Can You CrossFit Through Your Pregnancy?
I had a member this week approach me that her doctor reamed her out for wanting to continue CrossFitting during her next nine months. Meanwhile, we have a member here who is an OBGYN and will quickly tell you that it is doable while I, and another one of our coaches, have spent the better part of 2019 still training and modifying our workouts while pregnant. Always consult with your doctor first to make sure you are not a high risk and get the green light for moderate physical activity but it is absolutely doable if you meet the following…
- You were already doing CrossFit before getting pregnant. Do not start a new workout regimen with new movements you are not used to while you are preggo
- Check your ego and understand WHY you are working out. Just because you CAN do something does not always mean that you SHOULD.
- Keep your intensity low to moderate. If you feel like your heart rate is sky rocketing to the point you can no longer have a conversation, take a seat for a few seconds to catch your breath before moving on.
- Know how to scale and when. Either find a coach who has experience being pregnant/working with pregnant members or bookmark this article to reference as you enter each trimester.
You are probably extremely tired and maybe battling some nausea. Take a step back to understand that mental health will also play a factor during the next nine months and that some days a nap will be more beneficial than half-heartedly trudging through a workout. Do not let yourself feel guilty, there is a time and place for certain things and stressing about 5 workouts a week or not being last in the class is not the ideology right now. You should be working out because it makes you FEEL BETTER – if you are going to feel more beat up afterwards, take the rest day. Your diet may also have shifted from meats and vegetables to straight pasta because that’s all you can currently keep down, which will affect your energy levels AND THAT’S FINE. Everything will be back to normal soon so just listen to your body for right now and do not add any more stress than you already have.
Cut Kipping and any hyperextension, the risk of separating your abs further is not worth it. The point of kipping pullups is to get more reps in at a faster rate and right now that is not your goal. Again focus on intention which for pulling will be maintaining strength. Sub strict pullups, ring rows, or banded face pulls. GHDSU and T2B can be cut down to planks, KB side bends, palloff press, medball slams, or something totally different to strengthen your pelvic region like glute bridges. Limit your one rep and max lifts. Learn how to keep your core braced by pretending you are getting punched in the gut and hold it, but continue to breathe through it. If you feel too much pressure on your belly or pelvic floor, stop/reduce weight/find a new movement to do.
Your energy levels will start to come back and your food aversions will start to normalize again which is good news for training! Your belly will start to grow and show more, so more scaling and creativity will be needed now. Still keep in mind, just because you CAN do something, does not mean you SHOULD.
Your center of gravity is now shifted so don’t risk falling on box jumps anymore, scale to step ups with or without weight, and avoid inverted movements. Cut running and jump ropes to keep your pelvic floor intact as much as possible (sub ski erg, sled push or assault bike) and you may need to widen your squat stance. As your belly begins to stick out more, elevate your pushups and burpees to a box or a wall and watch for coning with all movements (when your belly takes on a triangular shape).
The exhaustion (& possibly nausea) is back! Again, training is because we want to stay healthy and feel good – not to push anything crazy and prove something to other people. If you are tired, take the nap and put your feet up! The little bun in the oven is using up a lot of oxygen so you will catch yourself out of breath often and the swelling in your limbs will start increasing. Your pelvic floor is being pushed to some new limits now so definitely keep core engaged when training and do not beat it up more than necessary – you’ll be thankful after labor when you are trying to recover and NOT pee everywhere!
Continue to reduce intensity, volume, weight, frequency etc. to keep you from pushing too hard. Stay off your back with bench press and either add an incline or sub for something else. If coning occurs, eliminate overhead pressing and elevated pushups and when squatting, sit to box. Lots of walks will be your best friend, add stairs if you have them!
Bottom line, YES you can still CrossFit entering your baby makin’ journey as long as you are smart, careful, and already experienced! Save these notes as reference when you enter a new trimester and most importantly, listen to your body. Every stage of our life has a season and the time to hit PRs and push again will be after our body has recovered, so enjoy the process and all the baby cuddles to come for now!