I see her up there on the board, mocking me…challenging me.
Thrusters, then burpees.
90 reps total — which I would find out in just a few minutes that it would take me 6 minutes 30 seconds to complete.
My heart starts beating faster just as I anticipate her domination of the next few minutes of my life.
The only way to finish is to start, and the coach says, “10 seconds!” and they count down. I hear the three beeps that signal “3..2..1” and I hoist that 65-pound bar into a clean and start the thrusters (a front squat into an overhead press).
Oh the way my mind wanders as I do the thrusters! Gotta focus on anything besides the fact that I’m doing thrusters. I think about how the coach just said, “This workout is meant to be unbroken…” and I wonder how many thrusters I will get unbroken this time. I want 21…but I realize at 11, that I need to drop the bar and reset because my brain needs the 5 seconds to reassure — Yes, I can do another 10.
From the bar, I move on to the pull-up bar and I start doing jumping pull-ups because I haven’t mastered a pull-up yet. I get through five of them and I wonder just when I will get that darn pull-up!?! I power through another 10 and I start thinking, “Gosh, I have to be getting close to getting those darn pull-ups…I wish I could be doing this workout Rx.” While I finish my last 6 jumping pull-ups, I marvel at the guy who is already on his round of 9 pull-ups and think, ”…someday I will do this workout Rx.”
Back on the bar and I think, “Only 15 this time.” ONLY 15 front squats into overhead presses. I’m trying to string them all together, I don’t want to drop…but, after 8, down goes the bar. My brain needs that break – I don’t believe for a minute that it’s my body that gives out. I definitely think it’s mental. I finish the last 7 and get up to the pull-up bar and do my jumping pull-ups.
Then back to the bar for 9 more reps and I bargain with myself. “Break it into 3…” and then, “no…string them all” but alas, my mental state falters after 5 and I drop the bar, reset and then complete the rest. I get the jumping pull-ups done and I complete the workout a minute faster than the last time I did it.
When you are doing CrossFit, you hear about “Fran” all the time. It’s like the gold standard of the CrossFit workout. It drains you like nothing else…Rx or not. This morning, I seriously started to contemplate my problem in attaining these elusive pull-ups. I think I should have them by now. Darn it all – what is my problem? And, so I’m newly motivated to get this. I guess I just haven’t formed the strength required. Most of what I read mentions that most women’s problems with getting pull-ups is the strength. I had started thinking that couldn’t be it, but I suppose it is.
A few weeks ago, I swore off the banded pull-ups. I had heard enough coaches mention that they wouldn’t help me actually get pull-ups and I read a quite a few articles like this one and this one. I think I’m convinced that the way to improve pull-ups is not to keep using bands. I’ve been doing ring rows when the WODs called for pull-ups or — as in “Fran” today, doing jumping pull-ups. I’m not sure I get the full range of motion with a jumping pull-up, but it’s definitely a workout. The stuff I have read puts forth some things to do that will help – things like dead hangs on a daily basis to improve grip strength, Negative reps (haven’t had time to try this yet), segmented and barbell-assisted pull-ups. I just need to either get to workout 15 minutes early or stay late to do this extra work for awhile.
I remember when I got toes-to-bar, I worked on them almost every time I was at the gym. I’d just get up on the bar and do a toes-to-bar rep/attempt after the workout on my way out. I guess I should try the same with pull-ups – just get up there and try to get a pull-up every day on top of doing some extra work like negative reps, barbell assisted, dead hangs, etc.
All I know is that the next time I do “Fran” I really want to be doing pull-ups along with the Rx Thrusters. As much as it will kill, it will also be a thrill if I can make it happen.