reps to your workout routine. This would be at an advanced stage of fitness and will be even more challenging than the program originally RX’ed.

Typical RX weights in CrossFit training

The kettlebell is the standard weight used in CrossFit training, and the weights used are often measured in ‘poods’, which is a Russian term equating to about 36 pounds. So, two poods would constitute a weight of approximately 72 pounds for Americans. The kettlebell became very popular in Russia during the 1800’s and that accounts for the Russian term sticking to its usage. Here is a table illustrating typical CrossFit weight workouts.

ExerciseLow-end weightHigh-end weight
Front squats, power cleans65/95 pounds115/185 pounds
Push press, push jerk45/6595/135
Thrusters, snatches45/6595/135
Overhead squats, lunges45/6595/135
Clean and jerk65/95115/185

How To Get To RX Level (5 Tips To RX a WOD)

So, you might be wondering how it is that you actually get to the RX level of CrossFit training. Here are some recommendations to help you build up to that level:

1. The Newbie Stage

It’s all new during the newbie phase, and you’re anxious to learn everything and get going with your fitness program. Take it slow in the beginning to avoid injury, and be open to attempting new exercises and feeling all new soreness and strains.

2. Scale as needed

Don’t be ashamed to scale back your CrossFit workouts, since no one starts out at RX level. Take each workout at a level you can accomplish, and gradually scale them upward.

3. Increase the challenge

as your muscles begin to get stronger, you’ll be able to add more weight, spend more time on your reps, and shorten your recovery time.

4. Consult the experts

Ask advice from the CrossFit expert in your gym, so you can safely build up to RX level without injuring yourself.

5. Allow recovery time

When you do sustain any kind of injury from your workouts, allow your muscles time to recover. Failing to do this might worsen the injury and delay your progress toward RX workouts.


With so many people becoming health-conscious and fitness-conscious these days, it’s not surprising that CrossFit training has become so popular. Since it demands a high level of effort and commitment, it requires you to get the most out of each and every workout. It can be very rewarding as you note your progress toward RX workouts, and when you get there, it will be a source of real self-accomplishment. For many of the followers of CrossFit training, it has actually become a way of life, and a path they intend to follow indefinitely.

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