18.5

Did you like getting to vote for 18.5? Did the workout you voted for win? What's a CrossFit Open without thrusters?

Injured Athletes

As a physical therapist, my professional recommendation is, if something hurts, don't do it.

Shoulder/arm injury:

  • Chest-to-bar pull ups are very likely not friendly to those with shoulder pain. For those who are bound and determined to perform the workout as Rx, try to utilize your hips more in the kip than your shoulders. Ideally, scaling to regular pull ups or ring rows will be more beneficial in the long run. A smaller kip/more strict-like movements will likely feel better on the shoulders.

  • Thrusters may or may not be an issue. If the thruster weight is heavy for you, I recommend scaling the weight. If you scale the weight and still are unable to go overhead without pain, try front squats instead, with a slightly heavier weight.

Hip/knee/leg injury:

  • Thrusters probably aren't going to be great for you. First try decreasing the weight. If you are still having symptoms, consider adjusting the depth of the squat portion. This may mean using a box and then shoulder press at the top. Other options may include air squats, bike or lunges, and then add a set of presses afterwards.

  • If weight-bearing is an issue, consider scaling to the bike. I would recommend going for a certain amount of time per set, based on the amount of time it would take to complete that number of thrusters.

Back injury:

  • If the thruster weight is on the heavier side for you, scale the weight down. Focus on form, proper bracing and breathing through the movement. Scale the movement to a pain-free range if necessary.

  • Excessive swinging with the kip for CTB pull ups or excessive motion in the spine from a "broken" kip may make an already flared up back even more upset. Focus on hitting the arch and hollow swings, and driving from the hips.

Pregnant Athletes

  • Piston breathing strategy is going to be huge here- please look up Julie Wiebe and piston breathing strategy if you have not already.

  • Breathe through the workout. Focus on maintaining a steady pace- no going balls to the wall here please!

  • Chest-to-bar pull ups: I do not recommend kipping beyond the first trimester, or once you feel the kip start to pull on your belly - whichever happens faster. Kipping will stretch the front of our bodies- which is already getting stretched from the belly. No need to overstretch and put more demand on our bodies, including pressure on our abs and linea alba (which can contribute to coning).

    • If you have the strength, scaling to strict pull ups may be an option.

    • If you feel comfortable getting in/out of a band, that can be an option as well.

    • Ring rows are a great substitution as well- no worries with getting in & out of a band, and you can adjust your feet position mid-set if you're starting to cone.

    • Another option could be a seated pull down with a band and PVC.

    • I would not recommend scaling to the Open scale for the movement- jumping pull ups. There is a good chance that this dynamic movement could be a lot of extra stress on the pelvic floor. Unnecessary at this time.

    • If you noticed any coning, stop. Try modifying your breathing strategy and/or decrease the intensity of the movement. If coning continues, scale further.

    • Bottom line is no coning!

  • Thrusters: Focusing on breath is important here, use the piston breathing strategy!

    • Squat to a depth that is comfortable to you. Use a bench or box if necessary.

    • Use a weight that is NOT heavy.

    • Watch your alignment with going overhead. Have a coach or friend take a look at you- are you coning? How does it feel going overhead- sometimes going overhead also pulls on the belly.

    • If going overhead is not comfortable, scale to front squats.

Postpartum Athletes

  • If you aren't using a good strategy like the piston breathing strategy, please look up Julie Wiebe and the piston breathing strategy. It is literally a game changer.

  • Focus on moving at a steady pace through the workout. Being mindful of your strategy as the reps increase is important- as the workout continues, you'll fatigue and as the reps increase you'll fatigue. Fatigue will make it more challenging to perform piston strategy and can put additional stress on those weak/healing areas such as the pelvic floor and abdominals.

  • Chest-to-bar pull ups: First- how are regular pull ups for you? If regular pull ups are not part of your workouts yet, there's no need to add in the chest-to-bar component. Instead do pull ups as you have been in training, continuing to focus on breath with movement.

    • I don't recommend kipping movements until you've been assessed by a pelvic floor PT and cleared to try them. Too much of that force and stretching too soon on a healing diastasis is going to keep it from healing and closing.

    • There are several options for pull ups if you "don't have them". Ring rows, banded pull ups, pull downs with a band and PVC, etc.

    • I would not recommend scaling to the Open scale for the movement- jumping pull ups. There is a good chance that this dynamic movement could be a lot of extra stress on the pelvic floor. Unnecessary at this time.

    • If you noticed any coning, stop. Try modifying your breathing strategy and/or decrease the intensity of the movement. If coning continues, scale further.

    • Bottom line is no coning!

  • Thrusters: Focusing on breath is important here, use the piston breathing strategy!

    • Squat to a depth that is comfortable to you. Use a bench or box if necessary. Keep good alignment- do you have a butt wink? Don't go so low. Focus on getting that pelvic floor to work with your breathing.

    • Use a weight that is NOT heavy.

    • Watch your alignment with going overhead. Have a coach or friend take a look at you- are you coning?

    • If going overhead is not comfortable, scale to front squats.

Coaches - 

When considering scaling an athlete, try to keep in the mind what functional movement is being performed. Is it a variation of the squat, hinge, pull, push, etc.? Try to maintain the integrity of the functional movement, while modifying it a level that is appropriate for your individual athletes. If you would like to learn more about coaching pregnant and postpartum athletes, please look into Brianna Battles' coaching courses here. For questions regarding scaling/modifications for the injured athlete, please feel free to contact me and/or work directly with the athlete's healthcare provider.

***All pregnant and postpartum women should have their physician's approval to workout. If you don't, please do not workout. If you have any physician restrictions, to ignore them is placing you and your baby's health in jeopardy.

***I recommend all postpartum women get assessed by a pelvic floor physical therapist. Find one by you here. I also highly recommend finding a Pregnancy & Postpartum Athleticism coach by you to go over strategy with specific exercises, programming and recommendations. Find one here.

***At any sight of coning with any movement, stop. Stop if you begin experiencing "leaking", sensation of something "falling out" and/or anything that doesn't feel right.Take more breaks as needed, if it's due to fatigue. Focus on your breathing and movement strategy. If you continue to have symptoms, scale the movement more or stop the workout. If you haven't consulted with a healthcare provider and/or postpartum fitness specialist regarding your symptoms, please do.

If you have specific questions regarding this post, please comment below or contact via social media or email. I'm happy to help- but remember my advice is not accompanied with a hands-on assessment, which is the best way to make recommendations. If you are interested in meeting with me, please contact me. If you're interested in finding an appropriate healthcare provider/coach, please contact me and I will do my best to help you find one.