I decided to take the programming from yesterday at our gym for today’s blog post. It had some more unusual elements compared to most of our programming, so I thought it would be interesting to see. The workout is for 9/11, in memory of the 343 emergency personnel who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
Special thanks to my hubby Bill Bacarella, owner and head coach of Light the Fire CrossFit for letting me use his programming for this blog series.
Dynamic warm-up: High knees/Alt toe touch leg kicks, Butt kicks/Alt toe touch, Side shuffle, Carioca, Jog/bear crawl, Jog/side lunge (groin stretch), 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).
Pass throughs/4-way shoulder: Probably will not have an issue here, modify to a comfortable shoulder and/or decrease band resistance.
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.
Laying on back, chest press with DBs.
Inhale down, exhale up.
Postpartum athletes, find an appropriate modification above, especially if a plank hold causes symptoms (coning).
Farmer’s carries: Choose a weight that can be done comfortably without strain or symptoms.
Scale weight as needed- this is definitely tough on the grip!
Muscle-ups: I would not recommend any pregnant athlete to do muscle-ups past the 1st trimester. The associated risks are not worth it IMO.
Pregnant athletes can sub to MU with rings on bands, or I would recommend ring rows.
Rings on bands: Hang rings from rig with bands, athlete sits on ground and goes through the “pull”, “transition” & “dip”. I tried to find a video of this but wasn’t able to find it in a quick search.
I don’t think the position that many MU transitions put the body in are a “reward” at this point.
Postpartum athletes, I would not recommend attempting a MU until pull-ups & CTB pull-ups are solid, with no symptoms.
Postpartum athletes may be able to perform MU transitions as long as there is no symptoms.
Power cleans: These are meant to be “heavy” but that is relative to every person, but does not cause symptoms.
I would want my pregnant & newly postpartum athletes to be able to perform the reps in at least sets of 2, if not unbroken.
Pregnant athletes may choose to perform high hang power cleans to avoid hitting the "bump".
Another option would be dumbbell hang power cleans- don't have to worry about hitting the bump!
Exhale throughout the pull & catch of the clean. Inhale the bar back down.
The "catch" of the clean can be a place where "leaking" could occur. Focus on breathing out to help decrease stress on the pelvic floor.
Avoid overextending at the top of the movement - fully open the hips, but keep the ribs stacked over the pelvis (no overarching of the back!).
I would not recommend a postpartum athlete go heavy until they are at least 6 months postpartum, no issues with leaking on lifts. The catch of heavy cleans can be a cause for leaking. If there is leaking, please adjust strategy and/or the weight!
Front squats: I would look for these to be done unbroken, pregnant or postpartum.
Inhale down, exhale up. As the weight gets heavier, athletes may feel more comfortable exhale throughout the movement, to avoid valsalva for athletes that are still recovering.
Pregnant athletes may modify to using a box, ball or bench as a target, decreasing the rang as needed.
Pregnant athletes may also be more comfortable with the barbell in a different position, such as the back rack or overhead. Find what feels best & has no symptoms!
Here is what I did for the workout yesterday. I’m 11.5 months postpartum, and have generally been a stronger athlete for most of my athletic career. 125# power cleans and front squats were heavy, but manageable for me to perform with no symptoms. I did muscle-up transitions, focusing on hitting each position and slowly trying to reverse the movement back down between reps.
It’s a tough workout, but that’s what we expect from a Hero WOD. Remember, tough doesn’t necessarily mean heavy. There are other ways to change the stimulus of a workout and make “tougher”. Many times lightening up the weight or decreasing the difficulty of a movement can make a workout tougher because it can be performed at a higher speed = higher intensity.
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.