Mend Physical Therapy Blog and Injury Information

Crossfit Modifications During Pregnancy

March 17, 2024

There has been a significant rise in female participation in crossfit over the past decade, thus increasing the chance that a portion of athletes will at some point experience pregnancy.  In our Boulder Physical Therapy and Lafayette Physical Therapy clinics we frequently treat patients looking to stay active during and after their pregnancies.  Traditionally, high levels of strength training have been discouraged in our pregnant population, though only due to lack of evidence and fear. New evidence is emerging and suggesting that people who continue to participate in their pre-pregnancy levels of weight training during pregnancy are demonstrating improved pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum outcomes than their counterparts who do not. Though the evidence is suggesting to continue with strength training during pregnancy, it’s important to keep in mind that the body changes significantly during pregnancy and modifying or scaling may be necessary for some movements. 

Considerations for modification/scaling:

Decreased integrity of anterior core strength

Baby bump altering bar path

Increased pressure on pelvic floor

Ligamentous laxity due to relaxin

History of pelvic, bladder, or bowel dysfunction

Symptoms to suggest modification/scaling:

Pelvic girdle pain (anterior or pubic symphysis, posterior or SI joint)

Pelvic or abdominal pressure

Pelvic heaviness

Low back or hip pain

Rib pain

Coning or doming of the abdomen

Urinary, bowel, or gas incontinence

Examples of modifications:

DeadliftElevated deadlift

Suitcase deadlift

Kettlebell deadlift

Sumo deadlift

SquatBox squat


Dumbbell front rack 

Bulgarian split squat

DoubleundersToe taps

Kettlebell swing

Cardio – row, bike, or ski

RowDecrease range of motion – keep ribs over pelvis

Knees out to accommodate belly

BurpeesStep versus jump

Incline to bench

Kettlebell swingsLighter kettlebell

Russian swings

Kettlebell deadlift

Good mornings 

Clean Use dumbbells

Hang clean

Power clean


SnatchUse dumbbells 

Power snatch

Hip snatch

Box jumpsScale height

Step ups

Pull-upsStrict pull-up

Ring rows

Bent over row

Handstand push-upsStrict handstand push-up

Seated press with dumbbells

Barbell shoulder press

Toes-to-bar (or sit ups, GHD sit ups)Plank

Side plank

Suitcase, waiters or farmers carry


The key to strength training during pregnancy is to remember this time is about intention; intent to stay strong, healthy, and moving to provide the best outcomes for yourself and baby. Talk to one of our pelvic health specialists today to learn more about maintaining your strength training program during pregnancy. Click here to schedule an appointment in Boulder or Lafayette today!