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:
- Narrow stance for squats and lunges. Avoid wide stance positions for squats, deep squats or lunges. In most classes the instructor will indicate to squat to 90 degrees at the knees. Avoid going down this low and bend the knees less. Also reduce the weight carried on the shoulders as this load will also place pressure on the pelvic floor.
- Breath holding. This may happen when there is a heavy weight being lifted, or just due to concentration. Try to focus on breathing out when lifting the weight and inhaling in the lowering phase. Another way to think about it, is to exhale on the exertion phase.
- Plonk the plank. The plank or hover is designed to strength the core and this is great opportunity to focus on Pelvic Floor First. Initiate the exercise by first focusing on lifting the pelvic floor whilst thighs are still in contact with the floor. Do this for a maximum of 10 seconds and then rest. If this can be accomplished with confidence, then progress to lifting onto the knees. The truth is, that if you have pelvic floor issues or are at risk, a full plank on the toes is not recommended.
- umping lunges and power jumps. These exercises are slowly making their way into a class that traditionally has always been relatively stationary. These are NOT recommended to perform. Low impact alternatives are a must and even explain to the instructor that you will not be doing these exercises during the workout.
- Over head shoulder presses and tricep extensions. Exercises performed above the head places much more pressure on the pelvic floor and leaking is more likely to occur. Options are to reduce the weight, or perform a forward, lateral or rear shoulder raise with dumbbells. Alternatively for triceps, a bent over or supported (on the step) tricep kick back would be preferable.
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.