Justin Lascek has a love-hate relationship with Fran. In All (Mistakenly) Bow to Fran, he explores the light and dark side of the most powerful of workouts.
As we all know, “Fran” is one of the classic benchmark CrossFit workouts that combines a weight lifting movement with a callisthenic movement. The rep range of 21-15-9 developed by Greg Glassman is known for its ability to improve metabolic conditioning, but it also helps maximize work capacity. The thruster epitomizes the idea of moving a “large load a long distance quickly” (another concept vital for power production), while the kipping pull-up requires a coordinated and eloquent full-body “wave of contraction” to be done quickly and effectively. Fran has captured the hearts of most, if not all CrossFitters. This bothers me.
The hype surrounding Fran is stupid. I’m as guilty as anyone for putting Fran on a pedestal, but I’ve gained some perspective on the matter. It’s just another workout that is helping me, and all CrossFitters, increase their work capacity. We can still shovel more rock than the average bodybuilder, power lifter, endurance athlete, and average person because of this.
CrossFitters shouldn’t train for one particular workout. Have you ever heard the story of someone doing Fran once a month or more to “bring their Fran time down”? What about the guy that has the killer Fran time but is mediocre at best in all of the other benchmarks? Or perhaps someone who focuses on producing an ungodly “Fight Gone Bad” score while neglecting other WODs?
People who are selective with which CrossFit workouts they finish are missing the whole point of CrossFit completely. Broad time and modal domains indeed. If a CrossFitter trains for one workout specifically, he’s specializing his ability, and that’s the opposite of what we’re trying to accomplish.