Your pelvic floor and barbell workouts
Barbell workouts are great for developing muscle strength and endurance and this form of resistance training is effective in maintaining bone mass as well being an enjoyable form of weight training.
This type of workout can be easily modified to cater for people who have pelvic floor issues or are in the risk category.
Top 5 modifications to make when participating in a barbell workout are:
The idea of modifying a workout can sometimes be intimidating for most people, as there is a concern with standing out in the crowd. Nothing could be further than the truth. As an instructor, my clients modify the workout for all sorts of reasons and injuries and I would prefer that they took the responsibility for their health rather than relying on me to provide modifications for every injury and issue for every exercise – now that would make someone stand out. Remember, that this is your body and your workout, so own it and always remember Pelvic Floor First.
How to modify ‘the abdominal curl’ to keep your pelvic floor safe?
Here is a scenario: You are in a group exercise class and the instructor has asked the class to lie on their backs in preparation for the abdominal curl. You know that you have a separation in your abdominal wall or this exercise always makes you feel that need to go to the bathroom. What do you do?
Working at an appropriate level for you supersedes any ambition to keep up with the class or do the same thing – every time. It makes sense that you are exercising for your body, not someone else’s so keep this in mind when you are modifying exercises. Protecting your pelvic floor is more important than how many abdominal curls you can do and there are no prizes for incontinence which can develop if you don’t put your pelvic floor first.
Step was first designed by Gin Miller whose primary goal was to develop a low impact, cardiovascular workout that was safe for knees and other injuries. Since the early 1990’s, this class format has changed considerably, including the speed, intensity and impact. Below are 4 guidelines to assist you during a typical step class to ensure that your pelvic floor is not compromised.
Step workouts are fun and different from most other workouts because you have your own personal space on and around your step and are a great workout. Implement the alternatives above and enjoy a pelvic floor safe workout.
The pelvic floor muscles as part of the ‘core’.
Muscles play a key role during exercise, but did you know that there are a hidden group of muscles called ‘pelvic floor muscles’ which need special attention?
Pelvic floor muscles form the base of the group of muscles commonly called the ‘core’. It’s a group of muscles in your pelvis that stretches like a trampoline or hammock – the pelvic floor muscles (PFMs). These are the ‘floor of the core’. Your core muscles are the deep muscle layers close to the spine that provide structural support. The PFMs stretch from the pubic bone (at the front) to the coccyx (tail-bone) at the back, and from side to side These muscles work with the deep abdominal (tummy) and back muscles and the diaphragm (breathing muscle) to support the spine and control the pressure inside the abdomen (diagram 1). The pelvic floor muscles play an important role in bladder and bowel control, supporting the pelvic organs and sexual function in both men and women.
How to modify ‘the plank’ to keep your pelvic floor safe?
Here is a scenario: You are in a group exercise class and the instructor as asked the class to move into a plank (on the floor on elbows and toes and lifting up the rest of the body). You know that you are in a high risk group (see attached article) or this exercise always makes you feel that need to go to the bathroom. What do you do?
Often participants in a group exercise setting feel obliged to do all the exercises that the instructor dictates and sometimes to the determent of their own health and wellbeing. A group exercise class is designed to cater mainly for healthy non injured participants. Sometimes there are modifications offered, but quite often the instructor is not fully qualified to provide all the options that would be appropriate for each participant. It is after all, a group session and not a personal training workout.
Often participants will not realise that they are expected to modify exercises to suit their individual needs. Knowing that you are empowered to make good decisions for your body opens up more class options as you are not limited by classes that are specific to your needs.
The allure of high impact workouts is the energy expenditure and the pure joy of bouncing around – like a teenager, but for some of us, our pelvic floor is not like it was when we were a teenager. For a lot of women, it is a matter of going to the toilet before the class, not hydrating well, racing off to the toilet during the workout or simply resigning to wearing pads.
These workouts can still be enjoyed, but with Pelvic Floor First in mind and while you are working on improving your pelvic floor strength with regular specific exercise for this muscle, the following guidelines will assist you with making the right exercise choices that will not compromise you further.
High impact exercise is wonderful when you are leak free, but when you are compromised or in risk of weakening the pelvic floor, the outcome can be embarrassing and uncomfortable. Enjoy your workouts by simply applying the suggestions above and have a great workout.
A weak pelvic floor is the reason why a third of Kiwi women are incontinent, especially after given birth. Marietta Mehanni’s modified resistance workouts will help whip you into shape if you have a weakness in this area
Why all the fuss about pelvic floor?
When we think about our ‘core’, the first thought that usually springs to mind is the muscles in our torso. What is often unknown or misunderstood, is the major part the pelvic floor plays in effectively controlling the core and
In supporting several important bodily functions.
Aquacise Your Pelvic Floor
By Dianne Edmonds and Marietta Mehanni
“Lower back pain is also strongly linked with pelvic floor weakness and there is certainly an awareness that aqua aerobics provides a safer choice of fitness program for these individuals.”
Many people that want to continue exercise without the implications of impact, joint stress, post exercise muscle soreness and overheating issues will prefer to exercise in water. This cliental group is usually, also the population group that are challenged by pelvic floor issues. It is well known that mature adults and certainly menopausal or post menopausal women would also prefer to exercise in water because of the issues with ‘wetting themselves’ during land based exercise. Pregnant women and obese clients would also prefer to exercise in water for the obvious reduced impact benefit, but also because the pelvic floor is more protected in water. Lower back pain is also strongly linked with pelvic floor weakness and there is certainly an awareness that aqua aerobics provides a safer choice of fitness program for these participants. It is clear, then, that aqua aerobics has not only massive appeal for these population groups for the benefits of exercising in water, but also because of the potential pelvic floor issues that they will face with land based exercise. This provides aqua aerobic instructors with a huge opportunity to provide much needed education, information and instruction on what is the pelvic floor and how to use it during the workout.