“Fran” workout, take six

21 thrusters (weight: 65 pounds)
21 pull-ups
15 thrusters
15 pull-ups
9 thrusters
9 pull-ups
Time: 5:34

Last time (a couple of weeks ago) I did “fran” all alone in the gym and I was slower with less weight. Yesterday I was well rested and there was a noisy room full of people working out. I was really glad to be that much faster and heavier, and had no shoulder problem.

I had been unusually tired the previous two days after doing a lot of snatch practice followed by heavy squats to a new max (96 kg) on Monday. I wasn’t sure that should have made me feel totally spent for two whole days, but Scott told me he experienced the same thing when he was doing more O-lifting practice.

Fran on “Fran”: Yikes! I got slower

Last time, a year ago, I did Fran in 5:56 with 65 pounds. Today I did it in 5:57 with 55 pounds. Ever since I started having that sporadic shoulder problem (which I think of as “the twang”) I’m more tentative with thrusters. No shoulder problem today but I’m always anticipating it. I’ll work on thrusters and pull-ups for a couple of months and do it with 65 to see how it goes. My press is way stronger than it was a year ago for sure, but the thruster is so much more aggressive.

I practiced snatch drops and snatches today at 15 to 22 kg, working on my ability to catch it low and get out of the power-snatch trap. Then I did 11 and 15 overhead squats with 22 kg. All that was with Scott and before “Fran,” which I did alone in the gym.


21 thrusters, 21 pull-ups
15 thrusters, 15 pull-ups
9 thrusters, 9 pull-ups
30-pound dumbbells
My time: 5:56
I broke each set of pull-ups once.
Before the workout we did five sets of 5 back squats and I went up to 152 pounds. Then we practiced thrusters for a few reps to make sure everyone got the hang of it. This was all tiring enough, combined with a normal workday, to send my new, more efficient pull-up kip technique out the window. But I still made a point of not kipping any harder or pulling any higher than I had to to get my chin over the bar.
Past efforts at Fran. I wonder why, a year and a half ago, I used a 65-pound barbell and did not break up two of the three sets of thrusters? I broke up all three sets tonight. I suppose I must have been fresher on that day than I was tonight.
Tonight we also had the final Team Survivor class of this eight-week session. We had a “final exam,” evaluating their progress on push-ups, deadlifts, pull-ups, and air squats. So I had a long day. After all that I cooked myself a large piece of salmon and ate it all.

Fran: the Sequel

Scott had us warm up by doing “Fran” with only a PVC pipe. To simulate the pull-ups, we pushed the pipe up and pulled it down. When you do these things fast they do warm you up even though it feels silly at first. Fran consists of:
21 thrusters (65 pounds for women, 95 for men)
21 pull-ups
15 thrusters
15 pull-ups
9 thrusters
9 pull-ups
I finished in 6:45, which was more than a minute faster than my last “Fran,” in June. Tonight, I did the set of 21 thrusters unbroken, as well as the 9. I broke up the 15 into, I think, 11 and 4. I did three sets of 7 pull-ups for the 21, and I broke up both of the other sets of pull-ups too.

Fran Meets “Fran” – Again

I had a rematch with the workout known as “Fran” last night, my first night back at the gym since coming home from Chicago. Last time I did “Fran,” I felt like a complete flop because my pull-ups were so weak and slow. That was the last time I ever used the rubberband for assistance with pull-ups; it seemed to restrict me to dead-hang-style pull-ups that were too tiring, even though the rubberband is supposed to make pull-ups easier. Also I was disappointed with myself because I reduced the weight that time from the prescribed 95 pounds to just the 45-pound bar.
“Fran” consists of 21, 15, and 9 reps of 95-pound thrusters and pull-ups.
Last night I couldn’t remember my weight or my time from the last “Fran.” At Dave’s suggestion I used a weight of 65 pounds for the thrusters. I broke up all sets of both exercises, but in spite of the increased weight I took almost two minutes off of my time, finishing in 7:56 compared to last time’s 9:54. The unassisted, kipping pull-ups went faster than the rubberband ones used to. I broke the pull-ups into three sets of 7, three sets of 5, and three sets of 3. I was really happy with my time and was completely wiped out.

Fran Meets Fran

Last night’s workout was the one called “Fran”:
21 thrusters
21 pull-ups
15 thrusters
15 pull-ups
9 thrusters
9 pull-ups
It sucked. I felt scattered and weak yesterday, mentally and physically. When asked if I could do the thrusters with 65 pounds or if I should use the empty bar, I had no idea. I tried doing a couple of thrusters with 65 pounds to see how heavy it would feel. Twenty-one reps would have been difficult (even in a broken set), but I felt I could have survived it. But the consensus among the other women was to remove the weight and just use the bar, and the men seemed to want to use 65 pounds instead of the default 95 pounds, so Dave reduced the weight for all of us.
For thrusters, you rack the weight on shoulders and open fingers, like in a front squat, and then jump it up overhead. I flew off the ground with my jump and the weight shot up high with little effort. Sixty-five pounds would have been a lot more challenging and I would have felt better about it. But part of the point of “Fran” is to work as fast as you can, so maybe it was better this way. If I hadn’t felt so scattered and unsure of myself yesterday, I would at least have tried to start heavier and go lighter if needed.
In any case, my pull-ups failed so fast that my speed was reduced dramatically despite the unbroken sets of thrusters. I used the lightest rubberband for pull-up assistance, but I ended up thinking I would have been better off without it. I might be wrong, but I think unassisted, kipping pull-ups would have been easier than the dead hang that the rubberband necessitates. The rubberband hooks under my feet, so I’d either snap out of it or drop it off my feet if I swung my body and bent my knees for the kip.
As it was, I kept having to stop and put my feet down, let go of the bar, jump up again, get back into the rubberband, do one or two reps, and do it all again. I really want to swear off the rubberbands and learn how to break up a set of 21, 15, and 9 kipping pull-ups as efficiently as I can to get through a workout like this. My total time was 9:54. Our very tough and fast pal Erika finished in something like 6:50. I think she was the first woman to finish.
Tom and I went out for burgers afterward and then went home and had ice cream. Terrible! I felt like I had this unsuccessful workout and then overate on top of it.
That makes me think: if I consider last night’s workout unsuccessful, what would have made it a success? I think I would have felt good if I’d been able to organize my broken sets of pull-ups more efficiently and do them more independently, without the help of spotters or someone to pull the rubberband down around my feet. Objectively, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with needing help. Privately, I want to do everything perfectly all by myself! This reminds me of my aunt telling me that when I was four years old, I refused to take swimming lessons, saying “I can’t take swimming lessons because I don’t know how to swim.”