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The CrossFit Open 23.2A & B for the Pregnant & Postpartum Athlete

On to week 2 of the CrossFit Open! Here is the workout:

Part A: 15 min. AMRAP

5 burpee pull-ups

10 50-ft shuttle runs

*Add 5 burpee pull-ups each round

Part B: In 5 minutes

1 rep max thruster

Before diving into strategies for 23.2, 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.

Now, on to the workout for pregnant and postpartum athletes. Couplets like in Part A can be really fun (and easy to remember what’s next-ha!), but just because it’s simple, don’t underestimate it-it can get pretty high on volume!

Remember that you can rest if you need it and try to maintain a good breathing strategy through the movements.

This is just ONE option on how you can adjust this workout to fit what you need:

PART A: 15 min. AMRAP (MOVE FOR QUALITY vs against the clock)

5 incline burpees

5 ring rows

10 cal. bike

*add 5 incline burpees and ring rows per round

PART B: 5 min. EMOM

Every minute on the minute, perform 5-10 dumbbell thrusters

Incline burpees: Breathe throughout each rep. Adjust the incline and range of motion that you are working through as needed. *Due to the high impact and body positioning for burpees, they tend to put more pressure into the linea alba and the pelvic floor (e.g. coning of the abdomen, pain, leaking, and/or heaviness in the pelvic region), and they just don't feel good once that baby bump is present. Read more on burpees in pregnancy in THIS BLOG.

Ring row: Try to breathe as you row (vs. holding your breath).

*Even though you may still feel okay doing pull-ups, the kipping movement and hanging from the bar puts quite a bit of stress on already vulnerable tissue in pregnancy and postpartum. For more on pull-ups, read THIS BLOG.

Bike: You can sub another movement like rowing, step ups, ski erg, walking (yes, this counts!) etc. for the 10 calories.

*Even though you may still feel okay running short distances, the impact from running can place extra stress on the pelvic floor, and the stopping and starting with shuttle runs can sometimes feel tricky to manage breathing and pressure. For more on postpartum running, read THIS BLOG, and for more on running in pregnancy, read THIS BLOG.

Dumbbell thruster: Breathe! Try exhaling (lift pelvic floor, draw belly button in and up) as you come out of the bottom of the squat and push overhead. I suggested the rep range of 5-10 each minute to allow you to decide what feels best 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 as you go overhead a lot or you are feeling any pulling through your abdomen, a banded squat + chest press is another option.

*Even though lifting with a barbell and/or lifting heavier weights might feel okay for you, finding a 1-rep max likely isn't the most appropriate option for pregnancy or while rebuilding postpartum.

For more on lifting weights in pregnancy, read THIS BLOG, and navigating a barbell HERE.

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 all ways you can learn to “listen to your body”. How each exercise should be adjusted for each individual is going to vary greatly based on their experiences, and it’s one way I help my clients navigate exercise during this chapter. Being intentional about what is most appropriate for you and your body can help you maintain activity, without pain or symptoms, and help with recovery postpartum. Remember that this won’t be forever, just for now and it can really help set you up long term! 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! Remember to enjoy the community atmosphere and if you don't feel like participating, don't!


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