18.3 has been announced...and I'm not surprised by it. My husband and I were talking earlier this week about how weeks 1 and 2 of the Open have been very friendly to the community as a whole. But honestly, the Open is find the fittest athletes to go to the Regionals, the Games and be crowned fittest on Earth. So that's where 18.3 comes in, it's time to separate those who deserve a bid to Regionals from the rest of the community. 18.3 will be fun to watch, because there will be people who get their first double under, muscle up and/or pull up. However for all of my fellow athletes out there who are nursing an injury, growing a human or recovering from growing a human, please continue to read.

Injured Athletes

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

Shoulder/arm injury:

  • This is going to be a tough WOD if you have a shoulder/arm injury. Overhead squats, muscle ups/pull ups and DB snatch will wreak havoc on shoulders.

  • If kipping bothers you- I'd highly recommend going scaled at the very minimum, if not considering ring rows instead of the bar work. If you are strong enough, you may be able to complete the overhead squats and double unders Rx, take that as an Rx score and perform the rest of the workout scaled. But if the bar work is going to be troublesome for you, the overhead squats will likely be as well. These are also a little heavier than the 95/65 we've seen overhead squats at in the past.

  • I recommend taking your initial 100 double unders as your score and then modifying after that.

Hip/knee/leg injury:

  • This is also going to be a tough WOD for those who have a lower body injury.

  • If jumping bothers you, I would recommend scaling to singles at the minimum, even better to the bike/rower. If you scale to the bike/rower, perform that movement for 75-90 seconds (the amount of time it would take to complete the 100 DUs). Singles might be alright because there is less impact compared to DU.

  • If the overhead squats may be an issue, consider scaling the weight and/or the depth.

  • I do not recommend any athlete push through pain/injury, but understand those on the Regional bubble may.

Back injury:

  • Depending on the type of back injury you have, this workout may not be too bad.

  • Focus on alignment with the DU- keep shoulders stacked over ribs, ribs over pelvis.

  • The overhead squats are heavier, but will probably not be much of an issue. Remember to keep the core engaged- pull your belly button up towards your ribs and tighten your abdominals as if someone was going to sucker punch you in the gut. Don't hold your breath!

  • Squat down on the DB snatch. Even though there's not a ton of reps, you don't want to put extra strain on the back.

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.

  • Double Unders: Please do not do DUs. Please consider not doing singles. Please consider scaling to another monostructural movement that has minimal impact. Risk vs reward mindset comes into play here- there's no need to put additional stress on the pelvic floor and pelvis with the impact of jumping. Perform the monostructural movement for 75-90 seconds, and then move on to the next thing.

  • Overhead Squats: Scale the weight as needed. These should be performed with good alignment observed. Scaling the depth of the squat may also be necessary, especially those towards the end of the pregnancy or with pelvic issues. If performing overhead squats is symptomatic or you cannot perform with good technique, consider scaling to another version of the squat that you can perform with good technique and no symptoms.

  • Muscle Ups/Pull Ups: You really shouldn't kip these, unless you're less than 12 weeks pregnant. If you are less than 12 weeks pregnant, I'd recommend minimizing the kip on these- more kip = more stretch and stress on the abdominals, which are already going to be getting those naturally from that baby growing! I'm going to repeat myself here- YOU REALLY SHOULDN'T DO THESE!

    • If you have strict pull ups, consider subbing those in at a ratio of 1 strict pull up per 3 kipping. However if you start to cone, STOP.

    • Some other pulling modification is necessary here- perhaps ring rows or bent over rows. Whatever the modification, you should be able to perform with no coning or any other symptoms.

  • DB Snatch: Scale the weight as appropriate. Scaling the DB snatch to a hang DB snatch might be a good idea for those whose bellies are getting in the way and making getting all the way down to the floor difficult. This could also be scaled to a DB clean & jerk, similar to the first week.

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.

  • Double Unders: I really recommend not performing these unless you have been seen by a pelvic floor physical therapist and cleared to start them. If you have been cleared to start jump rope, please start with singles! Try a single, single. Work with those and slowly start string reps together as long as you have no symptoms. LEAKING DURING JUMP ROPE IS COMMON BUT NOT NORMAL. IF YOU ARE LEAKING, THIS IS A SYMPTOM. PLEASE STOP AND SEE A PELVIC FLOOR PHYSICAL THERAPIST!

    • Jumping rope is something that I really wouldn't recommend trying until 3-4 months postpartum at a minimum.

    • If you're symptomatic with jumping, scale to another monostructural movement for 75-90 seconds.

  • Overhead Squats: How does your alignment look here? How's your breathing strategy?

    • 80#s is a bit heavier than we're used to seeing overhead squats at in the Open, plus you have to get it up there. This would be a good movement to scale unless you're 4-5 months postpartum and strong enough.

    • Watch your alignment and depth- are you butt winking? Butt winking indicates a loss of lumbar/pelvic stability, which is going to put more stress on our pelvic organs & increase risk/likelihood of symptoms. Bottoming out in the bottom of the squat is not a good thing.

  • Muscle Ups/Pull Ups: Have you been assessed by a PPA coach and/or pelvic floor physical therapist for a diastasis?

    • If you have a diastasis, I would not recommend kipping. Kipping before a diastasis is healed is only going to put additional stress on that healing tissue and make it hard to heal, or possibly even take steps back.

    • Can you hang from the bar without coning? If no, ring rows or some other pulling movement not on the bar would be good.

    • If you can hang from a bar with no coning but diastasis is still healing, banded strict pull ups may be an option for you.

    • I would not recommend muscle ups to a postpartum athlete, unless they are well into their journey and able to perform kipping pull ups with no symptoms. Muscle ups require a bigger kip = more stress on the anterior abdominals. Performing a modified muscle up/drill could be an appropriate substitute, depending on the athlete and the drill.

  • DB Snatch: Scale the weight as appropriate. This could also be scaled to a DB clean & jerk, similar to the first week.

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. Take more breaks as needed, if it's due to fatigue. Focus on your breathing and movement strategy.

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.