CrossFit Open Workout Considerations

The Open has begun. An exciting time to test yourself, cheer on your friends, and partake in some loud and energized events. 

A time when, if you're pregnant or early postpartum, can be really hard mentally. You know you could probably do the scaled version, but should you? See my last post for reasons why I would recommend revisiting why you're doing the Open this year if you're pregnant or early (less than 2 years) postpartum.

If you are pregnant or postpartum but still want to take part, each week I'll be outlining some considerations in a Facebook Live on Friday's at 2:15pm MST, as well as posting a summary here on my blog.

First off, my disclaimer. Your body is unique, and you and your professional medical team know best what is and isn't appropriate for you at this time, and/or what you are cleared for. Please consult with your Pelvic Health Physiotherapist, Midwife, OB, or Doctor to ensure what you're partaking in is right for your body. I am only providing suggestions on possible ways to modify the workouts - there aren't THE modifications, they are just some ideas on ways you can alter the workouts that may work better for some bodies. The best modifications will be unique to you, and will involve assessing your breathing technique, your alignment, and your execution of the movement itself.

Let's get to the workouts.

18.1 - 20 min AMRAP

  • 8 toes-to-bar (scaled: hanging knee raises)
  • 10 DB hang clean and jerks (Rx: 35lb, scaled: 20lb)
  • 12 cal row

Modification

20 minutes of continuous movement (not balls to the wall - form before fast)

  • 8 KB swings OR 8 ring rows
  • 10 DB hang clean OR 10 DB single arm push press
  • 12 cal row OR bike for equivalent time

Considerations

  • Toes-to-bar: Consider the huge amount of pressure these place on your core and pelvic floor. If you insist on doing them, at the very least have someone watch your stomach for coning. [What is coning? It looks like a little mountain ridge popping out of the center of your stomach, usually most visible at the belly button but it can travel both above and below the belly button. It appears due to the internal pressure being forced out through the separating abdominal muscles (diastasis recti)].
  • Hang clean and jerks: Consider lowering your weight to one that you are easily able to breath through, *no breath holding! Consider how well you can get the weight overhead for repeated reps without sacrificing your alignment, and thereby affecting your pelvic floor pressure and functioning of.
  • Row: Again have someone watch your abdomen for coning, and ensure you are implementing a breathing technique that supports your core and pelvic floor. An alternative if you continue to experience coning, or if you're pregnant to the point it's uncomfortable, would be to swap out the row for a different cardio machine - bike, high incline treadmill walk, etc.

18.2 - 12 minute time cap

  • A) 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10
  • Dumbbell squats (Rx: 35lb, Scaled: 20lb)
  • Bar-facing burpees (Scaled: stepping burpees allowed)
  • B) 1-rep-max clean

Modification

  • A) 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10
  • Dumbbell squats
  • Incline burpees, with step over bar
  • B) For remaining time left, perform an EMOM of 5 DB hang clean

Considerations

  • DB squat: Consider lowering the weight, changing your breathing pattern to recruit your pelvic floor and avoid bearing down on your pelvic floor, assess your alignment for better functioning of your pelvic floor and core system, and consider shortening your range of motion (not going down as far).
  • Burpees: With burpees, consider the pressure they cause on your core, and with jumping over the bar consider the impact of the jump on your pelvic floor and also on your pelvic joints which are loose due to pregnancy hormones (relaxin). A less core intensive alternative would be incline burpees, and a more pelvis friendly alternative would be stepping over the bar.
  • 1-rep-max clean: I'm just going to say it... don't do it. What are you testing at this point by doing a 1RM? What are you risking to your pelvic floor? Pelvic floor aside, cleans are an explosive and powerful movement, one where completely healthy athletes who've never been pregnant before have injured themselves. I am not against max testing, but why risk damage to your body for this one thing. I PROMISE you, 1-rep-max testing is still going to be a thing when your body is ready for it:)

Week three, and it's a little insane on the skipping, no?! Even if you aren't pregnant or postpartum this is a crazy amount of volume for your pelvic floor. As I've mentioned before I experienced incontinence well before having a baby, and I have a feeling a ton of women will be slightly fearing this workout. If you are - I highly recommend finding a pelvic health physio in your area to help you with any incontinence issues - it's not normal at ANY age, and a pelvic health physio can help you address this.

18.3 - 14 min time cap:

2 rounds:

  • 100 double-unders
  • 20 OH squats
  • 100 double-unders
  • 12 ring muscle-ups
  • 100 double-unders
  • 20 DB snatches
  • 100 double-unders
  • 12 bar muscle-ups

My take one it is...

Modification for 18.3

1-2 rounds, 14 minute time cap of continuous movement (not as hard as you can go for 14 minutes):

  • 10-15 calorie assault bike OR 250-350m row
  • 20 goblet squat or front squat
  • 10-15 calorie assault bike OR 250-350m row
  • 12 ring rows + 12 floor press
  • 10-15 calorie assault bike OR 250-350m row
  • 20 DB snatches OR 20 DB hang snatches
  • 10-15 calorie assault bike OR 250-350m row
  • 12 ring rows + 12 floor press

Considerations

  • Double-unders AND single-unders are intense for your pelvic floor, and in my opinion, should be left out of any pregnancy programming, and while it can be introduced into a postpartum program when the individual woman is ready for it, and has worked up to it, it should be introduced slowly and systematically. Definitely not 100 at a time, for multiple rounds. It comes down to risk - I want mom's to know why we're asking them to be kind to their pelvic floors - they've gone through a lot no matter if you had a vaginal birth or cesarian, and even if you don't have diagnosed prolapse, it's still just not worth (in my opinion) the stress on the pelvic floor.
  • OH squats I would take down to a front squat (bar) or goblet squat (KB or DB) - reason being is an overhead position can mean more rib thrusting, versus a front squat where your core is definitely forced to work, but in better alignment.
  • The deal with the muscle-ups and variations is similar to the discussion on pull-ups from last week and the pressure it puts on your abdomen.
  • DB snatches may be okay for most, but I would again consider load, and perhaps doing a hang snatch as well.

18.4 - 9 min time cap:

21-15-9

  • Deadlifts 155lb (Scaled: 95lb)
  • Handstand push-ups (Scaled: hand-release push-ups)

21-15-9

  • Deadlifts 205lb (Scaled: 135lb)
  • 50-ft handstand walk (Scaled: bear crawl)

My take one it is...

Modification for 18.4

9 minute time cap of continuous movement (not as hard as you can go for 9 minutes):

11-7-5

  • Deadlifts at a reduced weight
  • Push-ups, incline push-ups, or DB push-press

11-7-5

  • Deadlifts at a reduced weight
  • Farmer Carry for 50-ft

Considerations

  • Volume: Without even looking at the individual exercises themselves, it works out to 45 reps of each exercise per round, and 180 reps TOTAl for the whole workout. 90 of those 180 reps are just deadlifts. So. Much. Volume. So my first recommendation? Tone down the volume. Above in my modification I've cut the volume in half, for a total of *only* 92 reps for the whole workout, leaving *only* 46 deadlifts.
  • Deadlifts: With the volume issue addressed above, the next thing to take note of is the weight. While the scaled weights of 95lb and 135lb may fall under 50% of your 1RM, the point isn't really about what your 1RM is, or was, it's about the load you're putting on your pelvic floor and core, period. 135lb, whether 75% or 50% of your 1RM, is still 135lb being moved over and over for 46 (or 90) reps. That is A LOT of weight. 90 reps of 95lb is 8,550lbs moved. WHOA. I know. I'm throwing a lot of math out today, but bottom line: volume and reps add up to a lot of load for your pelvic floor. So please consider reducing that load, giving yourself time to work up to form, load, and reps, before putting that level of strain on your system. In case you haven't followed previous weeks yet: we're in this for the long-term game, be kind to your body today so you can continue to play for years to come, hopefully symptom free (or at least close to).
  • Handstand push-ups & bear crawl: Core pressure considerations here again - how much pressure if being created, are you coning, are you able to control it with breathing and alignment?