This week I opted to go with today’s CrossFit mainsite workout. I thought the couplet was some more unique movements & would give new and additional perspective! I know there are some gyms that follow CrossFit mainsite's programming, and some individuals may follow it on their own (unaffiliated with any box). Please note that I added the warm-up, mobility and strength work based on the mainsite WOD.
Plank hold: If athletes begin to cone with planks, modify them to an incline style to decrease the demand on the core.
Pregnant Athlete options:
Athletes who had several strict pull-ups prior to pregnancy may do strict pull-ups.
Strict pull-ups with a band (be careful getting in & out of the band).
Seated pull downs with a PVC
Whatever option is chosen, please no coning!
If postpartum athletes can hang from the bar with no coning, I recommend giving pull-ups with a band a try if they feel comfortable.
Exhale through the pull, inhale down.
OHS: Go to the depth that feels comfortable for the athlete.
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!
Handstand hold: 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.
Strict knees to elbows:
I would not recommend pregnant and newly postpartum athletes perform strict knees to elbows.
For postpartum athletes who have a diastasis recti (DR) and have seen a PFPT, if you have any exercises they’ve given you, this would be a great place to do them!
I would also recommend postpartum athletes focus on hanging from the bar in a hollow position without coning if possible. You could do this for :25 seconds, approximately the time it would take to perform x10 strict knees to elbows. Break that :25 up or decrease the amount of time if needed to avoid symptoms.
Once that becomes easier, start doing leg raises or knees to chest.
Watch for coning!
There should be no symptoms. Focus on breathing out and not holding the breath!
Another alternative would be to do a movement that mimics the flexion motion, such as slamballs or KB swings.
I would double the amount of reps if substituting with one of these movements.
Exhale coming up on the slamballs/while swinging the KB away from the body.
I would not recommend pregnant athletes who are showing or early postpartum athletes perform wall walks.
Risk vs. reward. The risks associated with going upside down, stress on the core are not worth it IMO.
For pregnant & early postpartum athletes, I would recommend a plank or other isometric hold instead.
See my previous blog post on training the core during pregnancy & postpartum).
Examples: Planks (modify to incline), Side planks (modify to incline or go on hands and knees), overhead holds, bridge holds, farmers carry hold, etc.
Perform the hold for :30, about the average time it would take to perform the movement.
Focus on breathing strategy with movements- there should be no coning!
For postpartum athletes who are further along in their recovery & rehab, wall walks may be appropriate.
Alignment should be a priority, as well as keeping the core engaged. In the finish position, the athlete should have ankles stacked over knees, knees over pelvis, pelvis over ribs, ribs over shoulders, shoulders over hands.
If an athlete cannot plank or handstand hold without symptoms, I would have them do an alternative movement for wall walks.
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.