• The Fit Midwife

Incontinence & training...

(pic courtesy of Kristen Dunsmore, a US powerlifter who has spoken about this issue before).

As promised, just a little bit of information on how to tailor your training to accommodate those moments where you jump, lift and then..... pee. Again this is only for stress incontinence as described in my other post.

So I discussed about how increased intra-abdominal pressure and weakened pelvic floor muscles are the main reasons for stress incontinence in my other post. Now think about when we lift weights. What are we told to do? We are told to take a deep breath, hold it in and brace our core. This is a standard set up for any olympic or power lifting movement. What is this doing? It is increasing the intra-abdominal pressure. Activating that trigger point for your incontinence.

What you need to do, is to think identify which lifts cause this and at which specific weights. Some women find coming out the bottom of a squat a trigger, or moving the bar up past the knees in a heavy deadlift. It all depends on you. And the way your body moves with certain weight.

Once you have identified the movement. Strip that weight back (Don't worry, just whilst you are perfecting the pelvic floor and piston breathing.... i hate when someone tells me to drop weights). Perform the movement at lighter weights and practice engaging your pelvic floor muscles AT THE SAME TIME as taking a breath and bracing your core! Practice it repeatedly, over exaggerate the movement. Make it a habit. Not only will it stop the pee but it really will help you maintain a good position for your lifts. For more information on how to combine belly breathing and pelvic floor exercises see the related post on belly/piston breathing. The two exercises really are intrinsically linked.

The same goes for jumping and skipping actually! If you can master the belly/piston breathing technique it can be applied to aerobic/HIIT training too. It sounds daft, I know... that learning how to breathe in a certain way whilst you clench your lady bits can stop you peeing, but it very much can. Peeing in training is something that is common but it is not normal. You train hard to strengthen and grow your muscles.... why neglect these ones??

As you practice this, your core and pelvic floor will become stronger and you can become more confident lifting the weights that used to make you pee without actually peeing! It is tried. Tested. Evidence based. It does work. But none of it will work unless you do!

So get working on it. Get PRs and not pee!

Nikki xx

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