Thursday, August 30, 2012


Mention the name ‘Fran’ to any CrossFitter and their blood immediately runs cold & stomach tightens.  It is one of the original and probably the most famous CrossFit workouts.  It seems simple enough on paper, but in reality she is a cruel taskmaster. Unrelenting in the pain provided.
This is how Coach Glassman describes how Fran came to be named

For those who don’t know, this is Fran
21-15-9 reps for time
Pull ups
Now a thruster is possibly one of the most taxing movements you do with a bar in your hand, dynamic & encompassing the front squat followed by a push press in one contiguous movement.  It burns you out very quickly and basically for me makes me want to die.
I’ve experienced Fran on 2 previous occasions. Both heavily scaled but they still hurt a lot.  On those occasions I used a 15kg bar and did ring rows. My best time was 6:39 which was a massive PB on my first time.
Last night our WOD was ‘Fran’ and whilst I went into it knowing it would suck pretty badly I thought my time should still be ok.  James announced there would be a 15min cap on the workout and I was beyond confident that wouldn’t be an issue for me…………
I watched my coach Matt give it a crack before the class, he smashed it in 2:55 which is a pretty awesome effort and was a PR for him.  After he finished he commented how he knew it would be hard and hence has been a year since he last took her on. Fran is not something you want to do every week just for kicks.
Before we got into Fran we worked up to a 1RM Thruster. I was really stoked to smash 45kg which was a 5kg PR! Have had 3 PR’s this week with my lifts, Clean & Jerk 50kg, Strict Press 37kg & the Thruster.
We worked in pairs for the workout with one person hitting it first and the other counting and motivating. I paired up with Belinda & before we knew it, James was yelling 3…..2…..1……GO and we were off.
It was awesome to watch Bel fight and smash through every rep. Those pull ups hurt once your arms are already shattered from the damn Thrusters. She fought hard to get through that WOD and never quit on it once.
Then it was my turn. This time I had the bar set at 22kg which was a 7kg increase, and I would be doing banded pull ups. This, as I was to learn was going to be a vastly different version of Fran!!
My plan was to break the thrusters up into 3 sets each round, so sets of 7,5,& 3.  Half way through the first round I realised that was even going to be a big ask.  This time around my technique was a lot better on the Thruster, I was squatting deeper and pushing up hard.  Much different to my previous versions when I just didn’t have the mobility to get close to depth.
After the first set of Thrusters I was toast. The pull ups were excruciating and each rep was a killer. Back on the bar for the round of 15 and I began to worry I was not going to get it done within the time cap which would have devastated me.
Bel kept pushing me along and as more & more of the guys finished they joined her in pushing me through each rep. B R U T A L
James my coach was right there as well, and at one point I said I wasn’t going to get it done. He seemed to have every confidence I would but I could see the clock ticking.
9 doesn’t seem like a big number, and really after 21 you’d think 3 sets of 3 would be a cinch. But no, I fought out each of those reps and dreaded getting back on the pull up bar.  I was down to single reps to get it done. One of the things I remember Bel saying which really helped was ‘it’s gonna hurt anyway so just jump into it and do it’. And that was true. The longer I rested the more it would hurt. So as painful as it was I kept going.
I eventually finished in 13:25. Totally smashed and I can honestly say I didn’t have anything else to give that workout. I thought Fran hurt before but that was NOTHING. I feel like last night was my first real Fran experience. 
There’s a lot of things I need to improve and work on with CrossFit and the thing is I love doing the work. I’ve been diligent with the strength work James gave me last week and even in just a week I am noticing big improvements.
Last week I couldn’t do one pressing snatch balance and Monday I did 3x15kg & 3x17kg. Big win. And last night before the class I tried to do an unbanded pull up. Obviously I didn’t get it BUT I did pull myself up about 6inches which for me is MASSIVE. All the work I have done this year has helped me get these improvements.  Some people will read this and think 6in is nothing. But from where I was even 6mths ago it felt like I had moved 8ft. It proved to me that yes one day I WILL get an unbanded pull up. As I keep getting lighter & stronger these movements will come.
So Fran gets this round, and let’s face it she will probably take a few more rounds off me over my time in CrossFit, but little by little I am going to get better, & stronger. It’s going to take a lot more to wipe the floor with me.
Till we meet again Fran………………

1 comment:

  1. The way you face your challenges and break through your barriers is nothing short of inspiring. You've got me flirting with the idea of Crossfit but I think it's still a little far from my grasp. Thanks for my dose of motivation, I love reading your blog. Keep up the fantastic posts.