FRAN: A mythical WOD

"Fran" is one of the most known CrossFit Girls workout.

We are going to study the best way to deal with this WOD in order to get the best result.

WOD Fran

21 - 15 - 9

Thrusters (43kg/29kg)
Pull - ups

Movements: ThrustersPull-ups.

Fran best times

Beginner: 7 - 8 minutes
Intermediate: 6 - 7 minutes
Advanced: 4 - 6 minutes
Elite: less than 3 minutes

If you want to record your marks and keep track of your progress I recommend My WODs notebook. You will be able to organize your workouts and have all the benchmarks like this one at hand.

Best times

The best recorded time is 1:47 set by Australian Zac Hare. It was judged by Rob Forte at Reebok CrossFit Frankston, Melbourne.

October 2022, Noah Ohlsen performed the FRAN in a record time of 1:49.

YouTuber Andrew Hiller shared the slow-motion video where he questions whether the American performs the full elbow extension on the thrusters.

The best time of Mat Fraser is 2:07.

Best Fran Strategy

It is important to choose your strategy according to your level to obtainyour best time. If you simply go in thinking about doing everything unbroken, but you're not at that level, that decision will lead to a worse result than if you had approached the WOD correctly.

If you have to do sets:

Be realistic with the number of repetitions you can do in a row without reaching your limit.

  • Large sets: 11+10, 8+7, 9. In this way, breaks are minimal.
  • Small sets: 3 times 7 reps, 3 x 5, 5 and 4. If doing long sets means having very long rests as well, it is better to choose short sets with very short rests.

If you can go unbroken

This option is reserved for only a few who consider themselves pro or who are willing to end up like Greg Glassman and his friends (we tell about it in the story below).

It does not require much explanation, just do the entire WOD without breaks and minimizing transitions.

Xavi Marco does Fran unbroken

Xavi is a coach at CrossFit Betulo, my second home. I proposed him to do a benchmark and he chose Fran who is his favorite. A spectacle to watch, he finished it in 2'21".

History of the girl Fran

Greg Glassman had always believed that training with weights would make him a better gymnast, however, other gymnast did not agree with him.

In 1972, while he was looking for new ways to improve his fitness, his father pulled the van out of the garage and gave him the space to turn it into a gym. For $20 he bought a set of 50 kg weights with the name of Ted Williams, a famous baseball player. With the weights came a bodybuilding guide with lots of lateral raises and biceps.

By testing, Glassman discovered that lifting a barbell overhead at maximum extension and lowering it into a squat as far as it would go(this was the birth of the thruster) it only took him 10 repetitions to feel the same feeling of exhaustion.

That's when he mounted a pull-up bar on the wall and did 21 thrusters and 21 pull-ups, then 15 of each and finally 9 of each. He says he ended up throwing up and had his German Shepherd wipe the floor.

Greg decided to invite a neighbor who was also a gymnast to try the same WOD and it ended up the same. They went back to clean the garage and decided to go look for the neighbor's brother. When he saw them, he said: "you smell like vomit!" and did not want to go with them.

That's how the WOD Fran was born, the workout that left you like ifhave been beaten up.

Greg explains that a workout where you ended up looking up at the sky and thinking "what the fuck happened to me" deserved a woman's name.

"If a hurricane that wreaks havoc on an entire city can be Fran, so can a training session."