I Gotta Pee!
If you’re a female, do double unders, squat heavy or perform other high impact exercises for any length of time and you soon find it very difficult to not pee your Lulu’s. If I’m being honest, for me, it’s the one thing that breaks up a consistent string of double unders every single time. Well, that, and tripping…. Allll savvy CrossFitting females know not to wear light gray pants on a day you need to complete a bazillion double unders!
In the early years of CrossFit, I thought I had this problem because of giving birth to 3 children. While there may be some truth to that, over the last several years, there has been a rise in young females who haven’t yet had children, but are having the same issues. Even the elite level CrossFitters. I’m quite sure the problem crosses over into other sports as well.
So, what exactly is the problem?
Let’s Chat About the Pelvic Floor
Before we go too far, let’s identify the Pelvic Floor muscles:
Pelvic floor muscles are the layer of muscles that (provide) support (for) the pelvic organs and span the bottom of the pelvis. The pelvic organs are the bladder and bowel in men, and bladder, bowel and uterus in women. These layers stretch like a hammock from the tailbone at the back, to the pubic bone in front. Your pelvic floor muscles help you control your bladder and bowel. They also aid in sexual function.
The sphincters give us conscious control over the bladder and bowel so that we can control the release of pee, poo, wind breakage, as well as, allow us to delay emptying until it is convenient. When the pelvic floor muscles are contracted, the internal organs are lifted and the sphincters tighten the openings of the vagina, anus and urethra. Relaxing the pelvic floor allows passage of said pee, poo and wind.
With regard to sexual function, in men, a strong pelvic floor is important for erectile function and ejaculation. In women, voluntary contractions of the pelvic floor also contribute to sexual sensation and arousal.
Back to Identifying the Problem…
Creating external torque in the squat and in the deadlift (think grabbing the floor with feet and twisting out), targets the rectus abdominis (which is the six pack muscles) and the erectors along the lumbar spine, simultaneously. They reinforce each other and as one gets stronger, so does the other. All this tension is necessary and essentially great, but it is pushing down into the external obliques, transverse abdominis, and basically the pelvic floor.
While the External Torque chain (rectus abdominis “six-pack” and erectors) becomes stronger and capable of greater performance, the Internal Torque chain (external obliques, transverse abs, and pelvic floor) gets neglected. The stronger the ET chain becomes, the more we default to those muscles to accomplish a movement, therefore causing imbalances or atrophy of the IT chain of muscles.
So What Do We Do?
Fortunately we can work to fix this problem and create balance with Internal Torque. We can do that with the following 2 exercises.
External Oblique Opener
External Oblique Leg Raises
Put It to Practice!
I’ll be practicing these and I hope you will too! Let me know if I can help you!
(Source – Strongfit)