Welcome to the third week of #WorkoutWednesday - what questions do you guys have so far?
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.
For pregnant athletes, I recommend modifying the :30 of DU to another monostructural movement.
For postpartum athletes, I only recommend jumping rope if cleared by pelvic floor PT and has no symptoms.
Start with practicing single singles if cleared.
Squats should be performed to a depth that comfortable and symptom-free.
Use a box/ball/bench if needed.
The table top stretch may not be comfortable or appropriate for pregnant athletes- there is also a chance of coning as well.
An alternative would be to put a barbell up on the rig at waist height, or slightly higher.
The athlete will stand with their back to the barbell, place their hands behind them on the bar and step forward, to create a stretch in the front of the shoulders.
The box stretch may also be uncomfortable as well for pregnant athletes.
This can also be modified using a barbell on the rig- place the barbell higher, at or above squat height.
The athlete will stand facing the barbell, place their hands on the barbell in front of them, and step backward to create a stretch in the upper back/bottom of the shoulder.
Postpartum athletes (and all really) should perform stretches in a comfortable range.
Athletes should be exhaling throughout stretches- no holding the breath!
A classic and popular benchmark workout.
My goal for athletes here would be to keep a steady pace, and continuously moving throughout the 20 minutes.
For both pregnant & postpartum athletes, all movements should be performed without coning.
Pull-ups: I do not recommend kipping beyond the first trimester, due to the stretch and stress it puts on the abdominals.
Options for modifications:
Strict pull-ups – I used a ratio of 1 strict pull-up for every 3 kipping reps programmed. For a WOD like this, I’d do 2 pull-ups one round, then 3 pull-ups the next round. ***only for athletes who had several strict pull-ups prior to pregnancy and must be performed with no coning.
Strict pull-ups with a band (be careful getting in/out of the band)
Seated pull downs using a band and a PVC (band is attached to rig as if one was doing pull-ups, slide the PVC through the band and athlete sits under.
Try to start with arms as straight as possible, and pull down on PVC until it is below athlete’s chin, simulating a pull-up).Exhale through the pull, inhale down.
Push-ups: Elevate hands on dumbbells for all options performed on the floor once the belly is showing. Lower to depth of shoulders to the dumbbells.
Options for modifications:
Regular push-ups, elevating hands on dumbbells to make room for belly.
Push-ups on knees, still elevate hands on dumbbells.
Incline push-ups with hands on box, bench or wall.Inhale down, exhale up.
Perform to a comfortable depth with no symptoms.
Use a box/ball/bench if needed
Inhale down, exhale up.
I would not recommend pregnant athletes perform TTB/TTB variations or sit ups.
Since this is skill/strength work, I would opt to have athletes use a substitute that mimics a strengthening aspect vs a conditioning aspect.
I would use a different substitute for TTB/sit ups in a WOD setting compared to this situation.
I would recommend pregnant athletes perform an isometric contraction for abdominals.
Overhead hold (barbell or dumbbells)
Farmer’s carry/hold – single arm or double arm
Pallof press with a band
Whatever you choose to substitute, the athlete should be able to perform without symptoms and for the :30 with minimal to moderate effort.
Postpartum athletes can also use the above scale if they experience coning with hanging from bar or with hang leg/knee raises.
If postpartum athletes are able to hang with no symptoms, focus on active shoulders, hollow position and exhaling throughout the movement.
Focus should be on quality of movement- not quantity!
What I did
I used bands for the pull-ups, with a lot of focus on my breathing strategy. I modified the amount of reps for my push-ups, because I'm able to do them strict but do not want to push to failure at this time with my healing.
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.