Love Letter - Chase Stimulus not RX

Josh Melendez
December 16, 2022
Love Letter - Chase Stimulus not RX

You are all capable of RX’ing every single workout but that doesn’t mean you should. Obtaining the stimulus of the workout is more important. Obtaining the stimulus of the workout is what would lead to you becoming healthier and fitter.

I want to clarify, I am not against RX. If you can do every single workout RX and meet the stimulus at the same time, then awesome! If your personal goal is to be able to eventually do every single workout RX then I completely support you and all of the coaches are here to help you get there. The best way to meet that goal and eventually be able to do all workouts RX is to match the stimulus where you currently are. Matching the stimulus of the workout means you are moving with great intensity which means your power output is great.

The formula for power is force (or load) times distance divided by time. With time being the denominator, we want to be moving fast (faster time) because that will give higher power output. So what do you do to ensure you can move with intensity, you modify. Modifying is not saying you are not able to do the weight on the barbell or the certain gymnastic movement or be able to run a certain distance. Modifying means you know where you currently stand as an athlete and in order to move with great intensity and match the stimulus of the workout, you have to modify. Doing this will lead to you becoming a better athlete because you move with better technique and you’ll elicit a greater neurological response.

Let’s take the famous CrossFit workout of “Fran” which is 21-15-9 thrusters (95/65) and pull ups as an example. The intended stimulus of this workout is 3-5 minutes long. In order to meet that, you should be able to go unbroken on the first set of 21 thrusters and unbroken on the 21 pull ups or just one break so 11-10. For the 15s, during the thrusters you break once and during the pull ups you break one or two times. For the 9s, thrusters are unbroken and pull ups are unbroken or one break in the middle. Following this game plan, you will match the overall stimulus of the 3-5 minute timeframe.

I can tell you that when I first did Fran 4 years ago, it took me just over 10 minutes to finish because I RX’d. I look back and realize I completely missed the stimulus and turned Fran into a different workout. Fran is not meant to be a grinder, it’s super fast, and I turned into a grinder. Had I modified the weight on the barbell and pull-ups to jumping pull ups or ring rows, I would have met the overall stimulus. Hence, I would have received a greater workout because my intensity level would have been greater.

Once you move with great intensity all the time in your current modifications, that’s when you start to add a little more to it. Whether that’s more weight or distance to the run or complexity of the gymnastic movement or reps. You can add a little more because mentally and physically you can handle it. That is how you start to move closer to RX if that is goal.



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