You’ve got a few days left to enter your score for the 2013 Crossfit Games Open workout 13.2. There are a ton of different posts and videos on the web breaking down strategies for maximizing your score on these workouts. In an effort to beat my wife’s score I have dutifully read or watched every one of these tutorials (I also took the extra step of giving her a cold as a bit of insurance). Based on my research here are the greatest hits:
Ahhh, the most feared and revered of CrossFit workouts. Simple enough that a beginner can give it a shot. Difficult enough to regularly appear in the final rounds of the CrossFit Games. Alright, let’s get down to the meat and potatoes (sweet potatoes that is).
What is Fran?
If you’re not familiar with the standard CrossFit style of workout notation let me break it down a bit more as well as explaining some of the movements. The following movements are performed with a running clock.
- Perform 21 barbell thrusters. A thruster is performed by holding a barbell in the front rack position, dropping down into a squat, standing up from the squat and then pushing the bar overhead. (There’s a quick video demonstration at the end of this post). Men should use a 95 pound barbell for the thruster and women should use a 63 pound barbell. The listed weight includes the weight of the bar. The bar should be on the ground, with the exerciser standing, when the clock is started.
- Perform 21 pullups. Immediately, upon finishing the 21 thrusters, begin the pullups. Any style of pullup/chinup is allowed, including kipping pullups. The exercisers chin must rise above the bar, breaking the horizontal plane of the bar, although the chin does not necessarily have to touch the top of the bar.
- Perform 15 thrusters. As soon as the pullups are completed, immediately, return to the barbell and begin the thrusters.
- Perform 15 pullups. Get back on that pullup bar and knock out 15 more.
- Perform 9 thrusters. You’ve got the idea now.
- Perform 9 pullups. Stop the clock as soon as the chin breaks the horizontal plane of the pullup bar on the final rep.
In the scheme of things, the workout is very simple, but it’s definitely not easy.
Need a little visual representaion of what Fran looks like? Checkout this video from CrossFit Albany showing CrossFit Games regular Camille LeBlanc-Bazinet knocking out the workout in just under two and a half minutes:
What To Expect
Although, Camille gets through this workout very quickly, remember that she’s one of CrossFit’s top competitors. For new CrossFitters, trying the workout with the prescribed weights, a 10 to 20 minute time is not surprising. Although, there are no official guidelines the following times provide a rough guideline:
4:30 – 3:00 Advanced
3:00 or less Elite
Tips and Tricks
For better or worse, the simplicity of the Fran workout means there is not a whole lot of opportunities for strategy. There are a few tips which can help:
- As ever, approach the workout with a plan. How will you break up your reps?
- Most people find the round of 15 to be the most mentally challenging. Be prepared for this. Negative self talk will not make this easier. Getting someone to cheer/encourage/taunt you through this section can be extremely beneficial.
- Want to push toward the elite ranks? One of the keys is getting through the thrusters “unbroken”. Take a look at our previous post: Fran Tip #1
- According to Mobility WOD’s Kelly Starett, one of the easiest, but least utilized, tips is performing some Fran specific mobility work prior to your workout. Review the video below for some Fran specific mobility tips from someone who has spent a lot more time thinking about Fran than you have. (Note: unfortunately the video quality is not the best on this one but you can definitely get the gist of what Kelly is suggesting).
That’s the extent of it. Fran remains the queen of CrossFit workouts (and if Fran is the queen then there is clearly no king). Good luck, go hard! And feel free to post to the comments if you found this useful or if you’ve got your own tip or trick!
A quick tactic to help you achieve the best time possible on this WOD is at the end of this post.
A few weekends back a buddy mentioned he was going to give “100 Burpees For Time” a shot. Huh. Never tried it. I don’t fear burpees. Sure, I’ll give it a go…
Ugh. Here’s how it goes:
First 20: I’m flying! What’s the world record for this workout?
Rep count 30: Uh, I’m not even half way…
Rep count 40: I can’t remember what the range of motion is for a burpee. Does it involve sitting?
Rep count 50-100: (I’m not going to bother describing the rest. It wasn’t pretty.)
In the end I managed to complete the 100 burpees in 7:05. The next day I realized I had a bruise on my chin from the repeated impacts. Ouch.
Bottom line: This workout is predominantly mental. You will become extremely uncomfortable. The difference between individuals’ scores will primarily be dictated by how long each individual rested during the one hundred burpees.
Tactic: Here’s the bad news: resting at various points in the workout is not going make things any easier (despite what your brain is screaming). Here’s the good news: since resting isn’t going to help, skip it and power through (again, despite what your brain is screaming). While your friends are gasping with their hands on their knees, you keep moving. Steady work will win this race. The crux of the problem is that once your heart rate becomes significantly elevated, a short rest between reps will not provide any significant recovery. Realize that resting for five seconds, ten seconds, or even thirty seconds will not provide any relief from the discomfort. Focus on the fact that you will be able to rest for an extended period once the workout is complete.
Got another tip for this workout? Did this one work for you? Did you beat my 7:05 time? Leave a note in the comments!
Pic courtesy of Steve Caddy via Flickr
Fran, Fran, Fran – The workout you love to hate. Want to improve your time on the classic benchmark? Could there be a method to the madness other than just increasing your tolerance for pain and decreasing your need for oxygen? According to JoJo Craig of CrossFit East County you need to