Rich Froning demonstrates POSE climbing

2010 CrossFit Games Finals

Rope Climbs with Rich Froning Jr.

Getting up the rope the "Sissy Way" with the second fittest man on earth

Rich Froning Jr., may have just recently hit the CrossFit spotlight, but his second place finish at the 2010 Games was indisputable. Before this year's event Froning hadn't climbed a rope since the second grade, a skill he would later admit he wished he'd focused a bit more attention on. In the final workout of the Games, he came off the rope mid-climb and when he connected with the floor he came down hard enough to bruise his heel, a painful injury by any standard.

Since the curtains fell on the event, Froning has made sure that scaling a rope isn't a problem anymore. We had a chance to catch up with him for a brief interview once said chink had been addressed.

What was going through your mind when Castro announced that the final event included a rope climb?
I was just so confused by what was going on, it was just mass chaos the whole time. Didn't think anything about the rope climb until I went to make my first attempt and realized it was going to be a LONG 12 minutes.

We just caught a video of you rope climbing with your feet on Facebook. How'd it feel to get that figured out post-Games?
Extremely frustrating, I had just never used my legs or even thought about rope climbs being a problem. When we started buying equipment, a rope wasn't on the list of things we thought we had to have and the budget was tight. It didn't help that when I was younger and climbed ropes Dad would always say, "Don't use your legs, that's the sissy way!"

Are you going to be incorporating that in to your workouts now?
Yes I will definitely be incorporating that into my workouts. I did 3 Rounds of "RJ" that day with no problem other than some rope burn. I still haven't mastered coming down the rope that well yet.

If you could do one event over from this year's event — aside from the rope climb, for obvious reasons — which would it be?
I honestly don't know which one I'd do over. I gave all I had in every single one. I'd love for the max shoulder to overhead to have been closer to my actual PR but I was so dizzy I almost missed 135. In the first wod "Amanda" I got a little too quick on the muscle ups and started swinging but oh well.

You did a bit of damage to your heel coming off the rope at the Games, how's that feeling now?
It's feeling pretty good, still a little tender at times but for the most part back to 100 percent.

Are you back on track training for 2011, or still catching your breath from this year?
Both, ha! Some days I'll be good to go, then others are a struggle but I push through it. Physically I'm fine, psychologically I'm not there yet.

What are you going to be working on in this next year? Are you doing your own programming or will you be coached?
Everything; I like olympic lifts so I tend to work them the most (Editors note: Froning is currently signed up for the CrossFit/USA Weightlifting Open), but just try to be as broad as possible on my training. I program for myself for the most part, I work out with my cousin and a few other guys at our gym and we make stuff up pretty much.

What's the story with the headband?
It's actually a cutoff shirt that keeps the sweat out of my eyes. In the front it says Psalm 23. I believe very strongly that all the stuff that I have achieved has been from the help of the Lord, and that verse reminds me that he is always there with me at my side. On one side it says DGH-MJH. Donald Glenn Hunsucker (DGH) and Matthew John Hunsucker (MJH) were very close cousins of mine that both passed away at different times so I keep them with me on the sleeves because I know they're always there with me pushing me past that point when my mind is telling me to stop. On the other side is CTR 55. Chad Robinson (CTR) is actually someone I went to high school with and played football with, he reached out to me for help with his fitness after sectionals and followed our website for a few months. Right before regionals he was killed in a car accident coming home from work, leaving behind a two year old and a pregnant wife.

Thanks for your time, Rich.
Thank you.

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4 comments on this entry

1. Mark Lee wrote...

Much respect for Fronning. Look forward seeing more from this young competitor.

2. Schu wrote...

Did you watch any of the games Joe? Froning is obviously a beast.

3. tony z wrote...

Rich is a class act and a blast to watch. The last round of squat snatches on "amanda" was insane. Cant wait to watch what he brings next year.

4. Chuck Carswell wrote...

I've had a few encounters with Rich. On an athlete level, well that's obvious. On a personal level, it doesn't take long to figure out he's a solid guy as well. Keep up the good work, Rich.


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