CrossFit, Pregnancy/Postpartum

CrossFit Open 19.3 Movement Strategy Playbook for the Pregnant & Postpartum Athlete

Hello and welcome to week 3 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.. 19.3 has been announced and we have a little glute burner meets gymnastic medly which honeslty is my kind of workout! Videos are up so check them out! Here is what’s on the whiteboard:

For time:
200-ft. dumbbell overhead lunge
50 dumbbell box step-ups
50 strict handstand push-ups
200-ft. handstand walk

35-lb. dumbbell, 20-in. box 
Time cap: 10 minutes

Notes on mindset and overall considerations. This is a very quick workout, meant to be done in under 10 minutes. Keep in mind that pace is going to be key! Start out at a very reasonable pace, you don’t want to start out too fast and burn out quickly. For my pregnant athletes, try to stick to a pace that you can easily breathe through. If you can’t talk, you’re going to fast.

This brings me to a 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. For this workout, that would mean exhaling while driving up through the lunge, and inhaling as lunge down into the next rep. For box steps, exhale as you step up onto the box. For HSPU/Press you will want to exhale through the press and inhale as you reset. For handstand walks/bear crawls/weighted carries make sure you keep breathing, don’t hold your breath.

As always, if you experience any symptoms of pain, pelvic pain or discomfort, incontinence, pressure or feeling of something falling out or your vagina, or pressure/discomfort in your abdomen/midline please stop. Try one of the alternatives for that movement, or, if the symptoms do not dissipate stop the workout. Your long term health and athleticsm is much more important than this workout.

Pregnant Athletes:

I would recommend a very reasonable pace throughout this workout, especially if you are in your second or third trimester. You should be working at a pace at which you can still talk through. If you can’t get out a sentence, you’re working too hard. 

DB Overhead Lunge – My recommendations for this movement would be highly individualized, but here are some different courses of action you can choose from.

Having a DB overhead. If you choose to have the DB overhead, I would recommend focusing on making sure you keep your rib cage down, or in other words not flared out. This could put some extra pressure on your abdomen. Choose a weight that you are very comfortable moving with and can easily control.

Alternatives: Hold the DB down at your side, scale the weight of the DB, or do the lunges without any extra weight.

Lunging. Some pregnant women can lunge with no problems at all, some may have issues. If you are, or have been, experiencing any kind of SPD (Symphysis pubis dysfunction) hip pain, pelvic pain, dizziness, or feelings of instability, I would not recommend walking lunges. The potential risk of making that worse or potentially falling from instability/dizziness is not worth the reward in my opinion.

Alternatives: Stationary lunges while holding onto the rig or another fixed object, if split leg movements are too much, replace the lunge with a squat or squat to a box. See video here.

DB Box Step-ups – Love me some step ups! Really think risk vs. reward here where thinking about the weight/height of the box. I would not recommend stepping to a box that when stepped on causes your knee to be higher then hip height. This is to prevent added pressure and tension on your hips.

Alternatives: Decreasing the weight, or not using weight at all, and lowering the height of the box you step up to. See video here.

Strict Handstand Pushups – Risk vs. reward mindset here. I would strongly advise not going upside down. There is risk of falling kicking up to the handstand and coming back down. Also, coning of the abdomen is something to consider, but ultimately if you are pregnant I would not recommend going upside down.

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. CAN you do this movement? Yes, you probably can if you had this skill before you got pregnant and I know that it can be tempting to see if you still can but ask yourself if the potential reward is worth that risk.

Alternatives: Dumbbell strict press, either standing or seated. Things to watch for here are making sure your rib cage stays down throughout the movement, you don’t want them flared out – putting more tension on your midline. See video here.

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 different then when you were not pregnant so the movement may feel completely different then it may have before…increasing the chance of falling.

Alternatives: Bear Crawls (which is the scaled movement): This movement may be ok for you. If you have no coning or symptoms while you are performing the bear crawls, go for it! Depending on how far along you are/how big baby is this movement may not feel comfortable. In that case you could perform crab walks. With crab walks be on the lookout for coning. For more info on what coning is, how to prevent read this post. Weighted Carry is another option. Grab some dumbbells or kettlebells and walk the length while carrying them. See video here.

Postpartum Athletes

DB Overhead Lunge – My recommendations for this movement would be highly individualized, but here are some different courses of action you can choose from.

Having a DB overhead. If you choose to have the DB overhead, I would recommend focusing on making sure you keep your rib cage down, or in other words not flared out. This could put some extra pressure on your abdomen, especially if you have diastasis recti.

Alternatives: Hold the DB down at your side, scaling the DB weight, or do the lunges without any extra weight.

Lunging. If you are, or have been, experiencing any kind of SPD (Symphysis pubis dysfunction) hip pain, pelvic pain, dizziness, feeling of something falling out of your vagina, or feelings of instability, I would not recommend walking lunges. The potential risk of making that worse or potentially falling from instability/dizziness is not worth the reward in my opinion. If you are breastfeeding or have been in the last few months, you may still have relaxin in your joints that could be causing these symptoms.

Alternatives: Stationary lunges while holding onto the rig or another fixed object, if split leg movements are too much, replace the lunge with a squat or squat to a box. See video here.

DB Box Step-ups – Love me some step ups! Really think risk vs. reward here where thinking about the weight/height of the box if one or the other is causing any kind of pain or discomfort. I would not recommend stepping to a box that when stepped on causes your knee to be higher then hip height if you are less than 6 months postpartum (or if it’s causing any kind of discomfort). This is to prevent added pressure and tension on your hips.

Alternatives: Decreasing the weight, or not using weight at all, and lowering the height of the box you step up to. See video here.

Strict 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 pressing. If you are coning or having any pain, please stop. For more information on coning, see this post.

I would ask you to think about why you want to go upside down, and if it’s truly worth it if you are early postpartum or have diastasis recti. CAN you do this movement? Yes, you probably can if you’ve had this skill and I know that it can be tempting to see if you still can but ask yourself if the potential reward is worth that risk. If you have not yet worked up to HSPU in your postpartum journey, I do not recommend doing them in this Open workout for the first time.

Alternatives: Dumbbell strict press, either standing or seated. Things to watch for here are making sure your rib cage stays down throughout the movement, you don’t want them flared out – putting more tension on your midline. See video here.

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 is going to put undue stress on your healing abdominals, or for someone that had diastasis recti.

Alternatives: Bear Crawls (which is the scaled movement): 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 this is not comfortable or you find that you are coning, you could perform crab walks. For more info on what coning is, how to prevent read this post. Weighted Carry is another option. Grab some dumbbells or kettlebells and walk the length while carrying them.

[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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