Ever since I saw this meme, I’ve been thinking about what do we need to work on to even dream of being close to the person who seems to be on his way to winning his fifth CrossFit Games Championship.
Even if you have zero competitive ambition, stay with me because this is also about being the fittest version of you possible.
The guy in the meme wondered if he could do the Games workout, Friendly Fran, in the same time, Matt did the workout with a band for pullups and a PVC pipe for the thrusters.
If we look at event number two, the one rep front squat max, our champion did 425lbs. So our immediate knee jerk thought that we need to get a lot stronger on one hand that is true, but not so fast.
Friendly Fran is as follows:
21 thrusters at 115 pounds for men and 85 for women
21 chest-to-bar pullups
Classic Fran is as follows:
Thrusters at 95 pounds for men and 65 for women
Chin to bar pullups.
Friendly Fran has 126 reps, while classic Fran has only 90.
In the friendly version, one must do move an additional 20 pounds 18 more times. Pullups are similar. Matt weighs approx 195 pounds and would have to lift his bodyweight approximately 22.5 additional feet in the workout. (I’m assuming that he has to pull six inches higher to go from the chin to chest, and that’s only for the 45 pullups in regular Fran. Add the full distance for the additional 18 chest to bar pullups in Friendly Fran).
The median Rx time for Fran in Beyond the Whiteboard is 5:34. Not world-class but highly respectable. Frasier’s time in the augmented Fran was 3:08.
Let’s break this down a bit further the highly respectable median BTWB time breaks down to 3.7 seconds per rep. Matt’s time was 1.49 seconds per rep. Even if we did the classic Fran in 3:08, we would still be relatively slow at 2.08 seconds per rep. I can’t calculate the transition times between the barbell and pullup bar, so the actual seconds per rep are faster.
There is another classic benchmark called Diane, which is the same rep sequence as the classic Fran but with deadlifts at 225 and handstand pushups. The elite can do this workout well under 2:30 and many close to 2 flat. I’ve programmed this with the same reps but the bar weight at 155 and standard pushups and still never had anyone break 3 minutes with this scaled version. I’m pretty sure that dropping the weight down to 135 may not result in times below three minutes. So do we need to get stronger? Of course, but it’s much more than that.
Ok, if you decided to skip the geeky stuff, here’s what if means to you.
I would challenge most of you to pick a movement or even combinations of your favorite exercises. Pushups, kettlebell swings or snatches, air squats, and finish 188 reps in 3 minutes and 8 seconds. Be fair and don’t include PVC pipe wrist curls but only standard movements you would find in a CrossFit workout.
While strength is essential, most of us need to finish the workouts faster, even if it means scaling both weight and reps. Yes, a scaled four-minute Fran is better than a ten minute Rx.
Unless you already have a sub-three or four-minute Fran, how would you scale it to go faster than 3 minutes?
Since we’ve started using heart rate monitors, we’ve learned the faster the athlete is moving as in total reps per minute, the higher their heart rate gets, which corresponds to more overall effort and more overall energy expended. The person who moves faster with the lighter weight is getting more fit than Mr or Ms. Rx, who is going slow because their snowflake ego won’t allow them to scale a workout. You know who you are.
So in conclusion, the man staying up late needs to spend more time pleasing his wife because even if he can’t beat Matt’s time with a PVC pipe and a band, he’s thinking along the right lines.
Scott Lofquist CCFT, NASM, RKC
PS. Here’s the video. As with many of the great ones on different sports, he makes the difficult look effortless.