Here's to another week of programming, working out, training or movement. Whichever best applies to you, I hope you find this series helpful.
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.
Dynamic warm-up: High knees/Alt toe touch leg kicks, Butt kicks/Alt toe touch, Side shuffle, Carioca, Jog/standing long jump, Single leg hopping, Jog/Back pedal.
Due to the nature of this warm-up being so much impact (similar to running), I would recommend pregnant athletes (past first trimester) ride the bike or do the rower for the duration instead.
I would not recommend newly postpartum athletes perform this warm-up until cleared by a pelvic floor physical therapist (PFPT).
Those that are cleared to run, should be able to do so without any symptoms (leaking, pubic pain, etc).
10/10/10: x10 air squats / x10 pass throughs with PVC / x10 OHS with PVC
Use a box/bench/ball to squat to if necessary.
Handstand holds: This one is a little tricky to scale/make recommendations on.
I would not recommend performing handstand holds once the belly starts getting "big". I know this is vague and will vary from athlete to athlete, so please keep reading.
No matter how comfortable an athlete was with handstands prior to being pregnant, the belly completely changes how weight is distributed. This could cause the athlete to compensate via losing good alignment.
IMO, the risk of going upside down later in the pregnancy is not worth the "reward" of performing the movement.
I would recommend subbing a movement such as an overhead hold for a similar effect, with decreased risk.
Consider that kicking up/coming down may be painful/uncomfortable with those who have been having pubic symphsis symptoms.
Discontinue/modify movement at signs of coning or other symptoms that can't be managed with strategy.
For pregnant athletes, I would switch this movement to holding a supine bridge instead once the belly starts to show or if being prone (on stomach) is uncomfortable sooner.
Newly postpartum athletes- focus on engaging the pelvic floor and TA, and then slowly "add" extremities in from there.
I would recommend when adding the extremities, to focus on either upper body or lower body only at first, and as this gets easier/more comfortable, add more.
Athletes that have a diastasis that is still healing should be mindful of their strategy, breath and alignment in this position.
I would recommend a plank hold or similar movement for pregnant athletes.
With any athletes, watch for coning or other symptoms!
Hollow holds puts an incredible amount of demand and pressure on our abdominals/abdomen, which isn't needed with a growing baby!
For those early in their pregnancy, consider modifying the hollow hold by bending one or both legs, bring the arms down to the side or assuming a tuck position.
Watch for coning!
I would not recommend postpartum athletes perform this movement until at least 4 months postpartum, if not longer.
Would also recommend getting assessed for a diastasis & cleared to perform by a pelvic floor PT.
I would recommend most athletes considering modifying the rep scheme, especially those who are in the second/third trimesters, and those who are postpartum
I would not recommend performing all the reps as prescribed unless far in postpartum & has had no symptoms for a while. The amount of work to be performed in one minute plus resting is very demanding.
Choose a rep scheme that allows you to work for 30-40 seconds at a comfortable pace. Don't be afraid to modify that rep scheme mid-WOD either!
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.
Squats: Should be performed to a depth that comfortable and symptom-free.
Use a box/ball/bench if needed.
Inhale down, exhale up.
This was a tough one for me to do at this point postpartum. I was just starting to do pull-ups with the band. The combo of pull-ups and push ups would tank my core pretty quickly I knee, so I opted for a modified rep scheme. It was definitely one where I felt the need to check my ego even before the workout- by scaling the reps and not pushing it on these gymnastic movements.
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.