WOD in Focus: How to Improve Your Fran Time
Fran - the benchmark WOD everyone loves to hate! It doesn't matter how long you've been training, or how strong you are, Fran's an intense workout that will often leave you feeling like you should've done more. Here's our advice for improving your performance:
Go Lighter to Increase the Intensity
From the moment you first stepped into a box, your goal was probably to RX the workouts - but is this always the best approach?
Fran isn't supposed to be a 30-minute WOD, but was programmed to be short, fast and intense. It's called 'Fran Lung' for a reason - and you don't get that internal-organs-are-on-fire feeling from working through the thrusters slowly and meticulously.
To give you an idea, elite athletes tend to complete the workout in less than 3 minutes. Whilst that isn't attainable for most of us, you should at least aim to finish in less than 10 minutes, but ideally around 5-6.
Although you might be physically capable of performing the workout as prescribed, consider adjusting the weight until you hit this intensity. It will benefit you more, in the long-term, as you're doing the WOD as intended. As you get stronger, add more weight but maintain the intensity.
Aim For Unbroken Thrusters
The biggest mistake people make with Fran is overthinking the pull-ups, and downplaying the thrusters. If you can get through your pull-ups unbroken, great! However, it's much faster to jump back onto the rig than it is to reset if you drop the bar on the thrusters - so don't worry about breaking up the pull-ups if you need to.
To get through the thrusters unbroken, the movement needs to be as efficient as possible. Focus on your form throughout the WOD, paying particular attention to any known weaknesses.
Find the right pace and, whatever you do, don't put the bar down! If you really need to rest, do it with the bar in the rack position. You'll lose valuable seconds - and expend unnecessary energy - if you have to clean the bar from the ground more than once during each set.
Practice Positive Self-Talk
At some point during the workout, you're likely to have a voice in your head, telling you to put the bar down, to rest, that you can't possibly do one more rep.
This voice is lying to you.
It usually hits me sometime during the set of 15 thrusters. This is when you need to stay strong, mentally as well as physically.
Stay focused on the movement, and take it one rep at a time. Take a look at this post from Mentality WOD to find out how self-talk can help you through any WOD.
When You're Ready, Go Heavier
If you have no problem completing the workout RX, but still feel like you need to increase the intensity, consider adding more weight to the bar and/or complete the pull-ups in a weighted vest.
This should only be an option if your Fran time is already low (around 4 minutes), and you need something more to keep you working at the same intensity as everyone else in your box. If you increase the weight before you're ready, you'll lose the intensity and miss the point of the workout.
Warm Up Properly
As with any WOD, you should ensure you warm up properly to get the best results.
As well as going through the usual mobility drills, you'll need to get your heart rate up before the clock starts. If you miss this important step, you're more likely to struggle with the intensity of the workout and rest more.
Check out this video from Mobility WOD's Kelly Starrett to learn more about Fran-specific mobilisation:
What are your favourite Fran tips? Don't forget to share them in the comments!