An Introduction to the Workout ‘Fran’ in CrossFit

Hello everyone, CrossFit is an intense workout, and part of the program involves performing a strenuous exercise called “Fran”. If you’ve ever done CrossFit, you might be wondering what Fran is and why it’s so important. Well, in this post, I’m going to answer exactly that and discuss the components of Fran, benefits of doing Fran, how to do it safely, modifications for beginners, common mistakes, rest times, technique tips, and advice from experienced athletes. Let’s dive in!

Components of Fran in CrossFit

CrossFit is becoming more popular among people of all ages, primarily due to its efficiency in providing maximum fitness potential when performed with proper technique and form. One of the most popular workouts in CrossFit is FRAN (a.k.a. Frankstein) named after Franz, but commonly known as Fran.

Fran is a benchmark workout that consists of three classic exercises from Olympic weightlifting — pull-ups, thrusters, and burpees. When done properly and optimally, Fran can provide a great workout that targets multiple muscle groups, providing results in strength, power, and improved cardio endurance.

The typical Fran workout includes performing 21 Thruster reps, followed by 21 Pull-ups, then 15 Thruster reps, followed by 15 Pull-ups, and finally 9 Thrusters, followed by 9 Pull-ups. Advanced athletes may perform Fran with heavier weights and/or an increased rep scheme, though the overall formula (3 rounds of (21-15-9) is the same.

Benefits of Fran

Fran offers a variety of physical and mental benefits for anyone practicing CrossFit. Fran helps to strengthen muscles and improve overall strength, allowing for improved performance in other exercises and activities. There is also a significant benefit to cardio endurance and stamina, as Fran requires sustained and consistent effort over a period of several minutes.

The mental benefits of Fran include improved focus and concentration, as well as increased confidence from the challenge of completing this difficult workout. By pushing past physical boundaries, Fran encourages personal growth and resilience.

Before Attempting Fran

Prior to attempting Fran, it’s important to have a proper warm-up that includes dynamic movements and mobility drills to loosen up the body and prepare for the high intensity movements of Fran. Additionally, you should have the correct equipment and weights at your disposal. This includes a pull-up bar, weights, and a good pair of supportive shoes.

A proper warm-up is important to ensure exercise safety and reduce the risk of injury. It also helps to increase blood flow and oxygen to the muscles, making your body more physically and mentally prepared for the intensity of Fran.

Scaling the Workout

For those just starting out, it’s important to scale down the intensity of the workout to become familiar with the Fran exercises movements and technique. Working with a coach or experienced CrossFit athlete is highly recommended for the best results.

Beginners should start with bodyweight thrusters and pull-ups first, gradually increasing weight and reps as the body becomes stronger and more efficient. Ultimately, your Fran weight should result in failure within the 21-15-9 rep scheme. Novice CrossFitters can perform Fran with lighter weights, focusing on proper form and technique, while more advanced athletes can push the intensity by increasing weight, reps, or both.

Strategies and Tips for Doing Fran

In order to get the most out of Fran, it’s important to have strategies and tips in place to help you make positive progress over time. First, always focus on proper form when executing thrusters and pull-ups. This will help prevent injury and improve overall performance.

Second, focus on your breathing during the thrusters and pull-ups — taking deep breaths between reps helps to ensure proper oxygen intake to support maximum performance.

Finally, it’s important to maintain a positive attitude during Fran. It’s a demanding workout and staying positive will help you stay motivated and energized throughout the workout. If possible, find a workout partner or coach to encourage and support you in your Fran journey.

Recovery After Fran

Recovery after Fran is just as important as proper preparation for Fran. Like any other intensive workout, it’s important to take the time to rest and refuel. Proper hydration and nutrition are key for proper recovery, as is stretching and foam rolling. If not done properly, too much strain can be put on the body resulting in decreased performance and potential injury.

It’s important to listen to your body and allow adequate time to rest. Taking on Fran too frequently can lead to over training and burn out, so it’s essential to properly space out your Fran workouts. With proper preparation, strategy, and recovery, Fran can be a great addition to any CrossFit routine.

Green, Blue, and Pink Kettle Bells on Blue Surface

Benefits of Doing Fran in CrossFit

Doing Fran, the classic CrossFit workout, consists of two exercises, thrusters and pull-ups, in a repetition pattern of 21-15-9. A well-executed Fran should take between 4 and 10 minutes, depending on your fitness level. This type of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workout can have major physical and mental health benefits.

CrossFit Benefits for Physical and Mental Health

According to research, HIIT can improve physical and mental health in many ways: it helps with weight loss, strengthens your muscles, helps regulate hormones and improves cardiovascular health. Additionally, increased physical exercise has been scientifically proven to elevate mental health, decreasing risk of depression and improving sleep and concentration. Doing Fran can thus have a significant positive impact on your physical and mental wellbeing.

Muscles Strengthened During and After

CrossFit encompasses diverse exercises, but Fran requires constant muscle firing and explosive movements. With each repetition comes a full contraction and release of your muscles, working a wide range of muscle groups in a comprehensive way. It truly is an all-encompassing workout. Your body will feel tense and energized during the Fran workout and exhausted afterward. In particular, Fran requires the use of the quads, hamstrings, glutes, deltoids and core. Quoting professional athlete Barbara Perin, “My lats were so sore after Fran! I have never experience such strength test as this workout.”

Enjoyment of the Challenge

If you don’t expect an enjoyable time, you may often find yourself pleasantly surprised. Hearing people in the approach the Fran workout with reverence and respect, and with a sense of excitement and controlled panic, can be very motivating. Completing Fran and feeling passionate about the challenge can be a hugely rewarding experience. Personal trainer Kendra Bigcows shared her experience from taking on the Fran challenge, noting that it was an awesome experience just doing it and that “The sheer power in each rep, the control and the focus required to maintain form is unparalleled.”

Ultimately, Fran can be a highly rewarding workout, strengthening your muscles and energizing mind. With focus and determination, it can be a challenge that leaves you feeling proud and accomplished.

Low-Angle Shot of a Woman in Black Sports Bra

How to Do Fran Safely in CrossFit

CrossFit is an intense full-body strength and conditioning program designed to improve health, athleticism and physical fitness. One of the most popular workouts for this style of fitness is known as “Fran” and can include squats, presses and pull-ups. If done correctly and with proper form, Fran can help you get in great shape and reach your fitness goals. Here are some tips to help you master the workout and avoid common mistakes.

Demonstrate Correct Form

When completing any exercise, it is important to maintain correct form to prevent injury. To do this with Fran, focus on having core strength, proper posture, and good foot placement. This means standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, chest up and keeping your gaze forward throughout the entire exercise. During the squats, you should tighten your stomach and push your hips back. Make sure to come up as far as possible on each press and pull-up. Experienced CrossFitters may experiment with different forms of the squat, press, and pull-up, but be sure to stay within your current ability level when doing so.

Describe the “Ladder” Structure

Fran is often completed as a two- to four-lap “ladder” structure. This means you will do two reps of a given exercise (either thrusters, presses or pull-ups), then four reps, six reps, eight reps, and ten reps. This is a challenging workout and is typically done for a set amount of rounds, depending on the experience level.

Explain Weight Progression

When it comes to weight progression for Fran, it is important to scale according to your current ability level. Begin light and increase the weight gradually with each successive set. As your body adjusts to the workout, you’ll likely be able to lift heavier.

Provide Examples of Successful Workouts

If you’re looking for inspiration when it comes to completing Fran, you can turn to top CrossFit athletes and see how they tackle the workout. Two-time Reebok CrossFit Games champion Mat Fraser and six-time CrossFit Games champion Rich Froning have both completed Fran as part of their routine in the past.

Explain the Benefits of Fran

Taking on Fran will help you reap a number of great benefits, including accelerated muscle gains, increased strength, improved cardiovascular health, and enhanced body versatility. Furthermore, mastering Fran can help you become proficient in a wide range of CrossFit exercises.

Discuss Proper Hydration

Finally, it is important to stay hydrated before, during, and after Fran. Drink plenty of water before the workout to make sure you don’t get dehydrated, and then drink more water during the workout to keep your body properly hydrated. After you are finished, make sure to drink even more water to help with recovery. Staying hydrated is critical for any workout and will help you stay healthy and achieve your fitness goals.

what is a fran in crossfit

Modifications for Beginners in Fran

Beginning Crossfitters might look at the renowned “Fran” workout and be intimidated by all of the movements, weights, and rounds at once. Fortunately, with a few simple modifications and the right techniques, beginners can modify the challenging workout so that it’s appropriate to their health level and goals.

Break Down Movements

Beginners can start by breaking down difficult movements within Fran into simpler exercises. For instance, if regular push-ups and air squats are too hard, replacing them with easier modifications such as modified push-ups or air squats will make the workout more appropriate to your current fitness level. You can also use a PVC or a dowel instead of a barbell.

Bundle and Tweak Rounds

Create bundles of Fran movements that can be done within a certain period. For example, five pull-ups and 10 thrusters can be done within a couple of minutes with rest periods as you need them. This makes the movements easier to manage, which is especially helpful for beginners. As an added benefit, you can also adjust the number of rounds and the weight used. This can further help to customize the workout to what you need.

Pace Yourself

Fran is an intense workout, so beginners need to take the time to practice safety while ensuring they are running at a pace comfortable for their fitness level. Developing a steady rhythm and taking regular breaks to ensure that your techniques remain optimal can help to alleviate some of the struggles associated with the workout and avoid injury.

Watch Technique

Form is key for Fran. Beginners should pay close attention to the techniques being used and focus on engaging their core and maintaining a neutral spine for maximum effectiveness and safety. Taking the time to practice these techniques first can help beginners to better understand how to optimally execute the workout.

Focus on Progress

It’s hard, especially for beginners, to create a strong performance with Fran. That’s why it’s important to help them focus on the progress they are making. Celebrate small improvements in form, speed, and weight over time. This will help to keep them inspired and motivated for the long run.

Following these modifications can help beginners successfully adjust their Fran workout to their current fitness level. Making the task of succeeding with Fran achievable is a great way to help encourage future workout success.

Man About to Lift Barbell

Common Mistakes When Doing Fran in CrossFit

CrossFit is an intense workout program that can challenge even the fittest of athletes. One of the most popular workouts in CrossFit is called “Fran”, which consists of three rounds of 21-15-9 reps of thrusters and pull-ups. Here are some of the common mistakes to avoid when doing a Fran in CrossFit:

Not Pacing Yourself

CrossFit can be intense and, for many athletes, the temptation is to push so hard that they work too fast. This can lead to form breakdown and improper execution, increasing the risk of injury. It’s important to focus on maintaining your form and move at a pace that is challenging but controllable.

Poor Set-Up

Before starting a Fran in CrossFit, it’s important to ensure you have the right set-up. This means making sure you have the correct barbell weight, are standing shoulder width apart, and have your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. Having the right set-up will ensure your form is correct, helping you to reduce the risk of injury such as an ACL tear or strained back muscles.

Not Training Muscles Correctly

While doing Fran in CrossFit, it’s important to engage all the relevant muscles correctly. This means properly training your core and your upper body muscles, including your biceps, chest, and back. Having strong and properly trained muscles will help ensure you have the proper form and overall strength when completing the workout.

Ignoring Mobility work

Mobility work is an important part of CrossFit, and many athletes find it can help reduce the risk of injury. Before starting a Fran, it’s important to do some pre-Fran mobility work. This might include stretching, foam rolling, or dynamic warm-up exercises such as an arm circle or hip rock.

Not Evenly Distributing Work

When doing a Fran, it’s important to evenly distribute the work and reps between your two sides. Doing an uneven amount of work on each side can lead to form breakdown and increase the risk of injury. If needed, stop and adjust your form or reps to ensure the workload is equalized.

Not Staying in Position

Proper form is essential for any CrossFit workout, and this is particularly true for Fran. When performing the workout, always ensure you stay in position—even when fatigued. Make sure your arms and legs stay locked in place and that you focus on keeping your core engaged at all times.

Not Making Sight Adjustments

Many athletes find that making sight adjustments during the workout helps them keep their form and avoid the risk of Rhabody Syndrome. If needed, you can use your eyes to adjust your hands and hips to ensure you remain in proper form.

Not Recording Metrics

Recording metrics while doing Fran in CrossFit can be a great way to track progress and improve performance. Pay attention to the number of reps you’re doing, the weight of the barbell, your form for each rep, and any pains or movements that feel unusual or unfamiliar.

Not Resting Enough

Resting is an often underestimated part of CrossFit, but it’s essential for avoiding form breakdown and improper execution. Make sure you rest as needed, ensuring you spend enough time to reset and maintain proper form before you complete the next rep.

Lack of Practice

CrossFit can be intense and demanding. If you’re new to CrossFit, it’s important to take your time and practice proper form first before attempting a Fran. Beginners should focus on practicing the basics and work your way up to doing a Fran.

Doing a Fran in CrossFit can be an effective way to challenge your body and improve your strength and endurance. However, it’s important to avoid making any of the above mistakes to ensure you get the most out of the workout and minimize the risk of injury.

Woman Doing Push-Ups

Rest Times During Fran

The time you take to rest after completing a set in CrossFit Fran can have a huge impact on your progress and performance. Setting adequate rest times during this intense workout can be difficult because it requires pushing yourself to the limit while avoiding exhaustion. It is important to understand how the intensity of the workout, the type of exercise, and your skill level can affect your rest times and overall performance. In this article, we will briefly discuss what rest times you should aim for during Fran, the technical aspects to consider and provide examples of effective rest times. We will also examine how rest times can affect performance, and offer tips for improving your rest times.

Breaking Down the Rest Times: Technical Aspects to Consider

The role of intensity in determining the rest times for Fran cannot be overstated. When pushing yourself, it is important to determine whether the exercise is of high power, which requires more rest, or is of high skill, which requires less rest. High-power exercises target muscles and larger muscle groups, while high-skill exercises demand improved technique and coordination.

Choosing the right rest period for you skill-set is important. For high-power exercises, the rest period should be roughly 1-2 minutes. When focusing on high-skill exercises during Fran, a rest period of 2-3 minutes is recommended. Of course, it is important to take into account your own performance and ability, and make adjustments accordingly.

Examples of Effective Rest Times

High-power athletes should take 1-2 minutes rest periods during Fran to ensure they have enough energy to get through each set. This extra time allows them to recover and refuel so they can give maximum output on the next set. High-skill athletes need a little more rest, so resting for 2-3 minutes between sets is a good idea. It is particularly important for these athletes to get enough rest, as fatigue can quickly set in and work against their technique.

How Rest Times Affect Performance

Rest times can have a significant effect on overall fatigue prevention and performance. Taking adequate rest between sets ensures that you can maintain a consistent output throughout the workout, and it can maximize your progress by helping you make the most of each set. Additionally, taking too little or too much rest between sets can hinder your performance, fatigue you quickly and compromise your technique.

Tips for Improving Rest Times

It takes practice and experience to find the right rest times for Fran. Being aware of how rest times can influence performance is the first step. After that, make small adjustments to the rest period depending on your skill-set and how you feel during the exercise. It is important to listen to your body and make sure you are giving it enough time to recover before pushing it again. Additionally, it is wise to take the same rest period before each set of an exercise to make the most of your performance.

Man About to Lift Barbell

Technique Tips for Fran

Crossfit is known for its challenging workouts, and Fran is certainly one of them. Doing Fran without the proper technique can even increase your risk of injury. With correct foot positioning, the use of the kipping technique and improving your pull-ups, you can make Fran more effective and improve your performance.

Proper Foot Positioning

When doing Fran, it’s important to stand in the right stance before you start the set. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart and your toes should be pointing forwards or slightly outwards. Make sure your knees are slightly bent and your balance is on the outside of your feet rather than the toes.

Applying the Kipping Technique

The kipping technique involves two actions – the lower body and the upper body. One is used to drive the other, creating the power and momentum to get through Fran. Bouncing the hips, flexing and extending the legs and swinging the arms forward in a circular motion are all part of the kipping technique. It takes practice so don’t be discouraged if you don’t get it right away.

Strengthen Your Pull-Ups

To make Fran effective, you need to put just as much focus on technique as you do strength. There are a few grip positions for the pull-up, depending on what you’re most comfortable with. Using less kip on your pull-ups will give you more control and enable you to do more reps with less rest. Proper coordination will also help you transition between reps quicker and easier.

Increase Your Core Stability

Having a strong core is important for efficient performance. You can activate your core before you start by tightening your abs, glutes and lower back. During the workout, be sure to keep your core engaged while doing the kipping and pull-ups. After the reps, draw your navel towards your spine to help keep your core tight.

Make Shortening Your Reps Easier

The transitions between reps are the key to success for Fran. To make them faster, focus on breathing and maintaining control. If you’re having trouble keeping your momentum in check, try aiming for the same number of reps each time, rather than increasing the number with each set. Keeping your reps consistent will help you reduce rest time and be more efficient.

Having the right technique when doing Fran is essential. With proper foot positioning and the kipping technique, as well as an understanding on how to do pull-ups and keep your core tight, you can make the most out of this challenging workout. Don’t forget to focus on quick transitions between reps for more efficient performance.

Person Holding Black and Silver Steel Barbell Photography

Advice From Experienced Athletes Doing Fran

Fran is one of the most popular Crossfit exercises there is. It’s known for its intense, challenging, and sometimes grueling nature. But, like all workouts, when done correctly, it can have a variety of benefits including improved strength, endurance, and agility. Understanding what to expect before attempting Fran can help athletes succeed and get the most out of their workout.

What to Expect When Doing Fran

Fran is a Crossfit exercise that includes a series of burpee pull-ups, thrusters, and a tabata timer. It’s typically done in a single set, and athletes should aim to finish the workout in 12 minutes or less. The workout starts with a warm-up, then moves into the actual Fran workout. After the Fran workout, athletes should stretch and cool down before ending their session.

Common Mistakes Made

Unfortunately, many athletes make the mistake of not doing a proper warm-up before attempting Fran. By not warming up, athletes risk getting injured, and reduce the chances of seeing success with Fran. Another mistake athletes make is not scaling the workout correctly. It’s important to find a weight or substitute movement that’s comfortable yet challenging. Finally, incorrect form during Fran increases the likelihood of injury and can reduce the effectiveness of the workout.

Illustrative Example

It’s possible to push oneself too hard while performing Fran. An illustrative example of this happening is an experienced Crossfitter going for the RX prescription and completing it in 5 minutes and 30 seconds. While this is an impressive feat, it can lead to burnout, injury and can be damaging to the athlete’s performance in future workouts.

Tips for Succeeding

When doing Fran, it’s important to capitalize on rest. While athletes should try to complete Fran in 12 minutes or less, taking enough rest between sets and rounds can increase their chances of success. Additionally, knowing one’s limitations help athletes stay safe and perform better. Going too heavy or trying to perform too many reps can lead to an increased risk of injury. Finally, practice is essential. Practicing Fran, even at a lighter weight and slower pace, can help athletes become better and more efficient.


Fran is a challenging, yet rewarding, Crossfit exercise that has a variety of benefits. To get the most out of doing Fran, it’s important to warm up, use correct form, find a weight or substitute movement that’s comfortable yet challenging, capitalize on rest, know one’s limitations, and practice. Ultimately, Fran teaches athletes to push their limits and challenge conventional wisdom. By doing so, athletes can get the most out of this exercise, and see results.

Man In Black Crew-neck Shirt Doing Pull-ups


Fran in CrossFit is a benchmark workout that tests your overall fitness. Comprised of multiple movements, it can be beneficial for improving overall fitness and can be used as a template to judge improvement with time. To ensure the best and safest experience, proper rest and form should be observed, and modifications can be made for those new to the program. Various tips and advice from more experienced athletes can also help maximize your progress. With all these components taken into account, Fran in CrossFit can become a great way to reach your fitness goals.

Leave a Comment