There’s no bigger name in the sport of CrossFit than Rich Froning. The first 4-time “Fittest Man on Earth,” Froning took home the title at the CrossFit Games each year from 2011-2014. After retiring from individual competition in 2014, he then became a 4-time team champion with CrossFit Mayhem Freedom. This year, Froning and his squad look to capture a fifth world championship.
Despite being focussed on the success of his team and protege Haley Adams, Froning continues to show why he’s the greatest ever by doing the individual workouts as well.
Below we’ll break down and compare Froning’s WHOOP metrics from both the individual and team quarterfinals of the CrossFit Games.
Even though he took on significant training loads, Froning kept his daily strain in proportion with his recovery in the days prior to the start of the individual quarterfinals (Thursday, April 8):
His heart rate variability (HRV) was also trending in the right direction, hitting 80 milliseconds on the second day of the quarterfinals:
Froning woke up on Day 1 of the quarterfinals having slept for 8 hours and 27 minutes (he spent 9:17 in bed), a 99% sleep performance. That afternoon, he did the first workout:
3 rounds of:
10 strict handstand push-ups
10 dumbbell hang power cleans (50-lb. dumbbells)
3 rounds of:
10 kipping handstand push-ups
10 dumbbell shoulder-to-overheads
He completed the test in 6:44, which would’ve tied him for 7th place worldwide had it been an official score. Froning posted a 5.9 activity strain in that brief time, with his heart rate peaking at 177 beats per minute (and averaging 154).
For a comparison of workout strain, on average WHOOP members get to about 7.0 when they log an hour of weightlifting, or 10.0 when they do an hour of functional fitness. Froning nearly hit 6.0 in less than 7 minutes.
Total day strain: 15.1
Froning was in the green Friday with a 68% recovery. Mid day he completed the second workout:
60 GHD sit-ups
6 rope climbs, 15 ft.
60 alternating single-leg squats
50 GHD sit-ups
5 rope climbs, 15 ft.
50 alternating single-leg squats
40 GHD sit-ups
4 rope climbs, 15 ft.
40 alternating single-leg squats
30 GHD sit-ups
3 rope climbs, 15 ft.
30 alternating single-leg squats
His time of 15:20 could’ve ranked 12th in the world. His heart rate elevated as high as 178 bpm, with an average of 160.
Later that afternoon Froning attempted workout 5, which he would redo on Sunday.
Day strain: 16.4
Froning did workout 3 on Saturday:
120 wall-ball shots (20-lb. ball, 10-ft. target)
He finished it in 8:28, with his HR averaging 164 bpm and maxing out 182 just as he concluded the row. Froning accumulated a strain of 6.7 and burned 116 calories during the workout.
Day strain: 15.9
By Sunday, the exertion of the weekend’s events began to catch up to him, and Froning’s recovery was in the red (32%). He took a second shot at the fifth workout:
Snatch (185 lb.)
Burpee box jump-over (30 in.)
His time, 2:17, was still among the top 20 worldwide, with his HR reaching 175 bpm.
Day strain: 15.3
As you can see in the graphic at the top, upon the completion of the individual quarterfinals Froning’s Monday recovery was down to 30%.
CrossFit Mayhem Freedom did all five quarterfinal workouts in a 24-hour span on Thursday, April 22 and Friday, April 23. “The volume is on par with what we usually do, but something that is hard to prepare for is the intensity of the events,” Froning told us. “I tried to make sure to prioritize sleep because that along with my diet is something I’ve noticed affects my recovery the most, but it’s difficult with 3 kids under the age of 6.”
Froning’s recovery on this day was 59%. The Mayhem squad did two workouts within the same hour early Thursday evening. They began with No. 4, which consisted of a 4-rep-max front squat where each person’s heaviest lift counted towards a total.
The team combined to put up 1,237 pounds, good for 4th place overall. This got Froning’s heart rate up to 166 bpm.
Just minutes later, they tackled workout 1:
2 rounds each of:
15 strict handstand push-ups
15 dumbbell hang power cleans (50-lb. Dumbbells for men, 35-lb. For women)
Then 2 rounds each of:
15 kipping handstand push-ups
15 dumbbell shoulder-to-overheads
Their total time of 27:37 was again 4th-best in the world. Froning’s portion lasted for 12:45, with a max HR of 163.
Day strain: 11.5
Although his recovery was just 43%, Froning did hit 95% of his sleep need (8:05 asleep and 8:55 in bed). Below is his heart rate and various activity strains for the entire day:
Amazingly, Froning and Team Mayhem Freedom took first place worldwide in all three workouts they performed that day.
First up was workout 2, consisting of each male/female pair doing:
70 synchro GHD sit-ups
14 rope climbs, one 15-ft. rope, switch as needed
70 synchro alternating single leg squats
50 synchro GHD sit-ups
10 rope climbs, one 15-ft. rope, switch as needed
50 synchro alternating single leg squats
Their first-place time was 22:51, with Froning doing the first 10:50. His heart rate maxed out at 173 bpm.
Next, they did workout 5, a relay of:
Snatches (175 lb. for men, 125 for women)
Burpee box jump-overs (30 in. for men, 24 for women)
The team finished in 9:49 (again, 1st) and Froning did his part in 2 minutes and 11 seconds. His heart rate only got up to 153.
Lastly, they concluded with workout 3, male and female pairs each completing:
100 wall-ball shots (20-lb. ball, 10-ft. Target for men, 14-lb. and 9-ft. For women)
Then athlete 2:
120 wall-ball shots
Once again, CrossFit Mayhem Freedom logged the best time in the world, totaling 33:22. Froning finished his part first (in 7:47), with an average heart rate of 156 bpm and a max of 179. His HR stayed elevated for the next 10 minutes however, as he watched and eagerly supported his teammates. This is reflected in his activity time (18:04), strain (6.8) and calories burned (158) in the WHOOP app:
Day strain: 13.0
On Saturday April 24, following the completion of an epic 2-day performance by the squad, Froning’s recovery was 37%. And after taking a commanding lead in the team quarterfinals, it appears as though a ninth CrossFit Games title is well within his reach.
Learn More: Noah Ohlsen’s WHOOP Data from 2020 CrossFit Games & Hardest Workout Ever
Feature Image Credit: Scott Vander Sloot, Mayhem Nation