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The CrossFit Open 22.1 for the Pregnant & Postpartum Athlete

Here we go! The 2022 CrossFit Open has officially begun.

Even though there are scaled options for each of the workouts, pregnancy and postpartum are very different seasons that deserve different considerations than random lists of exercises that are okay or exercises that should be avoided.

Before diving into strategies for 22.1, 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 or trying to prove something early on postpartum.

  • 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.

  • Think about the risk vs. the reward of doing each movement and whether or not it will serve your long term goals.

  • If you are newly postpartum, the Open workouts should NOT be your first workouts back in the gym. Regardless of how you modify them, there are a lot of factors that make them unlikely to be appropriate right away.

22.1 Open Workout

15 min. AMRAP

3 wall walks

12 dumbbell snatches

15 box jump-overs

Here is one way (there are SO many options here!) you can make this work for where you are at:

15 min. AMRAP (moving for quality)

6 inchworms

12 dumbbell hang snatches

15 step-ups

Inchworms: From standing, walk hands out to the top of a push-up, then walk feet up towards hands. Depending on what stage you are at, walking out to the top of a push-up may not feel great, so you can try performing it with your legs wide (to make more room for belly), or inclined against a wall.

*Due to the high demand of wall walks, they can put more pressure and stress into the linea alba and the pelvic floor (e.g. coning of the abdomen, leaking, and/or heaviness in the pelvic region). Laying flat on the ground isn’t appropriate once your belly has popped out and likely would be very uncomfortable anyways. Since your center of gravity shifts in pregnancy, it can be much more difficult to find balance, making it a riskier movement.

Dumbbell hang snatch: Breathe! You can try exhaling as you pull the dumbbell up and inhaling on the way down to maintain a steady breathing pattern (if that feels good for you).

*going overhead can put more pressure into the linea alba that is already vulnerable in this stage, so if you catch yourself flaring your rib cage up and arching your back excessively as you go overhead or you are feeling any pulling through your abdomen, dumbbell high pulls or dumbbell cleans are other options.

*Decrease the weight as needed.

Step-ups: Try exhaling as you step up to the box. Adjust the box height as needed; if you are experiencing any symphysis pubis dysfunction, lower the the height or perform marches instead.

*Even though you may still feel okay doing box jumps (even at a low height), they put a lot of stress on already vulnerable tissue in pregnancy and postpartum. Remember: just because you can, it doesn't mean it's appropriate.

**For more in-depth information and considerations on jumping during pregnancy and postpartum, check out THIS BLOG.**

If you experience any of the following symptoms (even if just a little bit), it may be time to make an adjustment, switch to another exercise, or consult with your OB, pelvic floor physical therapist or coach:

  • Coning or doming along the midline of the abdomen

  • Pulling sensations in the abdomen

  • ANY amount of unintentional leaking (urine or feces)

  • Pelvic pain or pressure

  • Heaviness or a bulge feeling in the vagina

  • Pain during or after exercise (back, hips, pelvic, belly)

  • Fatigue, exhaustion, or excessive soreness-this is likely a sign you need to back off a bit

  • Spotting or bleeding

Other things to be mindful of (as they may not be the most appropriate during pregnancy and postpartum):

  • Holding your breath

  • Working to complete failure/exhaustion

These are ways you can learn to “listen to your body”.

Remember that this won’t be forever, just for now and it can really help set you up long term!

As far as guidance around whether or not specific exercises are okay or how to adjust them, it will really be very individual and that is one way I help my clients navigate exercise during this chapter.

Making informed decisions about what is most appropriate for you and your body can help you maintain activity, without pain or symptoms, and help with recovery postpartum.

Want more info on how you can navigate symptoms, exercise, and your journey? Fill out this form to schedule a FREE call with me to discuss how you can get better guidance with exercise and managing symptoms in pregnancy!

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


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