CrossFit Eclipse Guide to Scaling Workouts for Pregnant Athletes

Welcome to our CrossFit Eclipse community blog, where today we’re addressing a very important topic: how to safely adapt CrossFit workouts for our pregnant athletes. Pregnancy doesn’t mean putting your fitness on hold, but it does require some modifications to ensure both mom and baby are safe and healthy. Remember, every pregnancy is unique, so it’s crucial to tailor these recommendations to each individual and always consult with a healthcare provider.

Understanding Pregnancy and Exercise

First and foremost, pregnancy is a time to maintain fitness, not to push limits or set personal records. Our aim is to support our pregnant athletes in staying active and healthy, without compromising their safety or comfort.

Workout Modifications by Trimester

First Trimester:

  • General Guidelines: You might not need many modifications yet, but start to focus on moderation. Maintain around 70-80% of your pre-pregnancy workout intensity.
  • Specific Exercises: Continue with sit-ups and bench presses if comfortable, but avoid max lifts. Instead, opt for moderate lifting, around 70% of your 1RM for 8-12 reps.

Second Trimester:

  • General Guidelines: As your belly grows, it’s essential to avoid exercises that require lying on your back for long periods or those that might cause loss of balance.
  • Specific Modifications:
    • Bench Press: Modify if you feel dizzy when getting up.
    • Sit-Ups: Stop due to the risk of diastasis recti.
    • Risky Movements: Avoid kipping pull-ups, rope climbs, and box jumps.

Third Trimester:

  • General Guidelines: Continue to scale back intensity and avoid any exercise that could risk a fall.
  • Specific Exercises: Further modify any movement that feels uncomfortable as your belly grows larger.

Special Considerations

  • Coning/Diastasis Recti: Watch out for “coning” of the abdomen during any exercise, which is a sign to modify or stop that activity to prevent worsening diastasis recti.
  • Hydration and Contraction Monitoring: Stay hydrated and monitor for contractions, particularly during workouts. Reducing intensity if contractions occur more frequently than usual is crucial.

Safe Alternatives and Modifications

  • Cardio: Replace high-impact activities like running with low-impact options such as sled drags, rowing, or cycling to keep intensity without the bounce.
  • Lifting: Modify Olympic lifts by reducing the load or switching to dumbbells to avoid the bar path conflicting with your belly.
  • Gymnastics: Replace sit-ups and toes-to-bar with planks or other core-stabilizing exercises that do not exacerbate abdominal separation.

Adaptations for Common CrossFit Movements:

  • Double-Unders: Switch to single unders or light kettlebell swings.
  • Rowing: Adjust the setup to accommodate belly growth and reduce the range of motion.
  • Box Jumps: Shift to step-ups or low-height weighted step-ups.
  • Burpees: Use elevated surfaces for hands to reduce the impact.
  • Pull-Ups: Substitute kipping with strict pull-ups or ring rows as necessary.

Our coaching team at CrossFit Eclipse is here to help you adapt your workouts and ensure you’re training safely during your pregnancy. Remember, listening to your body and communicating with your coaches and doctor are your best strategies for maintaining fitness during this special time. Let’s keep moving safely and healthily!