Scaling & Modifying Your WODs During Pregnancy

Banded Kipping Pull-up 6

How to scale your work-outs during pregnancy

What is so great about WOD at Home work-outs is that there are endless possibilities when it comes to scaling to fit your individual needs!  Our goal is a fitness program that can be scaled and modified for every athlete, including pregnant women.  Here are some ideas for scaling, and if you find yourself at a loss, please do not hesitate to contact us and we can help make some recommendations for you.

  • Lower the weight.
  • Lower your intensity.
  • Reduce the distance of a run.  Change a mile run to an 800 m.
  • Instead of running, walk.
  • If you come across a WOD that requires 100 pull ups, 100 air squats, or any large number of anything, change that number.  Do 75, or maybe 50.
  • Reduce the number of rounds.  If a WOD calls for 7 rounds, maybe do 5.
  • Set a time limit for yourself.  Say, 20 or 30 minutes.  Do what you can in that time frame and be proud of it.
  • AMRAPs are great because you can go at your own pace.
  • Tabata anything!  Limited on time, or just aren’t up for the WOD?  Do Tabata air squats (or push ups, pull ups, lunges, or mix and match).  We have been hearing and reading more and more that doing air squats during pregnancy is extremely helpful in strengthening your pelvic floor making for an easier labor!  “Tabata Timer” is a great app too.

Remember, YOU are in control here.  That is what is so great!  Have confidence in knowing what is best for you, your body, and your fitness level.  And if you have questions, contact us!  We are here to support you!

Movement Modifications during Pregnancy

Below are some suggested modifications you can use during pregnancy and post-partum as your body and fitness level returns to “normal.”


As always, please consult with your physician.

Important things to remember:

  • Form is the most important thing!  STOP doing a movement if your form starts to fail.  This is a time to focus on maintaining your fitness and work on your skill – not your strength.
  • Listen to your body.  Every day is different.  One day you may feel great and run 2 miles, while the next day you can barely run a 200 m warm up.  Take each day as it comes and know it is okay to sit out if you need to.
  • Don’t compare yourself to anyone else.  Everyone is different.
  • Take charge of your work-out.  Change up the reps or movements to fit your needs.
  • Your focus should be on health and wellness, not personal records, maxing out, or keeping up with the crowd.
  • Once your belly gets bigger, use a rack, if possible, to elevate the barbell instead of pulling from the ground, or start from the hang position.
  • Do not get overheated or totally out of breath.  Drink plenty of water and take breaks as needed.





Air Squat Continue throughout pregnancy.  May reduce depth in 3rd trimester Studies have shown that the air squat may be more beneficial to the pelvic muscles than kegels alone.
Back Extensions Good Mornings with barbell or PVC (activate hamstrings)
Back Squat Reduce weight.  Quit doing back squats once/if it becomes uncomfortable.  See notes. There is already increased pressure on your spine and lower back during pregnancy and back squats may put too much pressure on your lower back.
Box Jumps Step ups

Lower box height

Balance is key.  Even when your belly isn’t big yet, your body is still more off balance during pregnancy.
Burpees Pregnant Burpee: Air squat to push-up on elevated surface (box or  wall)

Sprawl: Burpee without the push up

Modified Sprawl: Burpee, walk feet out, walk feet in, stand

Be sure to keep bending your knees – do not just bend over at the hip

Beneficial for post-partum too

Cleans Use a Kettlebell or Dumbell

Hang Clean instead of pulling from the ground

Deadlift Reduce weight

Sumo deadlift

Use a Kettlebell/Dumbbell to maintain form

OK until your belly impedes the bar path.  This is a back intensive move, so reducing weight is important.
Front Squat & Overhead Squat Reduce weight

Reduce depth of squat in 3rd trimester, as needed.

GHD “Glut Hamstring Developer” Not recommended during pregnancy
Handstand Push ups Strict press Typically not recommended during pregnancy, check with dr
Sit-ups Hollow Rock Holds


Medicine ball slams

Bird Dog (on all fours) cross opposite knee to elbow

 Sit-ups are not recommended during any stage of pregnancy.  Read more on why here.
Pull ups Banded pull ups

Ring Rows

Push ups Elevate yourself using bumper plates, a box, wall, or parallettes once your belly gets in the way

Scapular push-ups

Running Row

Jump Rope

Box Step Ups

Farmer Carry with a Kettlebell or Dumbell



Kettlebell Swing

Everyone is different.  The goal is to increase your heart rate with an aerobic activity, so there are lots of options.
Thruster Reduce weight

Use an unloaded bar or PVC

Power Clean from a high hang position to a squat to a push press

Toes to Bar Knees to Elbows

Plank on ground and cross knee to opposite elbow

Bird Dog (on all fours) cross opposite knee to elbow

Wallball Reduce depth of squat to accommodate belly

Use lighter ball


WOD at Home Mom Pregnancy WODs

We are thrilled to provide you with another addition to your WOD at Home membership.  Our WOD at Home Mom Pregnancy WODS will support you through your 9 months of pregnancy providing:

  • Daily Movement and Mobility to prepare you for the day’s work-out,
  • Dynamic Warm-up,
  • Skill/Strength work,
  • Daily-updated WODs strategically planned and tested with details and instructions you will not get from other WOD websites,
  • Cool-down,
  • Exactly how to scale or modify each movement for your stage of pregnancy, fitness limitations, or equipment limitations,
  • Movement pictures and links to online videos explaining each of the movements in the WOD, so there are no questions about if you are doing the correct move or performing it safely.

Your first week is FREE!  Get your Pregnancy WODs here!