CrossFit during your pregnancy

CrossFit during your pregnancy

It is well known that exercising during pregnancy benefits both the baby and the mother-to-be. One of the many benefits discussed below is the release of endorphins that put you in a good mood during a period of fluctuating emotions. So there are benefits for the future dad too?

I’ve been participating in CrossFit training for several years and now I’m trying to continue doing so. Of course it is important that you adjust the WODs, the daily workouts, to another level. In addition, it is at least as important to do the sport that you already did before you became pregnant. I do not recommend starting a new sport during your pregnancy.

I also take into account a number of “do’s & don’ts”

Hence this article so that I can positively motivate other people to continue exercising safely during pregnancy. CrossFit is all too often equated with: heavy, breaking down, pushing boundaries, for the fastest, for the heaviest and for the most. This is only for advanced CrossFit athletes and if you are not pregnant.

A starting CrossFit athlete works with light weights and trains on the right techniques. Only when the technique is right, is it built up with extra weights. Safety is and remains a priority! Each exercise is scaled to your own level. All techniques are taught with constructive exercises.

You don’t do handstand push-ups if you don’t have a correct handstand yet. Pull-ups are supported by an elastic band. Box jumps are replaced by step ups, …

These are just a few examples, but every exercise can be adapted. Pregnant, beginner, advanced, young, old, … Everyone can participate and push their own limits in a safe responsible way under the watchful eye of a certified coach.

But why should we continue to exercise when we are pregnant?

Doctors still often recommend that you only go for a walk, do not lift too much and let your partner carry the groceries. Did I try to abuse that last one? In vain, if you can perform another series of deadlifts with 50 kg, this subterfuge will not work. You can just try, right?

But why shouldn’t we continue to exercise when we are pregnant? Several studies have shown that it is good for your baby. Everything you do for yourself to improve your cardiovascular system by continuing to exercise, you also do for your baby. Other benefits for your baby:

  • cope better with the stress of childbirth
  • overall better health
  • sleep through the night faster
  • higher scores on general intelligence and language skills
  • less risk of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases later in life
  • a better ability to concentrate

Benefits for mom:

  • the baby sleeps through the nights faster?
  • less weight gain, provided that the diet is adjusted to a healthy balanced diet with sufficient protein, healthy fats and lots of vegetables.
  • fewer pregnancy ailments
  • faster physical and emotional recovery after childbirth
  • better endurance during childbirth

But… Safety first!

A pregnant body is more vulnerable. Your body’s center of gravity shifts. This causes problems with balance and agility. The hormone relaxin is produced extra. In preparation for childbirth, the joints in the pelvis become more flexible. The heart starts pumping a larger volume of blood. A higher heart rate and faster out of breath as a result. Taking these changes into account, you adjust the workouts.

The first trimester

During this period, a “pinhead” grows into a mini person. Everything is formed. You notice! You are easily tired and often nauseous. Listen to your body. Are you planning to start training, but the moment you’re ready to fly in you don’t feel well? Then do something quiet such as walking or cycling or light bodyweight exercises at a leisurely pace.

The second trimester

The energy is back 🙂 HURRY! In principle you can just participate in all WODs as before. Do you feel uncomfortable during an exercise? Pull the coach’s sleeve and ask for another exercise. Listen to your body! Enjoy the extra energy and the released endorphins.

The third trimester

During this period you will no longer be able to perform a number of exercises correctly due to the size of your abdomen. Have them modified or replace with other exercises. Use dumbbells instead of barbells and take the following adjustments into account.

  • There are some exercises you shouldn’t do because they are not worth the risk: rope climbs, box jumps, handstands, kipping pull-ups, kipping TTB, GHD sit-ups.
  • Do not squat deeper than parallel
  • Don’t use heavy weights
  • Don’t work out of breath. Your baby also receives less oxygen. This can cause brain damage.
  • NO handstand push-up -> DO sit dumbbell press
  • NO box jump –> YES box step up
  • NO burpees -> DO push-up with knee support
  • NO toes to bar -> Knees to elbow
  • DO NOT keep track of times and scores

In the link below you will find a practical guide to scale CrossFit movements. Scaling Guide to CrossFit Movements During Pregnancy. The goal of exercising during pregnancy is to stay fit and are not PRs and RX.

I am and always will be a bit of a competitive animal. I like to be as fast as I can, I like to take as much weight as I can and I prefer to push my own limits every WOD. To keep myself in check and not to force myself unnecessarily, it helps me not to have scores written down on the board.

I often also start the WOD 30 seconds later so as not to automatically go along with the speed of the group. Changing the order of the exercises also helps. If the WOD starts with rowing and then walking. I shall walk first and then row. Then I am more aware of my own achievable pace.

It is and remains tempting to give everything you have in you. But you must remain aware that keeping your body and that of the baby fit in a safe way is the only objective. Nothing more or less.