With a New Year comes a New Focus, and in 2017 we are dubbing this month “Fran-uary!” After working through the holidays on Karen (150 wallballs), we are now shifting to perhaps the most Iconic CrossFit workout of them all. Fran consists of 21, 15, and 9 reps each of thrusters and pull-ups. Because both movements are highly metabolically demanding, the result is a short, compact workout that taxes your entire body in the course of just a few minutes. 

Thrusters and pull-ups have been in every single CrossFit Open since it’s inception in 2011, and in many cases it has been some variation of “Fran,” so with the 2017 Open just around the corner, we felt this would be great time to work on this classic couplet. 

The groundwork we laid last cycle will continue to come in handy throughout this month. Thrusters are of course a very similar movement to wall-balls, requiring a little more strength and flexibility (the placement of a loaded bar on the shoulders means wrists, back, hips, and ankles will be taxed quite a bit more mobility-wise). However, for those of you just coming off of the Karen retest, your legs will be quite a bit more conditioned for high rep squatting! We also started to work on strict pull-ups, and we will continue that work this month. We will, in addition, try to get better at kipping and working on high volume reps as well. 

Our barbell strength work this cycle is geared to improve the core elements of the thruster. We will be building strength on the power clean (the pull from the floor to get the weight to the shoulders), the front squat ( lower body portion of the thruster), and the push press (upper body portion of the thruster). We will be focused on heavy weight and relatively low volume, since you’ll be getting plenty of volume of each via thrusters in the skill work and WODs. By strengthening the component parts of the movement, we hope to make you feel stronger and make the bar feel just that little bit lighter when we retest.

On top of the specific “Fran” work, we are focusing on handstand push-up skill work. With the past two CrossFit Opens requiring high rep handstand push-ups, it’s time to revisit and refine our strength in this movement. Not only that, but developing more strength in the HSPU (both core stability and raw pushing power) will transfer over very well to improving thrusters. In fact, a kipping handstand push-up could almost be considered a kind of inverted thruster!!

If you were not in on Monday to test your baseline Fran, try to get it in by the end of the week –doing it on a Tuesday or Thursday in place of the skill work would be a good spot to do so. The workout is meant to be short (the best RX times in the world are amazingly under 2 minutes), so we have set an 8 minute time cap so that you scale your movements appropriately and keep moving! Ask the coach to help you with scaling beforehand, so that the workout hits the right metabolic target and time domain. If you’re close to completing the workout, it’s OK if you struggle a little more than expected and don’t end up finishing. Just record your total reps and we’ll try and get you to the finish line for the retest!

Categories: New Focus