My 2014 Crossfit Open Recap – 8 months pregnant

This year I wasn’t sure whether or not I wanted to do the Crossfit Open.  The Open workouts give you the opportunity to compare yourself to the rest of the world, qualify to go to regionals if you’re at that level, or help your gym qualify a team.  I’ve been able to qualify to go to Regionals with my gym’s affiliate team two times in the past 4 years, which has been an amazing experience.  This year I was not expecting to be competitive, as the first workout was starting when I would be 30 weeks pregnant.  When you sign up to compete in the Open you don’t know what the workouts, called WODs (Workout Of the Day) will be.  They were announced each Thursday evening and you had until the following Monday evening to submit your score via the Crossfit website.

Crossfit Games 2014

Usually the Open is a time of stress for me, as I’m competitive and am usually vying for a spot on our gym’s affiliate team if we make it.  I know that I don’t have what it takes to be an individual competitor – the athletes at that level, especially now are amazing at what they can accomplish.  This year I had zero pressure to compete, but when the first workout came up and it was two movements that I could still do….I decided to give it a try, why not?  It’s important to note up until the Open I’ve still been Crossfitting throughout my pregnancy, and started Crossfitting in 2008…so I’ve been doing it awhile.  I know my body, my limitations, and how hard to push.  There are things that I no longer do (regular sit ups, anything on the GHD machine for example) and then movements that I do some days and not others if they don’t feel good.  If you work out and are in tune with your body, your body will tell you what is good and what isn’t, when you need more rest, and how hard/fast you can go.  Being pregnant and continuing to work out has been a great experience, seeing what I can still do – I still have a strict pull-up and one handstand push up at 34 weeks and +17 pounds, but I’ve totally lost my unassisted ring dips (around 20 weeks)  and my muscle up has been on vacation in South America pretty much at the beginning…

There are things I stopped doing too, I decided to stop running pretty soon into my pregnancy because it didn’t feel good.  I sprained my ankle last July and every time I ran, it would get aggravated.  So even though I’m in the minority that likes running, I decided to mostly stop for the rest of my pregnancy to give my ankle additional time to heal and to respect and listen to my body.  It’s helped that it’s been such and cold and snowy winter too, because I hate running on treadmills and its not really fun to run when it’s 12 degrees out (for me anyway!).  I’ve still done a few 400’s or slow jog warm ups,  but have mostly switched to rowing – which I am not a huge fan of and probably means that I need to do more of it!

KoP Leaderboard, made it on page 2

KoP Leaderboard, made it on page 2

Ok onto the Open workout recap – I’m going to go through one by one – I have some photos but not for all, so I included them where I had them.  Overall I can no longer reach that same level of intensity that I could pre-pregnancy, which is to be expected.  I’m also not willing to push myself as far as I would if I were not pregnant.  Breathing is harder, and many of the movements are different with my constantly changing weight vest!  Most important thing to remember is that I didn’t pick up Crossfit yesterday or start working out right before the Open workouts.  I’ve been Crossfitting for years and continued to Crossfit throughout my pregnancy.

Workout 14.1 – 30 weeks/7 months

Laura’s Score: 264

Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 10 minutes of:
30 double-unders
55-lb. power snatches, 15 reps

This was the first workout and when it was announced it was a repeat workout from the first year of the Open.  I could still do double unders (which is when you jump rope, but the rope goes around twice for every one jump) and the 55# power snatch is a relatively light weight, something I was comfortable lifting, so I decided to go for it.  Overall I completed 5 full rounds and then 30 double unders, and 9 snatches.  The crazy thing was that I beat my score from 2011 but quite a few reps so just goes to show you can improve over time and pregnancy!

Posts 14.1 with a few other awesome pregnant ladies at KoP

Posts 14.1 with a few other awesome pregnant ladies at KoP

Workout 14.2 – 31 weeks/7 months

Every 3 minutes for as long as possible complete:

Score: 15

From 0:00-3:00

2 rounds of:

10 overhead squats

10 chest-to-bar pull-ups

From 3:00-6:00

2 rounds of:

12 overhead squats

12 chest-to-bar pull-ups

From 6:00-9:00

2 rounds of:

14 overhead squats

14 chest-to-bar pull-ups

Etc., following same pattern until you fail to complete both rounds

I was not thrilled with this workout when it was announced, knowing that my chest to bar pullups have been tricky for awhile.  I wasn’t sure that I could do one.  Regular pull-ups are still in my workout regime, yes they are harder since I’m heavier but they still feel good.  Chest to bar pull ups require an extra oomph to get your chest, anything below your clavicle, to touch the pull up bar.  Trying it out pre-workout with a kip I could get high enough but couldn’t touch the bar with my chest, which was needed to “count” as an Rx rep for the workout.  So I knew I could do the Overhead Squats (at 65#) without an issue because for some strange reason the OHS is one of my best lifts.  I got the 10 OHS no problem and struggled through 5 strict chest to bar pullups in the remaining time of the first 3 minute clock.  I really wanted to get through 10, but oh well, was still happy with what I was able to do!  This workout didn’t even feel like a workout, since it was only 3 minutes long for me, it definitely would quickly become a mental and physical challenge if you are proficient at both movements.


Post WOD team photo

Post WOD team photo

Workout 14.3 – 32 weeks/8 months

Score: 111

Complete as many reps as possible in 8 minutes of:
95-lb. deadlifts, 10 reps
15 box jumps, 20-inch
135-lb. deadlifts, 15 reps
15 box jumps, 20-inch
155-lb. deadlifts, 20 reps
15 box jumps, 20-inch
185-lb. deadlifts, 25 reps
15 box jumps, 20-inch
205-lb. deadlifts, 30 reps
15 box jumps, 20-inch
225-lb. deadlifts, 35 reps
15 box jumps, 20-inch

This workout was a little intimidating to me, not because of the box jumps because I knew that I would be able to do step-ups (and down) on the box.  Last year for one of the open workouts it was faster to do Jane Fonda-esque step ups rather than full on box jumps so I probably would have done them that way regardless of being pregnant or not.  The deadlifts start out nice and light, but then increase in reps and weight.  Anyone that knows me knows that the deadlift isn’t my lift…and now in order to accommodate my belly I need to set up really wide, which actually seems to fix my form and is something I’m going to play around with post baby!

I did better than expected here, I thought I’d get into the 155# and then wasn’t sure if 185# would work, but I took it slow, dropped each lift from the top to avoid the eccentric movement down, and made sure to set up correctly and not compromise my form, and got through 21 of the 25 deads at 185#!  I knew that I wasn’t going to go on to 205, that’s too close to my max for comfort and was really happy with how I did.


Laura Open WOD 14.3

Stepping up to the top of the box, I wore compression socks to help absorb the impact of going up and down

Laura Open WOD 14.3_2

Deadlifts at 155#

Workout 14.4 – 33 weeks/8 months

Score: 156

Complete as many rounds and repetitions as possible in 14 minutes of:
60-calorie row
50 toes-to-bars
40 wall-ball shots, 14 lb. to 9-foot target
30 cleans, 95 lb.
20 muscle-ups

This chipper workout was one that a lot of people were dreading, I was mostly dreading the toes to bar, I can still do them but hadn’t had to do 50 in a row.  I knew I wouldn’t make it to the muscle ups, but I was hoping to make it to the cleans.  14 minutes is a pretty long Crossfit workout; however, its not as bad when you are stuck in 3rd gear 🙂  I made it through the wall balls and started on the cleans – got 6 before my time ran out.  The toes to bar took a lot longer than I hoped, around 32 I felt like they were never going to end.  Overall I felt pretty good with this workout too, I wanted to make it to the cleans and was happy that I got there.

Laura Open WOD 14.4

Me doing some toes to bar with my husband Tim already on the wall balls

Workout 14.5 – 34 weeks

Score: 15:14

21-18-15-12-9-6-3 reps for time of:
65-lb. thrusters

This was the last Open workout, I was a bit concerned about the burpees and figuring out how I would be able to do them.  I wound up having to set up a whole lot of plates on either side of my bar, since I had to do a burpee and then jump, starting with 2 feet and ending on 2 feet over the barbell.  This was the hardest part of the workout for me, the jump.  I really had to focus on it, and make sure that I didn’t trip or fall.  Typically this would be a good workout for me since it’s a light weight and all about lungs, here I just started and didn’t stop….kept going at a very consistent pace and took a break during each of the sets of Thursters.  I was able to string the first 21 thrusters, then broke up 18 – 12 into 2 sets, and once I got to 9 just hung on to the bar.  Once you hit 9 you’re almost done the workout so you have even more motivation to just hang on and get through it.  I was really happy with my time here, I think at the end I wound up with the 7th fastest time in the gym!

Laura Open WOD 14.5


One interesting observation is that at the end of most of these workouts it’s common to find athletes laying on the floor gasping for breath because you’ve given it your all and are spent.  At the end of each of these workouts you would find me walking around, breathing deeply, but otherwise recovering pretty quickly.  I felt really great about challenging myself, still doing the workouts that I like to do but staying within my abilities and staying safe from and exercise perspective.

Overall Games Leaderboard

Overall Games Leaderboard

About Laura Pappas

Laura Pappas is a health coach whose passion is achieving optimal health and fitness. Her health coaching approach helps busy people balance their lives, training, and food choices in a way that is easy and sustainable. She believes in the power of eating real, whole foods, avoiding processed sugar, and applying the principles of the Paleo Diet to modern living.

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