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The CrossFit Open 20.5 for the Pregnant & Postpartum Athlete


It's the final week of the CrossFit Open and workout 20.5 has been released! Here's the workout:

For time (20 min. cap) Partitioned any way you like:

40 Ring Muscle Ups

80 Cal. Row

120 Wallballs

If this is your first time visiting, a little background on me:

Hey! My name is Anna Bolte and I have been in the fitness industry for nearly 10 years as a CrossFit Level 2 coach, Pregnancy and Postpartum Athleticism coach, certified Exercise Physiologist, and USAW Performance coach. After having my first baby and feeling lost and overwhelmed during those chapters, I shifted my coaching to have a focus on pregnant and postpartum women. I work with women locally (in Arkansas) and remotely online. It brings me so much joy to support and guide women through this season of life!

Before jumping into strategies for 20.5, I want to remind you of a few important things during this chapter:

  • Athlete brain is real, especially during a competitive time like the Open. The Open puts most athletes in a different mindset to allow them to push harder and faster than they normally would. Before going there, think about your current AND long term goals, way beyond pregnancy.

  • Pregnancy is not forever, but postpartum is. Just because you can do something right now, it doesn't necessarily mean you should.

  • Pregnancy and postpartum is a really great time to hone in on your movement strategies, as well as to build and maintain a solid foundation for your core and pelvic floor. This is to help set you up as best as you can for long term health, strength, function, and performance.

  • This is not the most appropriate time to PR a workout or hit a new max.

  • Risk vs. Reward. What is the benefit of doing an exercise that has potential risks? Can you remove your ego?

Now, on to the workout for pregnant and postpartum athletes. This is quite a bit of volume, but with a new twist of being able to partition the reps however you would like, so move for quality reps.

Note that this is just ONE option on how you can adjust this workout to fit what you need.

Partitioned any way (20 minute cap):

40 Ring rows + ring dips

80 Cal. row

120 Wallballs

Ring rows + ring dips: Try exhaling as you row up and again as you press out of the dip. If you can perform strict ring dips without any coning in the abdomen (or other symptoms), do that, otherwise, you can keep toes on the floor for assistance. Another substitute for ring muscle ups would be to set up low rings, using bands (instead of the normal straps), and mimic the muscle up movement while standing, kneeling, or sitting on the ground.

*Even though you may still feel okay doing ring muscle ups, they are a riskier movement and the kipping movement puts quite a bit of stress on already vulnerable tissue in pregnancy and postpartum. Remember: just because you can, it doesn't mean it's appropriate.

Rowing: Breathe! Try exhaling as you pull back. *It can be difficult to tell if your abdomen is coning as you row, so have someone watch you and if you do, try adjusting how you are breathing or stop more upright (compared to leaning back far).

Wallballs: Try exhaling as you come up out of the bottom of the squat and press the ball. Choose a weight that you can move for large sets.

*If wallballs are not comfortable, you can try adjusting a few different ways. You can make the squat shallower, you can take the press away (just perform a squat) or do a chest pass to the wall, you can omit the weight, or if you pregnant and have a hard time catching the ball, you can switch to dumbbells and perform thrusters. If you are having a hard time catching your breath on these, slow down a bit or do smaller sets of them.

***Things to watch for*** -heaviness/bulging feeling in your pelvic region -coning/doming of the abdomen -leaking -holding your breath -pain

If you do experience any of these, you can try a different strategy, but if nothing changes, stop the workout. Your long term health and performance are more important than this single workout.

As part of the #ppaopenchallenge, the Pregnancy and Postpartum Athleticism team and I will be providing you support, guidance, and strategies to use throughout the Open. We are here to cheer you on, where ever you are at in your life, and to challenge you to participate differently in these chapters.

Lastly, make it fun!! Enjoy the community atmosphere and if you don't feel like participating, don't!

I would love to hear your takeaways! Drop me a comment below!

Follow me on social media for more: Facebook & Instagram

Questions? Contact me at or set up a FREE Strategy Call HERE to help get you the guidance you need and deserve!

I am with you! <3


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