Relationships Between Body Composition and Performance in the High-Intensity Functional Training Workout “Fran” are Modulated by Competition Class and Percentile Rank

Gerald T. Mangine, Kennesaw State University
Jacob M. McDougle, Kennesaw State University
Yuri Feito, Kennesaw State University


This study examined relationships between body composition and high-intensity functional training (HIFT) workout performance. Fifty-seven men (31.4 ± 6.9 years, 177.2 ± 7.5 cm, 84.7 ± 8.5 kg) and thirty-eight women (29.2 ± 6.4 years, 166.6 ± 6.1 cm, 66.5 ± 7.7 kg) with HIFT experience (≥6 months) reported completing “Fran” (21-15-9 repetitions of barbell thrusters and pull-ups) in 4.78 ± 2.22 min and 6.05 ± 2.84 min, respectively, and volunteered to complete dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry assessments. Participants were grouped by competition class (men, women, master’s men, master’s women) and percentile rank in “Fran” (≤25th percentile, 25–75th percentiles, ≥75th percentile). Two-way analyses of variance revealed expected differences (p < 0.001) between men and women in non-bone lean mass (NBLM), fat-free mass index, and fat mass, and more NBLM (10.6–10.8 kg) and less fat mass (2.7–5.2 kg) in >75th percentile compared to other percentiles. Most body composition measures were significantly (p < 0.05) related to performance in men and women but limited in master’s men; no relationships were seen in master’s women. “Fran” time was negatively correlated to NBLM and fat-free mass index in all percentile groups (ρ = -0.37 to -0.64) and bone mineral characteristics for >25th percentile (ρ = −0.41 to −0.63), and positively correlated to fat mass in 25–75th percentiles (ρ = 0.33–0.60). No other relationships were seen in ≤25th percentile. The influence of body composition on “Fran” time appears to vary by both competition class and percentile rank. Though training to increase lean mass always seems relevant, reducing body fat only appears relevant in mid-skilled trainees and when it is outside healthy parameters.