BIRTHFIT Pregnancy and Postpartum Recommendations for CrossFit Open 17.1
It’s every sadist’s favorite time of year—Open Season! And if you happen to be a pregnant or postpartum sadist, then you are doubly in luck! BIRTHFIT has compiled versions of 17.1 for each trimester including the immediate postpartum, or 4th trimester.
We have a few important notes first:
- The Open is a time for community. If you are a pregnant or immediate postpartum (less than a year) athlete, the 2017 Regionals and Games are less likely to be on your radar. So have FUN during these 5 weeks. Don’t take yourself so seriously!
- Pregnancy and postpartum are seasons for training, not testing. I know this seems counter to the intent of the Open but it’s important to think big picture here: athletic goals for pregnancy are centered on a solid, healthy birth and an optimal postpartum recovery. Deviating from clean, virtuous form for an extra rep (and 15 more places on the leaderboard) is not appropriate for the pregnant or immediate postpartum athlete.
- Just because you CAN do a movement, doesn’t mean it’s appropriate. For instance, the burpee. Even if you don’t have a bump, burpees are one of those movements that are not appropriate for pregnancy and training for birth. As you pull your feet back towards your hands on the return to standing, you are primarily using Rectus and Hip Flexors. Training abdominal flexion like this over time leads to greater issues with Diastasis Rectus Abdominus (DRA) and ultimately doesn’t answer the “why” behind training for the pregnant athlete. As the bump progresses, baby’s weight on the connective tissue can be problematic, leading to more severe DRA. Instead, we are asking you to work with your bump and gravity to get the stimulus of the horizontal push in a smart, safe way. Traditional box jumps may not be appropriate as well. Jumping from 2 feet up to a box can irritate the round ligament, which anchors the uterus to the pelvis. Round ligament pain is already a common ailment of pregnancy but can be made worse through high volume box jumps. Instead, we are asking you to put the onus of the work on your posterior chain and perform step ups.
- These are general guidelines. If you need to further modify time domain or rest, please do! This is a time for listening to your body, connecting with baby, and walking away from the gym feeling empowered.
Okay, so now that we are ready to have fun, train for birth, and rehabilitate postpartum making pretty work out of appropriate movements!
1st Trimester (2-12 weeks)
- DB snatches (reduce weight as needed)
- Pushups then box step up and overs
- Rest 30-60 seconds between rounds focusing on belly breathing
2nd Trimester (12-26 weeks)
- DB snatches (reduce weight as needed; maybe pull from a stack of plates, not the ground)
- Incline push ups then box step ups (not over)
- Rest 30-60 seconds between rounds (may prefer shorter rest since the physiological adaptations are in place and energy has typically returned by this time)
3rd Trimester (27-42 weeks)
- DB snatches (reduce weight and pull from stack of plates)
- Wall pushups then box step ups to a lower box or stack of plates
- Rest 60 seconds between rounds focusing on belly breathing (visualize this as labor prep)
4th Trimester (6-20 weeks postpartum)
- Warm up with the Functional Progression
- DB snatches (reduce weight)
- Incline or wall pushups (steepen the incline if DRA is irritated or core starts to fail) then box step up and over (use a lower box or stack of plates)
- Take 5 solid belly breaths between each round as rest
Let's be clear if you are less than two weeks postpartum, this is not a time to train. If you are less than 8 weeks postpartum, we hope that you have established at least two weeks of proper diaphragm breathing and movement foundation patterns. As we said earlier, this is a time for community. Embrace the people in your community, cheer them on, and play smart. If you have specific, individualized questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your BIRTHFIT team!