Why Your Box Needs This Program
If you’re reading this, you’re likely in the business of fitness. As stated in Greg Glassman’s article, “What Is Fitness,” “A fitness regimen that does not support health is not CrossFit.” It’s probably safe to say that women make-up half of the athletes in your gym. Of these women, a huge percentage of them are a.) postpartum b.) pregnant or c.) will become pregnant at some point while a member at your gym. To neglect that these women have specific training needs, is to fail in the effort to provide fitness that is broad, general and inclusive. Hopping right back into regular CrossFit classes, without specific modifications to support core restoration, is not supporting postpartum health-which is why you need to offer this program for the women in your community.
Postpartum lasts forever. It’s disappointing that we live in a society that glamorizes this rush back to the “pre-baby body” and getting right back to the normal routine. While no two birth experiences are the same, and no two postpartum healing timelines will be identical, women must spend time restoring their core.
In pregnancy, there are massive changes that happen within the core. The rib cage widens, there is a normal and expected separation of the abdominal muscles, increased pressure on the pelvic floor due to the weight of the growing uterus and baby, and increased stress on the lumbar spine and pelvis. All of this happens gradually over the course of the pregnancy. Then, the baby is born and women are given the OK to resume “normal” activity after six or eight weeks. This is a recipe for disaster...no matter how great she is feeling.
The core: the connection between the upper and lower body. Now we have a woman who is healing from diastasis (separation of the rectus abdominis-which 100% of women have by the time they are full term), the ribs, pelvis and hips are all slowly adjusting to no longer needing to make room for a baby, and regardless of the type of birth-she could be dealing with pelvic floor dysfunction. All of this is going on, and women are getting back into the gym, doing planks and sit-ups, lifting weights and trying feverishly to get back to where they were pre-baby. Here’s the thing: none of this is safe if they aren’t intentionally working to rehab the core...and not just the 6 pack muscles...all of it (hint: no room for sit-ups here!)
So what are some of the things that we see as a result of this?
Incontinence...something 1 in 3 women complain of after childbirth. In the CrossFit world, peeing when you jump rope, box jump or squat is spoken about like it’s the norm...when it’s so far from normal and a sign of dysfunction.
The “pouch” that won’t go away, a.k.a. Diastasis recti.
Hernias, back issues, Sciatic pain...all of which can occur months and years later!
In CrossFit: every movement we do is with the intention of “core to extremity.” Women need guidance when it comes to postpartum fitness-and if part of your mission is to support health and longevity to the people in your community, Dumbbells & Diapers is an essential program for the women that are a part of it. The program isn’t about helping women to get their pre-baby bodies back...it’s about offering a huge part of the population an opportunity to approach fitness in a safe, specific and intentional way. It’s something the women in your community need. So, in addition to the business gains that this program can bring-revenue, diverse clientele, etc., building your own Dumbbells & Diapers program is an opportunity to ensure that you’re offering a fitness regimen that does indeed support health to postpartum athletes.