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Bioenergetic Analysis and Fatigue Assessment During the Fran Workout in Experienced Crossfitters

Manoel Rios, Rodrigo Zacca, Rui Azevedo, Pedro Fonseca, David B. Pyne, Victor Machado Reis, Daniel Moreira-Gonçalves, and Ricardo J. Fernandes

Aim: To quantify the physiological demands and impact of muscle function t of the Fran workout, one of the most popular CrossFit benchmarks. Methods: Twenty experienced CrossFitters—16 male: 29 (6) years old and 4 female: 26 (5) years old— performed 3 rounds (with 30-s rests in between) of 21–21, 15–15, and 9–9 front squats to overhead press plus pull-up repetitions. Oxygen uptake and heart rate were measured at baseline, during the workout, and in the recovery period. Rating of perceived exertion, blood lactate, and glucose concentrations were assessed at rest, during the intervals, and in the recovery period. Muscular fatigue was also monitored at rest and at 5 minutes, 30 minutes, and 24 hours postexercise. Repeated-measures analysis of variance was performed to compare time points. Results: Aerobic (52%–29%) and anaerobic alactic (30%–23%) energy contributions decreased and the anaerobic lactic contribution increased (18%–48%) across the 3 rounds of the Fran workout. Countermovement jump height decreased by 8% (−12 to −3) mean change (95% CI), flight duration by 14% (−19 to −7), maximum velocity by 3% (−5 to −0.1), peak force 4% (−7 to −0.1), and physical performance (plank prone 47% [−54 to −38]) were observed. Conclusions: It appears that the Fran workout is a physically demanding activity that recruits energy from both aerobic and anaerobic systems. This severe-intensity workout evokes substantial postexercise fatigue and corresponding reduction in muscle function.

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Effect of the Fran CrossFit Workout on Oxygen Uptake Kinetics, Energetics, and Postexercise Muscle Function in Trained CrossFitters

Manoel Rios, Klaus Magno Becker, Ana Sofia Monteiro, Pedro Fonseca, David B. Pyne, Victor Machado Reis, Daniel Moreira-Gonçalves, and Ricardo J. Fernandes

Purpose: Fran is one of the most popular CrossFit benchmark workouts used to control CrossFitters’ improvements. Detailed physiological characterization of Fran is needed for a more specific evaluation of CrossFitters’ training performance improvements. The aim of the study was to analyze the oxygen uptake ( V ˙ O 2 ) kinetics and characterize the energy system contributions and the degree of postexercise fatigue of the unbroken Fran. Methods: Twenty trained CrossFitters performed Fran at maximal exertion. V ˙ O 2 and heart-rate kinetics were assessed at baseline and during and post-Fran. Blood lactate and glucose concentrations and muscular fatigue were measured at baseline and in the recovery period. Results: A marked increase in V ˙ O 2 kinetics was observed at the beginning of Fran, remaining elevated until the end ( V ˙ O 2 peak : 49.2 [3.7] mL·kg−1·min−1, V ˙ O 2 amplitude: 35.8 [5.2] mL·kg−1·min−1, time delay: 4.7 [2.5] s and time constant: 23.7 [11.1] s; mean [SD]). Aerobic, anaerobic lactic, and alactic pathways accounted for 62% (4%), 26% (4%), and 12% (2%) of energy contribution. Reduction in muscle function in jumping ability (jump height: 8% [6%], peak force: 6% [4%], and maximum velocity: 4% [2%]) and plank prone test (46% [20%]) was observed in the recovery period. Conclusions: The Fran unbroken workout is a high-intensity effort associated with an elevated metabolic response. This pattern of energy response highlights the primary contribution of aerobic energy metabolism, even during short and very intense CrossFit workouts, and that recovery can take >24 hours due to cumulative fatigue.