CrossFit, Pregnancy/Postpartum

CrossFit Open 19.2 Movement Strategy Playbook for the Pregnant & Postpartum Athlete

Hello and welcome to week 2 of the 2019 CF Open! Some background on me if it’s your first time here. Hi! My name is Kerri Grace. I am a Level 2 CrossFit Coach, Pregnancy and Postpartum Athleticism Coach, Certified Pre-Postnatal Coach, and Level 1 USAW Coach. I have focused my coaching on the pregnant and postpartum populations after my own experience feeling lost and confused during pregnancy and postpartum, and through diastasis recti and an umbilical hernia. If you’d like to read more about my story you can do so here and here ❤

Onto the workout.. 19.2 has been announced and it is almost a repeat of 16.2! Not going to lie, friends, this one challenged me. Here is what’s on the whiteboard:

Beginning on an 8-minute clock, complete as many reps as possible of:
  25 toes-to-bars
  50 double-unders
  15 squat cleans, 85 lb.
  25 toes-to-bars
  50 double-unders
  13 squat cleans, 115 lb.
If completed before 8 minutes, add 4 minutes to the clock and proceed to:
  25 toes-to-bars
  50 double-unders
  11 squat cleans, 145 lb.
If completed before 12 minutes, add 4 minutes to the clock and proceed to:
  25 toes-to-bars
  50 double-unders
  9 squat cleans, 175 lb.
If completed before 16 minutes, add 4 minutes to the clock and proceed to:
  25 toes-to-bars
  50 double-unders
  7 squat cleans, 205 lb.

Stop at 20 minutes

Notes on mindset and overall considerations. This workout is not very pelvic floor friendly. Have an open mind when it comes to your strategy and really consider risk vs. reward. Come up with your strategy and movements before you go in to do the workout and share them with a friend/your judge before you start.

This brings me to breathing strategy. Breathing through the movements is going to be very important. Try to exhale on the exertion or the difficult part of the movement.

Pregnant Athletes:

Toes to bar: I do not recommend doing toes to bar or knee tucks for my pregnant athletes. These movements tend to create so much intra-abdominal pressure on an abdominal wall that is already stretched and under pressure due to baby. This is a risk vs. reward movement and I feel as though you get little reward for your potential risk on this one. There are many other ways you can train your midline without the added pressure. To learn more about intra-abdominal pressure and also coning you can click here.

Some potential movements to sub out for toes to bar –

Pallof Press: Wrap a band around a leg of the rig at around shoulder height. Hold the band at your sternum, and stand with your left shoulder pointed toward the rig. You want to be standing far enough away to create tension on the band. Keeping your shoulders and hips square, press the band straight out in front of your body, resisting the tendency to rotate toward the machine. Hold the position for a second, then slowly return your hands to your sternum. Depending on how you feel you could do 12 on each side, or 25 on each side. Exhale as you press the band away from your body and inhale as you bring it back in.

-or-

Slam Balls: Choose a weight that you are very comfortable lifting overhead. Make sure as you have the ball overhead you keep your ribs over the hips in a stacked position (try not to let the ribs flare out). Using your whole body, and being careful of the baby bump, slam the ball down onto the ground. Squat down to pick the ball up for your next rep. Inhale as you bring the ball overhead, then exhale and slam down.

-or-

Straight arm pulldowns. These are great because you still hit the lats as you do with toes to bar, and it is a great core movement as well without as much pressure. Exhale as you press down and inhale on the way up. In the video below I show one band around the rig for the standing version, you can do two to make it more difficult. It was too much for my core personally, so I chose not to demo it. There are both standing and lying versions, as well as options for lifting one leg at a time. Watch and feel for coning and management of pressure throughout this movement to determine if it is right for you.

You can watch the demos videos here.

Double Unders: Ok I’m going to start with something that you may not like. I do not recommend that pregnant athletes jump rope. Single unders are not a modification for double unders when you are pregnant. It is the same movement pattern, and puts so much pressure on the pelvic floor. Your pelvic floor is already under so much pressure from carrying baby. I do not recommend jump roping at all after the first trimester. Please consider the risk vs. reward here. If you are leaking at all, this is a sign from your body to stop.

Some potential movements to sub out for double unders:

Quick steps: Grab a 15# or 25# plate, it does not need to be tall to be effective, and step up with one foot then the other. The idea here is to have quick feet, landing as softly as possible. You do not want to be creating any impact. Don’t forget to switch the foot that you are leading with, doing half of the reps on each side 😉

Watch the demo video here.

-or –

Consider the bike/rower for 90 secs as an option here. (When rowing, ensure there is no coning as you lean back. If there is try to keep your torso upright through the movement and see if that alleviates it, see video here.

Cleans: There are a number of considerations here. Consider the risk vs. reward. Pregnancy is not about proving your strength. I would advise using a moderate weight, one that you are very confident with as your ending point and work your way back from there. You could also consider sticking with the same weight throughout the entire workout. Another thing to consider here is bar path. If you have a baby bump, you are going to have to get the bar around it. From personal experience, it took me a LONG time postpartum to fix bad bar path habits I developed in pregnancy. An option you can consider is using dumbbells. Choose a weight you can move comfortably and breath through the entire movement.

If you are experiencing any pain, discomfort, or symptoms with the squat, consider doing dumbbell power cleans.

You can watch the demo video here.

Postpartum Athletes:

Toes to bar: I do not recommend doing toes to bar or knee tucks for my postpartum athletes that are less than 6 months postpartum or have diastasis recti (unless you are working with a PFPT and PPA Coach that has worked on this with you and it is part of your programming). No matter how far postpartum you are, if you have diastasis recti, are coning during these movements, or have not trained them before 19.2, I would not recommend doing them. These movements tend to create so much intra-abdominal pressure on an abdominal wall that is healing from being stretched out from baby. This is a risk vs. reward movement and I feel as though you get little reward for your potential risk on this one. There are many other ways you can train your midline without the added pressure. To learn more about intra-abdominal pressure and also coning you can click here.

Some potential movements to sub out for toes to bar –

Pallof Press: Wrap a band around a leg of the rig at around shoulder height. Hold the band at your sternum, and stand with your left shoulder pointed toward the rig. You want to be standing far enough away to create tension on the band. Keeping your shoulders and hips square, press the band straight out in front of your body, resisting the tendency to rotate toward the machine. Hold the position for a second, then slowly return your hands to your sternum. Depending on how you feel you could do 12 on each side, or 25 on each side. Exhale as you press the band away from your body and inhale as you bring it back in.

-or-

Slam Balls: Choose a weight that you are very comfortable lifting overhead. Make sure as you have the ball overhead you keep your ribs over the hips in a stacked position (try not to let the ribs flare out). Using your whole body slam the ball down onto the ground. Squat down to pick the ball up for your next rep. Inhale as you bring the ball overhead, then exhale and slam down.

-or-

Straight arm pulldowns. These are great because you still hit the lats as you do with toes to bar, and it is a great core movement as well without as much pressure. Exhale as you press down and inhale on the way up. In the video below I show one band around the rig for the standing version, you can do two to make it more difficult. It was too much for my core personally, so I chose not to demo it. There are both standing and lying versions, as well as options for lifting one leg at a time. Watch and feel for coning and management of pressure throughout this movement to determine if it is right for you.

You can watch the demos videos here.

Double/Single Unders: I would not recommend jumping rope if you are less than 3 months postpartum, risk vs. reward with regards to your healing body. If you are past three months postpartum and are able to jump rope with no symptoms (incontinence, have prolapse, and overall comfort) go for it! Focus on your alignment, ribs stacked over the pelvis. Keep in mind this is a LOT of reps as you get on in the rounds. If at any time you experience discomfort or any symptoms, please stop. Keep in mind that incontinence while jump roping is a common symptom, BUT NOT NORMAL. Utilize piston breathing here- you should never be holding your breath!

If you are unable to jump rope without symptoms, consider the following:

Quick steps: Grab a 15# or 25# plate, it does not need to be tall to be effective, and step up with one foot then the other. The idea here is to have quick feet, landing as softly as possible. You do not want to be creating any impact. Don’t forget to switch the foot that you are leading with, doing half of the reps on each side 😉 Watch the demo video here.

-or-

Consider subbing the bike/rower for 90 secs as an option here. (When rowing, ensure there is no coning as you lean back. If there is try to keep your torso upright through the movement and see if that alleviates it). See video here.

Cleans: If you are newly postpartum (less than 6 months) I would not recommend going heavy. Come up with the last possible weight you would want to lift and work your way back from there to decide where to start. Consider risk vs. reward here. If you are seriously trying to get to Regionals, it may be worth it to you, but if not – try to think of long term success and healing. Keep in mind that incontinence with a heavy lift is a common symptom, BUT NOT NORMAL. Utilize piston breathing here- you should never be holding your breath!

[Please do not participate in the 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. You can reach me on FacebookInstagram, or email me at kerri@gracefitnessandnutrition.com. I am here to do my best for you. 

I am available to work with you in person in Rhode Island and parts of Massachusetts, and also can work with you remotely online. For more information about me and how I can help you through this chapter, please schedule a FREE 15 minute consultation here, contact me directly at kerri@gracefitnessandnutrition or visit  Grace Fitness and Nutrition.]]

Stay strong, stay beautiful!

Coach Kerri

http://www.gracefitnessandnutrition.com

kerri@gracefitnessandnutrition.com

401-680-0330

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