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Tuesday 100525
Three rounds, 21-15- and 9 reps, for time of:
95 pound Thruster
Post time to comments.
Compare to 100109.

QUESTION of the DAY: “Fran” is one of the most fear-inducing CrossFit WODs out there. How do you feel about it? How does it make you feel about yourself as an athlete? Do these feelings help you excel at the WOD or could they perhaps be holding you back from your full potential? Has your relationship with “Fran” evolved with time, and if so, was that evolution for the better or for the worse?
Black box vs. cause and effect
Trust, hunger, and chocolate
Why the basketball hightop has one foot in the grave (via)
Don’t sleep, there are snakes
Chemical cuisine: Learn about food additives / Read your labels / “By-product feedstuffs”–oh noes
Kirk nails the 44″ box jump during an NYC Endurance WOD (related: “The joys of jumpology”):

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, PHILIP M.! Thanks to Tony T. who took these wonderful photos this past weekend at NE Regionals:


  • Allison Bojarski

    SCALING OPTIONS for “Fran”, courtesy of the CrossFit Brand X forums. Note what they have to say about how long “Fran” should take and the different ways in which this workout can be scaled to maintain intensity:
    Big Dawgs:
    As Rx’d
    Women use 65#’s
    “Fran” done well is a 3-5 minute workout. This time try choosing a weight that will let you do the workout with good form in that time. Be warned, the difference between sub 5 and sub 3 in metabolic cost is enormous. (usually intermediate weights are 65-75# for men, and 35-45# for women)
    We have been recommending trying one of these other variations:
    5 sets of 9 each exercise or
    9 sets of 5 each exercise
    Another very valid way of scaling this if you are able to lift 95/65#’s for a few reps but 21-15-9 seems daunting, would be to use the rx’d weight but scale the reps.
    Thrusters, 95/65#
    Pull ups
    If you can manage this in 3-5 minutes with good form, the next time this comes up you might try:
    thruster 95/65#
    Pull ups
    Use appropriate weight
    sub Beginner Pull ups, Jumping Pull ups or Ring Rows as necessary.

  • Lt Gabe

    My first ever Fran was sometime in the fall of 2007 at CFNYC when it used to be on 6th ave up those awful stairs. Our recruiter had brought us to do a WOD and I didn’t quite know what I was getting into but I jumped with both feet anyway. The fact that what would follow was such an unknown allowed me to push harder than I probably should’ve. That’s the closest I’ve ever been to non-hangover induced pukie.
    In the time between that first Fran and my most recent (last week), I’ve improved quite a bit, but not enough to be a sub-3 minute stud quite yet. I’ve come to the realization that Fran is like climbing a mountain; you get to the top at your own pace. You can sprint the whole time or you can walk. Either way you’ll do 43 thrusters and 43 pullups. Fran is a feeling, a state of mind. When I walk up to the bar and wait for the 3-2-1-GO, its like I’m waiting to be voluntarily punched in the dick. I don’t like the feeling, yet I thrive on it.
    A few days ago I brought up the notion that I’d much rather do Fran at 95# than lets say 75# Fran. Not because I’m macho or RX obsessed, but because Fran done at sub-RX weights is exponentially harder because you can go so much faster. If you have a 5 minute Fran time RX’d, you had better crack 3.5 minutes at 75#. The difference in how your chest feels afterwards is startling.
    As I creep towards that magical 3 minute Fran time I realize that there are people out there who can do it RX in under 2 minutes. There’s even a certain affiliate owner who can do it one armed in around 7 minutes. Fran is about you and the only two bars that matter for as long as you make it last. When I chalk up, I feel like Maximus Decimus Meridius kneeling down to rub dirt between my hands before I wade into a Roman battle scene. To me, Fran is the epitome of getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. If it were easy, it’d be your mom.

  • Kirk

    Lt Gabe – Nice!
    Now, about those math skills they teach you in Arti school… Those 43 reps of yours could explain why you are getting such good times…

  • Dave A.

    I will be coming by the Manhattan Box around 530-6ish tonight after a doctors appointment in Chelsea, so if you ordered a shirt from me, and you know you are going to be there tonight please bring the money, I had to shell out alk the cash in advance for these so anything I can get now helps. The shirts will be here by Thursday so if you are planning on attendning the memorial ceremony Friday night I will have your shirt then, if you are not then I will be by next week with them. In regards to Fran I only did it once just a few weeks after learning the kip, got just under 5 and think I can easily crack 4 now since my thruster is much stronger, actually 1 of my best strength movements, and I am much better at pull-ups now. Unfortunately with my injury it sounds like if I can do it in 4 months that would be a blessing, very frustrating.

  • Other Grace

    Did a CFE WOD from last week this morning since I have a work dinner tonight.
    Tabata Sprints: 20 on, 10 off, 8 rounds @ max effort
    Cash out: 100 DUs for time (until I realized that I forgot to start my watch)
    Last night: 5×65, 5×85, 5×95, 5×100, 5×105
    Had such a fun weekend watching the competitors in Albany. Thanks to Real Grace for photo-documenting every moment of karaoke.

  • Lt Gabe

    Kirk, it was midnight here and I’d been drinking in preparation for my math-heavy manual gunnery test this afternoon. Did I mention that I’m on my way to call for fire on a live range this morning? I said I wanted infantry because I failed math for Marines but they gave me artillery. King of Battle not mathematics.

  • jenn

    Super-packed class this morning…
    7:30 (thin purple band); 1 minute longer than last time but with a thinner band. I’m hoping to go Rx next time. That’s what I said for this time, too. Oh well.
    This is my third Fran since I joined crossfit and I try not to let it scare me, but then I get to the first round of pull-ups and all I can think of is “F**K” this is hard. The thrusters are the ‘easy’ parts for me, so it’s more of a mental thing to get onto the bar and finish the pull-ups (I just started getting consistent at kipping pull-ups, but not enough for a full WOD). Knowing that they say a ‘good Fran should take 3-5 minutes’, it really psyches you out when you know you’re way past 5 minutes and not done yet. Still, I always look forward to Fran whenever she comes around, that bitch.
    On another note: Kirk, that 44″ jump is amazing. Now you can leap over children whenever you want, which is cool.

  • JeffZ

    I think today was my first Fran. On paper it sure sounds pretty fun… :) Thrusters are pretty nauseating in reality, the whole ‘compress your body then extend it’ is rough on my just-woke-up stomach, ughhh.
    65# 6:27 — Pretty happy with that for my first time around. I probably could have gone up in weight, but wasn’t sure going into it — next time!
    Unrelated, I just want to share a CF success story… I’m 27 now, when I was 13 I ran cross country — I loved it, but then I got unhealthy, inactive and lazy starting at about age 14 :) Smoked cigarettes for 7-8 years, off and on. Etc, etc. Literally the last time I went for a run was the fall of 2008. Around then I could jog about 2 miles, slowly and not without stopping to walk for a few seconds occasionally.
    Last weekend, I ran an 8:00 mile, nonstop, no problem. Felt great and could have kept going, but didn’t want to rush myself into shin splints (been there!). I’m not gonna break any records anytime soon, but it feels great to get back to some sort of physical/athletic competence. Love CrossFit!

  • Emily

    @ Dave A:
    won’t be able to make it to the BBQ on Friday and I’m not sure if I’ll be @ the box today, but I’ll let you know when I can leave an envelope @ the desk w/the $12 in it for you. Within the next few days for sure.

  • Matt D

    Fran scares the hell out of me. I hate thrusters. From the moment I saw it on the mainsite last night I started planing for how I’m going to try and “attack” the wod. If you’ve seen my thrusters you know why I say “attack”. I avoid Fran like the plague. I did it rx’d for the first time in Oct 2007 got 10 + minutes rx’d w/ poor range of motion. Didn’t do it again until this past Jan, 7:11 rx’d, huge pr. Only problem now is i have no idea how I can improve on that time.

  • Mike S

    6:20, first time as rx’d, which I’m pretty happy about considering when I started CF in December my max pullups were approx zero. Fran is a good, brutal, recurring goal; Made me skip dessert last night.
    On another note, the 7:15 class had about 16 people in it this morning (not counting the small CFE crew that was off to the side, minding their own business). Running a WOD with 16 people is very hard, and doing it in only half the gym (due to not dropping weights in the morning) is near impossible. Had this been any wod other than Fran (ie short, not a ton of equipment), it would not have been doable in a reasonable timeframe in heats – these classes are supposed to be ~45 minutes. I don’t know what the solution is, but there was some morning consensus that this is a problem.

  • Lenny

    1st time I did Fran was at my Level one cert. Took me 8:30 to finish it RX’d. I felt terrible.
    2nd time I did it I did 5:30 RX’d. I felt worse. 3rd time I did it I did 4:01 RX’d. I was almost vomitted. I DON’T VOMIT. Sub 4 minutes is probable and so is vomitting. Be scared. Very scared.

  • Chris H.

    Fran, 9:08, scaled to 12-9-6 reps using 95# and strict pull-ups. It is the strength aspect of Fran, especially the pull-ups, that seems to slow me down the most, so I thought I would give this scaling method a shot. Also, a slightly injured shoulder prevented kipping. Will probably try 15-12-9 reps next time – feeling more confident that I can handle the 95# thrusters. Would love to hear others’ tips for improving their Fran times.

  • Adam R

    Fran is probably my favorite WOD. When I saw it posted last night, I smiled to myself. If it were up to me, I’d probably do it once a week. I like it because of the combination push/pull movement, it involves the whole body, and it’s short and sweet. When any workout with a thruster comes up, I think to myself “good, I need the practice, it will help my Fran time.” I also like it because it has smaller challenges built-in: e.g. try to do the first 21 pull-ups unbroken, no rest between sets.
    Now, I’m not particularly good at it. My best time was in January, 5:48 with 65 lbs. I may try going to 75 or 80 today, with the goal of progressing to 95 eventually. Even if it takes me much longer, I do want to be able to do it Rx’d. I still need to work on getting a more efficient kip, and I’d like to learn how to butterfly too.

  • JeffZ

    Regarding the packed 7:15 class: Is there any chance we can bring back an 8:00 WOD? It sure seems that there might be enough demand to have a 6:30, 7:15 and 8:00…

  • Sara H.

    I am not afraid of Fran. I’ve experienced this WOD twice now, first with 45# and the big red clifford band for pull ups (5:14#. Second time around, 53# and green band pull ups#5:15).
    The goal today is Rx ladies weight and blue band pull ups…We’ll see if I can maintain my time.

  • Justin Katz

    85 Pound thrusters

  • Sophie

    Fran scares the crap out of me, thinking about it makes me anxious. Way too sore to do it tonight, but maybe in the near future. I’d love to get under 5 min, haven’t done it in awhile, so no idea where I am at.

  • Hari

    There is an ongoing problem in the early AM. We have one person below (with a lot of clout) who calls me personally every time people drop or jump in the back of the gym before 9:00 AM. This is ninety percent of our problem. It is fine to use the back of the gym in the AM, you just can’t drop or jump in the back third of the space. Once you get near the back end of the pull-up bars, you need to be really quiet during the day. That area is where their most critical operations are concentrated downstairs.
    With 16 people at 7:15 AM, I would have had the people with the lightest weights towards the back, and asked them not to drop. (Or run two heats!) Fran is one of the two or three most popular WOD’s; it is going to draw a crowd. Though I wasn’t there this AM, my instinct is that it would have been more crowded were we still on the old schedule.
    (The number of people who came in at 7:15 rather than 8:00 were probably more than offset by the number of people who were able to come in at 6:30 instead of 7:00. In other words, there probably would have been twenty people or more people in the 7:00 AM class under the old schedule. Interestingly, I think what has happened is that the new schedule has been very effective in making AM attendance more practical. This is a good problem that can easily be addressed.)
    After Brooklyn closes, we would like to bring back an 8:00 AM WOD, at least two or three days per week. However, because of the difficulty controlling the back of the gym in the AM, we recently told the building management that we would end WOD classes by 8:00 AM. If we can develop a culture that works within our early morning limitations, then the growth we are experiencing can allow us to increase the number of AM classes. We just need to be considerate.

  • Tim B

    Hari if he complained this morning I think he’s just calling for the sake of calling, there was NO ONE in the back of the gym this morning

  • Tim B

    also, still no soap in one of the bathrooms

  • chris

    Matt D, tonight I am going to not put the barbell down at all, for resting in between reps of thrusters. At least for me, most of the time gets eaten up between thruster sets.

  • Luke S

    Regarding morning class times, I know someone very close to joining who would like 6AM class. 6:30AM might do too.
    My personal Fran experience is pretty varied. After about a year of Crossfit, I decided to get ‘serious’ and develop my upper body, address some long-standing lumbar back strength issues and general lower body flexibility.
    Until then I think I was in the 8 minute range. Last time I just cracked 5 minutes. As others have already pointed out, the last incremental improvements are the hardest. My pull-ups still blow, and my thruster technique leaves a lot to be desired. But this is my summer of technique work.
    Which is all my way of saying I think I can get to 4 minutes. I think I can, I think I can…

  • Hari

    There were noise complaints this morning.

  • Hari

    That should have read, ‘There were no noise complaints this morning.’ The last time I got a call was Monday.

  • Mike S

    Hari -
    I agree with Tim. I was in the gym this morning from 7 until 8 and there was no one in the back third of the gym doing anything (and really no-one in the back 1/2 doing anything loud).

  • Nick J

    6:09 65#
    don’t remember what my last fran time was, but since my attendance the past few months has been spotty at best, i’ll take that time. today was my first time at the manhattan lunchtime class- and my first time back to manhattan since last summer. i was pleasantly surprised at the amount of room there was compared to the evening classes. will definitely be back for more.

  • Bill M

    “Fran” Modified
    65 lbs Thrusters
    Pullups with purple band
    Time: 6:44

  • Lisa

    I look forward to the day I can do Fran RX’ed. This was my second time doing Fran although I did not record anything about the first time.
    Today my time of 7:57 was accomplished with 43# bar and thin purple band. I did the first 3-5 pullups of each round without the band.
    I really really want to increase pullup reps – right now the endurance just is not there.

  • JoeR

    Lenny, you were in my level 1 cert back in South Brooklyn, right?
    8:30? Nice improvement since then. That day was actually still my PR at a tad over 7 mins, but I think it was due to super hot HQ trainer (and games NE regional winner) Heather standing there screaming in my face non-stop for the entire miserable time.

  • Kirk

    It should be said that Jacinto did a brilliant job this morning putting two big groups through Fran. While it is true that Fran is short and does not use a ton of equipment, there is lot of movement going on. It was a pretty impressive morning – big groups for both WODs, a small group of people doing the CFE Strength and Endurance WOD and a few others doing modified WODs due to injury, etc. This was all done without using the back section of the Box…
    As far as I’m concerned this is great – larger groups in the AM, everyone playing nice together and getting it done. The trainers were focused, the athletes were working hard and not messing around.
    It was a beautiful sight.

  • Simon P

    Just finished my two post elements weeks, and signed up for a one year tour. w00t!!! I’m hooked.
    My first non elements Fran: 8:31 – 65# bar, green band pull ups.
    Looking forward to making lots of progress over the course of this next year.

  • Rickke

    5:49 Rx’d (PR)

  • Tim B

    would it make sense to have elements in the back of the gym in the mornings?

  • Hari

    Yes, Elements should be at the Back of the Gym in the AM.

  • YiuChun Wu

    Has anyone heard of this system? It seems to mention Crossfit quite bit in its description. Anyone tried it and have comments?

  • YiuChun

    Has anyone heard or tried this system? Seems to mention quite bit about CF.

  • Isac

    OK. I know I was supposed to scale Fran to keep it sub five but I couldn’t resist trying for Rx as I’ve never done it before. I did 12-9-6 in 7:12 in January. I did Rx today in 8:44. Regardless of the thruster weight my pull ups aren’t fast enough due to my halfway there kipping skills.
    I just want to say it felt awesome to do it in a (semi) respectable time. That along with 60+ lb increase and PR in BS, SP, and DL in my Crossfit Total from last week has been really fun.
    I definitely want to thank Court who gave the best Fran advise ever a couple of months ago, “Don’t stop as it only makes it worse.” OK, I stopped a few times but not for long.
    I’d also like to thank Jim who gave me the encouragement to go Rx with Fran and last week showed me some excellent technique for the shoulder press. (PR at 150.)
    And the few times I’ve been in the morning I’ve gotten invaluable help from Kevin with the Olympics lifts which allowed great strides in my back squat, dead lift, and cleans.
    Obviously I don’t want to leave out Allison and Jacinto who have taught me just about everything up to this point.
    It’s been great learning from the coaches and the members. So I wanted to write a quick thanks.

  • Kent B

    Oddly, today was my first time doing Fran in 10 months of Crossfitting (I think I’ve missed it twice). I could not have done this workout rx’d six months ago, but recently I’ve really been looking forward to it coming up. For me, there is no better motivational tool than the benchmark WODs, although Sara yelling is a close second.
    4:37 rx’d

  • Jonathan P

    7:12 rx’d, first time doing rx’d weight.
    I get nervous before every workout, not just Fran. But before workouts at which I think I can really succeed, if it’s beating a pr or getting what would objectively be a good score, the bar I set for myself is high, and I think that nervousness is productive. I think “I can do this! If I just. . .” and then I go over the things I can do. I get the opposite nervousness when I know I’m bad at something, the bar is set really low, and I just anticipate doing a bad job. That’s obviously not productive. Fran is both kinds of nervous, because I know I can nail the pullups, but my shoulder to overhead moves are a big weakness.

  • Craig

    First Fran was level one cert. 8:31 rx’ed. Form was terrible, had to do jumping pull ups last 9. Later that night I couldn’t even think about a celabratory drink, sad, sad, day.
    Today scaled to 70#, going for form and speed.
    4:30. Better than expected.

  • Grace

    6:55 rx’d (PR)
    I can’t remember the last time I was this nervous for a WOD. Fran is scary. Thanks to Justin and Zach for pushing me through this, in other words yelling at me the entire time. I love when they do that.

  • Lt Gabe

    Couldn’t resist doing what was programmed at my current affiliate, CrossFit Havoc, today.
    “Semper Fi”
    20 min AMRAP
    200m run
    20 situps (feet unanchored)
    10 pullups
    5 clusters @95# (squat clean finishing in a thruster)
    6+ 15 situps

  • torch

    44 is a lot of inches. good work kirk!!!
    I did not do “fran” today. rather I did OPT. however, I did run a five miler in body armor yesterday (yes application trail gabe). 35 min exactly.

  • james keller

    11:20 rx – first time i did this was elements in february and i was over 12 minutes using 55# thrusters and the blue band for pullups.

  • seth

    65#, green band PUs
    It was not RX’d, my form needs work but I can proudly say this was my first time doing Fran and it feels awesome.

  • mike r

    4:12 Rx… 2+ min improvement from approx 6 months ago.
    Fran can be a little nerve racking. I def try to spend some of that nervous energy warming up. Court did a good job today with the step ups and sa kettlebell hp’s, but in the few minutes I’m standing there waiting to start, Ill do air squats and maybe a half dozen thrusters. Its really easy to just pace around in front of your bar psyching yourself out. Do some reps… figure our where youre hands go (cause its a pain to adjust after you start)… it ususally gets my mind off the next 3-5 mins

  • Matt D

    6:53 rx’d. pr. very happy with this. thanks to everyone who kept me motivated and not resting.

  • brad s

    9:47 rx. pleased as punch considering i had trouble push-jerking 95# a year ago.

  • MC

    8:06 (65#, grey band)
    Weight on thrusters not as bad as my form (bad wrist flexibility > bad front squats > bad thrusters), felt like Popeye by the end.

  • Dave S.

    65# thruster and thin red band pull-ups (jumping last 6 reps)
    Now I understand why everyone keeps mentioning nausea… :)

  • Mike Shills

    First time doing Fran- 5:55 rx’d.

  • provost

    Can’t drop weight….okay fine. But, how about finding a more suitable space? Just a thought.

  • Jeff

    As far as I can tell, the things that seem to cause the most noise and vibration are:
    -high rep, deadlifts (~185#+) that are simply dropped or bounced off the floor, especially when the iron plates are used and the padded platforms are not used
    -box jumps, especially during warm ups when it’s more likely that a higher concentration of the class is jumping all at once
    -double unders whenever most of the class is comprised of people who suck at or stomp their feet when doing them

  • Lenny

    @Joe R dude if I had HKB yelling at me I woulda done a WR Fran. Sub 1:50. ;)

  • Brett_nyc

    Been doing some alternate programing lately but had to do Fran today.
    Max bench press worked up to 280lbs, PR by 5 lbs
    Then Fran in 3:52. PR stands at 3:20
    It really sucks when you don’t PR every time you do Fran. Feels like a wasted 3 minutes and 52 seconds.

  • Cathy

    Invictus- 15 min work up to 1rm bench press.
    85lbs, 5lb PR, so I’m happy!
    Then did Fran-
    53lb and black thin band
    I think I have done Fran before, just couldn’t find it in my current notebook. Look forward to getting faster and doing it rx’d

  • michele

    first-ever Fran, since I didn’t do my Elements at the black box.
    like with back squats last night, i can’t seem to figure out how to pinpoint a weight (in the absence of history with a given WOD) that will challenge me right up to the edge of failure. i keep erring on the side of too light – comfort in the short term, but not productive in the long term.
    from now on, i’m going to go heavier and see what happens.

  • Sara H.

    PR! 53#, blue band pull ups: 5:06

  • mike n.

    8:35 rx’d, not a PR.

  • Jai

    Yay, Sarah!
    I’ve been stickin with same weight (38#) and the purple string whenever Fran shows up. Cut about two and a half minutes off my time. 10:01. Hopefully next time the thrusters will be unbroken.

  • Elizabeth M

    8:34 at 53# and blue band. Unfortunately, I didn’t write down my Fran time from elements but I am sure I did much better this time around.