Welcome to the second week of #WorkoutWednesday - last week seemed to have a good response, so we continue on!
Again, special thanks to my hubby, Bill Bacarella, owner & head coach of Light the Fire CrossFit, for allowing me to use his programming for this series of blog posts.
Warm up: Start practicing that piston breathing!
I do not recommend pregnant women perform double unders, and even go so far to recommend scaling singles as well. My preferred scaling is another monostructural (cardio) movement such as the bike or rower. - Look for a blog post on this soon!
I also recommend that postpartum women should be cleared by a pelvic floor physical therapist prior to jumping rope. Once an athlete is cleared to jump rope, begin with practicing single, singles and build from there.
I would have an athlete do this for the 30 second warm up.
Squats should be performed to a depth that is asymptomatic, and they are able to keep good alignment. Use a box or bench if necessary.
Inchworm is intended to warm up the posterior chain, particularly the hamstrings.
This will become uncomfortable and impractical as the belly grows, not to mention a chance for coning in the plank position.
I would instead recommend pregnant athletes to perform a modified seated straddle stretch, to a depth and width that is comfortable.
Postpartum this should be ok. Go for a comfortable stretch, not aggressive! During the plank position, focus on engaging the core and pelvic floor with piston breathing.
Strength - Deadlifts:
For my pregnant athletes, I recommend finding the 70% of their 1RM, and use that as their new "1RM" for calculating percentages during pregnancy. Please remember, THIS IS A GUIDELINE, NOT ABSOLUTE. If at any point there are symptoms or a movement is compromised, please find an alternative.
Sumo style stance may be more comfortable and make extra room for the belly.
For postpartum women, choose a weight that can be performed with good technique, keeping good alignment.
I do not recommend "maxing out" early in postpartum- I'm 8.5 months postpartum and haven't truly "maxed out" yet. Instead, I would recommend "repping out" a weight that feels moderate, as long as you can perform with good technique and strategy. There are apps that you can use to "calculate" an adjusted 1RM based on the number of reps performed at a certain weight.
The deadlift is meant to strengthen the posterior chain - aka glutes & hamstrings mainly. They should not be felt in the back. I like to use the cue "press down into the floor" to help engage the posterior chain. Glutes are super important for pelvic floor health, among lots of other things!
Exhale throughout the pull. Inhale the barbell down.
Coaches, emphasis should be on quality of movement, NOT quantity of reps or weight.
The goal of this workout would be to stay moving the entire time. Ideally getting the same score or better each round.
There's not really anything I would do differently between pregnant and postpartum athletes.
Watch for coning with rowing. If it's present, please use the bike for all the rounds.
Breathing strategy with rowing: exhale on pull, inhale back in.
Dumbbell thrusters should be performed at a moderate weight, that will allow the athlete to perform the movement 45-60 seconds.
Inhale down into the squat, exhale as you stand and press the dumbbells overhead.
Watch for coning while going overhead- if present, modify to dumbbell squat.
Use a box or bench if necessary to maintain alignment and decrease symptoms.
In overhead position, weight should be stacked over shoulders, shoulders over ribs, ribs over pelvis.
Here’s what I did for the workout, I use an app to log my workouts and keep track. You can see the weights I used, how many reps last set and the weight I used for the WOD. This is what worked for me- I was fairly strong athlete pre-pregnancy but my cardio sucked coming back after a baby!
That's a wrap & overview of one day of CrossFit programming. Please note that CrossFit gyms program very differently, some with minimal to no specific strength training, less/more hands-on coaching. This post and it's contents are to be used for inspiration, and not specific instruction.
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 course 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.