CrossFit Games Veteran Dan Bailey Does “Friendly Fran” in 5:16

He also gives advice on how to tackle the first event of the 2020 CrossFit Games.

The first workout of the 2020 CrossFit Gameswhich starts Friday, Sept. 18, has officially been battle-tested by a Games Veteran. Yesterday, Dan Bailey, who has competed in the Games five times, posted a video to his YouTube channel of him completing Friendly Fran. 

This rendition of Fran has the athlete perform the same pairing of thrusters and pull-ups, but with a few sinister tweaks. First, the weight will increase by 20 pounds, bringing the men’s weight to 115lbs and the women’s to 85lbs. Chest-to-bar pull-ups, which force the athlete to pull themselves closer to the bar, are also required. Lastly, the reps don’t descend from 21 to 15 to 9 this year, it’s 21’s for all three rounds. Check out the video below:

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CrossFit CEO Eric Roza took on Friendly Fran a couple of days before Bailey, though the 53-year old (understandably) scaled the weight back to 95lbs. While it was impressive to see Roza finish all 126 reps in 8:43, Bailey’s time of 5:16 undoubtedly gives fans’ a better idea of how this year’s athletes will fare. 

On paper, this workout is similar to Fran, but the tweaks in weight, form, and reps will have a significant impact. Bailey’s Friendly Fran time is more than double his best Fran time of 2:17. Friendly Fran is a whole different beast, folks. Bailey issued some sage advice to this year’s competitors (or anyone sadistic enough to try this workout).

“This is definitely a slow is smooth, smooth is fast kind of workout,” Bailey says. “The smoother you can be and the less breaks you can [take], obviously the faster you’re going to be. You don’t have to pound out reps as you would regular Fran.”

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Bailey completed the first round of Friendly Fran unbroken (meaning without breaks), which he did to see how the lack of rest would affect the remainder of the workout. In round two, he broke up both exercises into two sets, and then three sets each in the final round. It was a learning lesson for the Games veteran.

“I had a total of eight breakups or putting the bar down or breaking up the pull-ups. That’s a total of eight rest moments where I’m probably taking 10-20 seconds of rest,” Bailey explains. “Those rest points, even if they’re calculated, chew up the clock. If I were to do it again, I’d break it up into two sets on round one, and do the same thing for rounds two and three. That eliminates two rest moments…so you’re looking at a 40 second potential gain there.”

The 36-year old competitor, who is doing “for the most part, just one workout per day,” believes that the top male and female athlete will log times in the four-minute range. Bailey also says that Friendly Fran will test not only an athlete’s stamina but their ability to strategize mid-workout. What a way to start the Games. 

Featured image from Dan Bailey’s YouTube Channel