Strength training is a powerful form of exercise that offers numerous benefits, including increased muscle mass, improved bone density, enhanced metabolism, and overall physical fitness. However, if you are leaking urine during intense workouts, it can be hard to know what to do. Do you stop because of the leaking and miss out on the amazing benefits of lifting? Or carry on and ignore the leaks?
This blog post aims to shed light on this common issue and provide guidance on how to address it, so you can lift (and do other things) leak free.
Leaking and lifting - what happens in strength training
Leaking during exercise, also known as stress urinary incontinence (SUI), is more prevalent among women but can affect anyone. It occurs when the muscles that control the bladder become weakened or unable to maintain proper closure. Factors such as pregnancy, childbirth, hormonal changes, age, and obesity can contribute to SUI. High-impact activities like strength training, which involve jumping, running, or heavy lifting, may exacerbate this condition.
Solutions for leaking during lifting
Understand your pelvic floor: The pelvic floor muscles play a crucial role in supporting the bladder. It may be that these muscles require more strength and/or co-ordination. Or that they are tight and actually require more relaxation. How you do an exercise or lift can be really insightful into your pelvic floor tendencies.
Incorporating pelvic floor exercises into your routine, whether that be to strengthen or relax, can help improve functionvand control. Seek guidance from a pelvic floor specialist. See my blog on 3 reasons to see a pelvic health physio
Prime your pelvic floor: Prioritise a comprehensive warm-up routine to prepare your body for the workout and promote blood flow to the pelvic area. I love to include breathing drills and mobility (especially for the hips).
Modify Your Exercises: Consider modifying your strength training routine to reduce the impact on the pelvic area whilst you are working on being leak free. Opt for exercises that focus on stability, form, and controlled movements. Gradually increase the intensity and weight to allow your body to adjust and adapt over time.
Invest in supportive workout gear: Wearing appropriate clothing, such as EVB shorts and a high-quality sports bra, can help minimise unnecessary movement and provide additional support to the pelvic area. Absorbent pants such as Dri-Run are great for heavy leaks. Plus internal support such as pessaries are useful in helping support the bladder neck. These may be a tactical, short term or longer term solution depending on your journey.
Stay hydrated, but mindful: While it may be tempting to limit fluid intake to prevent leakage, proper hydration is essential for overall health. Instead, manage your fluid intake by staying hydrated throughout the day without upping the frequency of loo visits.
Get personalised support
Experiencing leaking during strength training can be distressing, and you may feel embarrased or ashamed, but it does not need to deter you from reaping the benefits of this empowering form of exercise. By implementing the strategies mentioned above, such as pelvic floor exercises, modifications, and supportive gear, and by working with a specialist, you can continue your fitness journey with confidence. With a proactive approach, strength training can become a rewarding and enjoyable experience, promoting both physical and mental well-being.
If you’d like help with your leaking during lifting, you can book a FREE call here