The Open, Part 4: Scaled or Rx? – by Coach Fedde

The first workout for the Open will be released next week. Anticipation is building for what Dave Castro has in store for us.

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What’s my choice?

For each workout, you will be able to decide if you want to complete it following the Rx standards or the Scaled standards. Rx tends to involve heavier weights and more advanced skills and Scaled involves lighter weights and more straightforward movements.

You do not have to commit to Rx for all Open workouts or Scaled for all Open workouts. But you do have to commit to one standard for all of the movements within an individual workout.

How do I know which one I should choose?

Rx means challenging but Scaled does not mean easy. All versions of the Open are challenging. All versions will test your fitness. No matter the version, if you work hard, you’re guaranteed to get a grueling workout in.

Some know going in – “Rx, here I come!” or “Scaled, all the way baby!” But if you’re on the cusp, here are a few things to consider:

Weight and/or movement – Do you have the strength and skill to complete multiple reps of each weight/movement in Rx?
Stimulus – Will you be able to move through the Rx workout or will you get stuck on a weight/movement?
Pride – How important is the Rx distinction to you?

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One side of the coin – the scoreboard

It may seem an obvious limiter if you know you cannot complete a certain weight or movement in a workout as written. However, some Open workouts contain heavier weights or more difficult movements halfway through or near the end of a workout. In fact, sometimes the workouts are built so that most people will not reach the end unless you are very proficient in the earlier weights/movements. Therefore, you may be able to get through most of the work without worrying about the harder stuff later on.

With the hype and energetic atmosphere of the Open workouts, some people find they can do more than they thought they could. The Open is a time when many athletes get that first muscle-up or hit a snatch PR – which can be an awesome feeling to share with your judge and other gym members cheering you on!

A sticking point for some may be the pride of completing Rx. From a scoreboard perspective, one single rep of Rx will always beat 10,000,000+ reps of scaled. For that reason alone, some people would rather complete only a few reps of an Rx workout in order to place higher on the Open scoreboard. It’s not going to be a good workout… but you’ll get a better placement.

The other side of the coin – your experience

Before getting caught up in scores, reps, weights, and times, ask yourself, what do you want to get out of your Open experience?

If you choose an Rx workout that is slightly above your ability, will you be content with making continuous failed attempts at a weight or movement you know you cannot do?

For some this is fine and they enjoy the challenge. Others may feel dejected and frustrated. We never want you to feel dejected and frustrated during any workout, Open or not.


For most, Open workouts are one-and-done events. If you push yourself hard enough, you might not want to ever do the workout again. But, here’s the cool thing about having multiple days to complete the workout and submit a score – you can do the workout as many times as you want. So, if you lock in a great time on a workout under the Scaled standards and want to go for Rx, give yourself a rest day and then come in during open gym and give Rx a shot.

What if I am unable to complete either version?

Injury, illness, strength, mobility … whatever the reason, you have a couple of options:

  • Complete as much of the written workout as you can, record your official score, then stop or continue the workout with additional modifications as needed.

  • Take a zero, shake it off and get ready to score the next week. Don’t let your ego impede the fun – volunteer to judge another athlete and cheer your Saberfriends on!

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Do what’s right for you

The Open is a learning experience for many of us in what we are capable of both mentally and physically. Whatever workout option you choose, we will be there to support you. Whether this is your first Open or you are a seasoned veteran, we look forward to sweating it out with you!

What?! You still haven’t registered?!

You can sign up for the Open through Monday, 2/25/19, but don’t waste any more time! Register at and go to to sign up for the Sabertooth intramural.

Up next …

Advice on how to prepare so you can fulfill your athletic potential.

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