CrossFit, Pregnancy/Postpartum

CrossFit Open 18.4 Movement Strategy Playbook for Pregnant and Postpartum Athletes

18.4 has been announced and it’s another one to help dive the pack from your everyday CrossFit athletes to those who will be moving onto Regionals. We have a double Diane medley with Deadlifts, handstand pushups and handstand walks (I do believe this is the first time we are seeing handstand walks in the Open! For the scaled version we have deadlifts, hand release pushups, and bear crawls. Here is the workout and my movement strategy playbook for pregnant and postpartum athletes:

CrossFit Open Workout 18.4 (RX)

For time:
21 deadlifts, 155 lb.
21 handstand push-ups
15 deadlifts, 155 lb.
15 handstand push-ups
9 deadlifts, 155 lb.
9 handstand push-ups
21 deadlifts, 205 lb.
50-ft. handstand walk
15 deadlifts, 205 lb.
50-ft. handstand walk
9 deadlifts, 205 lb.
50-ft. handstand walk

Time cap: 9 min.

Pregnant Athletes:

*Steady pace is the name of the game on this workout, even though it is meant to be a quick one. I would make sure you are working at a pace that you can still comfortably talk through. Piston breathing strategy is going to be very important here. (check out Julie Wiebe if you haven’t heard of this yet! Scroll to the bottom of this page for her course on piston breathing https://gracefitnessandnutrition.com/pregnancy%2Fpostpartum).

*Deadlifts: I would recommend going into these with a risk vs. reward mindset and consider scaling the weight. You want to make sure you can use your piston breathing throughout the entire movement. (Please never hold your breath!)

If you are further along and your belly is getting in the way of your setup stance, you can try doing sumo deadlifts (wider foot stance, narrower hand placement) to make more room for baby.

If you are uncomfortable taking the weight from the floor, you could consider raising the height of the barbell on a rig, or using a kettlebell off of a box.

*Handstand Pushups: Risk vs. reward mindset here. I would strongly advise not going upside down. There is risk kicking up to the handstand and coming back down. Also, coning of the abdomen is something to consider, especially if you would be kipping.

I would ask you to think about why you want to go upside down, and if it’s truly worth it. There will be plenty of time after baby comes to go back to upside down movements 🙃

A substitute movement can be either a barbell or dumbbell strict press. Things to watch for here are making sure your rib cage stays down throughout the movement.

*Hand Release Pushups: I would advise against these if you are past your first trimester or have any sort of belly. You could consider doing elevated pushups with hands on a box, or scale to wall pushups if necessary.

*Handstand Walks: Again I’ll bring up risk vs. reward. There is a lot more risk with this movement as you could fall coming down from the handstand, kicking up to the handstand etc. Also, with the pregnant belly your center of gravity and weight distribution is off from when you were not pregnant so the movement may feel completely different then it may have before…increasing the chance of falling.

*Bear Crawls: This movement may be ok for you. If you have no coning or symptoms while you are performing the bear crawls, go for it!

It may feel differently if you are further along, and the bent positioning may make it more difficult for you to breathe. You could consider trying a crab walk as long as you can do this without coning. Another option if that doesn’t work for you is a weighted carry.

Postpartum Athletes

*Steady pace is the name of the game on this workout, even though it is meant to be a quick one. I would make sure you are working at a pace that you can still comfortably talk through. Piston breathing strategy is going to be very important here. (check out Julie Wiebe if you haven’t heard of this yet! Scroll to the bottom of this page for her course on piston breathing https://gracefitnessandnutrition.com/pregnancy%2Fpostpartum).

*Deadlifts: I would recommend going into these with a risk vs. reward mindset and consider scaling the weight. You want to make sure you can use your piston breathing throughout the entire movement. (Please never hold your breath!)

If you feel as though you will need to use a weight belt, the weight is too heavy – please consider scaling to a weight you are comfortable lifting without a belt.

If you are uncomfortable taking the weight from the floor, you could consider raising the height of the barbell on a rig, or using a kettlebell off of a box.

*Handstand Pushups: Risk vs. reward mindset here. I would strongly advise not going upside down if you are early postpartum.

If you have diastasis recti (please see a pelvic floor PT) consider this when deciding if you will be doing this movement. It places a lot of stress on the abdominals being upside down and especially if you would kipping. If you are coning or having any pain, please stop.

A substitute movement can be either a barbell or dumbbell strict press. Things to watch for here are making sure your rib cage stays down throughout the movement.

*Hand Release Pushups: The consideration here will be if you can perform the movement without coning.  If you find that you are coning, you could consider doing elevated pushups with hands on a box, or scale to your knees or wall pushups if necessary. Try to find the most difficult version of these you can complete with good form and no coning.

*Handstand Walks: Again I’ll bring up risk vs. reward. There is a lot more risk with this movement as you could fall coming down from the handstand, kicking up to the handstand etc. I wouldn’t recommend these if you are early postpartum.

Coning is to be considered here as well as your alignment throughout the movement. If you are finding that you’re in the C position, this is putting stress on your abdominals and I would advise that you stop (this isn’t going to help any degree of a healing diastasis.

*Bear Crawls: This movement may be ok for you. If you have no coning or symptoms while you are performing the bear crawls, go for it!

If you find you are coning or having any symptoms you could consider trying a crab walk as long as you can do this without coning. Another option if that doesn’t work for you is a weighted carry.

 

[Please do not work out if you do not have clearance from your Doctor, and follow any restrictions they may have in place for you]

I hope this helps! Comment your questions below or contact me directly. I will do my best to help you, but please keep in mind that an in person assessment is the best way to give recommendations. If you are interested in meeting in person, please contact me.

More information available at https://gracefitnessandnutrition.com/pregnancy%2Fpostpartumand I also have a free facebook group for pregnant and postpartum athletes you can find here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/215304372351919/

Good luck everyone, I would love to hear how you do and you used as your scaling options in the comments!

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