Are you a mom and have you ever peed yourself? You might have something called Pelvic Floor Dysfunction. It’s a common problem female’s have after giving birth. If you have ever:
Felt like you were going to pee your pants during exercise, fitness classes, personal training sessions, coughing, sneezing or anything that made you bare down.
Experienced pain with sex or inserting a tampon.
Found yourself going to the bathroom more, even when your not drinking a lot of water.
Found it difficult to empty your bladder or bowels.
Had lower back or pelvic pain.
Then you may be suffering from pelvic floor dysfunction.
I’ve been there…
I remember the first time I peed my pants while deadlifting. I was horrified and felt ashamed!
I was in a gym with a bunch of guys, training for my first powerlifting meet. I had just lifted 250 pounds (10 pounds shy of my goal of hitting a double bodyweight deadlift), that’s a lot of weight for anyone, let alone someone that weighs 130! I knew halfway through the lift that I had peed my self, but, I gritted it out, cause you gotta finish that shit!
So there I was, with wet pants and I remember thinking “this is not normal”, something is wrong with me. I was so EMBARRASSED! Thankfully I had a change of pants, so I ran to the bathroom and came back to finish my work out. None of the guys asked why I changed my pants…I think they all might have suspected, but most guys get a little timid when you start talking about the female reproductive system. My son was born 10 years prior so I never thought that I was dealing with pelvic floor issues but after this incident, I went to see my OBG who suggested that probably was it.
After meeting with the OBG, I talked with a number of my female clients who were having the same issues. Most found it too embarrassing to discuss with friends and partners, nevermind their personal trainers, and some even resigned themselves to just putting up with the issues.
Peeing your self is NOT NORMAL and it’s NOT OK! You CAN do something about it!
I believe that somewhere along the line there is an assumption that, as we age, we should expect some kind of urinary incontinence. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth.
Pelvic Floor 101
It’s important to understand first that the pelvic floor is not only affected by pregnancy and birth; aging, nutrition, hormones and exercise can also affect it. The pelvic floor is a group of muscles and connective tissue that sit inside the pelvis. The function of the pelvic floor is pretty simple – it keeps your insides, inside!
This is a great side illustration from the “Pre and Post-Natal Training Certification” text book from Girls Gone Strong.
The five pelvic floor essentially does five things:
The pelvic floor muscles (PFM) constrict (in a good way) the urethra, vagina, and anal canal. This constriction is vital for good bladder and bowel control.
PFM’s offer support for all internal organs, so they literally help to keep internal organs inside the body. They keep your insides…insides!
The PFM’s are a part of the deep stabilizing systems for the trunk. That means a weak pelvic floor can contribute to lower back and hip issues.
They respond to breathing and changes in abdominal pressure. This is why it’s common for women with pelvic floor issues to pee themselves when they sneeze.
The pelvic floor muscles respond to pain and emotion via the sympathetic nervous system.
What I did about it and it can help you!
While I knew doing Kegal exercise were important pre and post natal, 10 years later I had stopped doing them. Which lead to peeing my pants while working at the gym. Immediately I began doing them during my warm-ups, hey I had to start somewhere. But this wasn’t enough for me at that time because I also started experiencing low back and hip pain. Through extensive research and talking to other coaches and personal trainers, I included three other exercises to my daily routine(let’s face it, it takes a lot more than 3 hours a week to see results).
Remember muscles get strong and maintain strength through use so it’s important to exercise the pelvic floor muscles just like any other muscle. If you don’t use it, you lose it.
Here are three exercises I added to my daily routine (and use with dozens of my personal training clients):
Breathing: I added a 2-3 minute breathing drill. The breathing drill helps connect the core and pelvic floor. This drill will not only help regain tone throughout the entire floor but it also is great for gaining and releasing tension in the abdominal and pelvic floor.
This is a great video that walks you through “Connection Breathing.”
Half Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch with an Overhead reach: This stretch will improve stability, as the position itself is a bit unstable. It’s a nice opening side stretch for the diaphragm and the ribcage which can become tight with the daily positions and movements involved in life. Do 8 reps on each side.
Squats will help maintain good mobility and movement through the ankles and pelvis. This can be done assisted or body weight but it’s important to incorporate the connective breathing above while performing the squat.
Once I added these to my daily routines not only did the incontinence get better but my lower back felt better. I competed in my first powerlifting, broke a deadlift PR and did NOT pee my pants. Check out a video of me hitting a very hard 250 in the gym. This was a few years ago…watching this makes me want to write a blog post about how to improve your deadlift. Stay tuned!
Don’t be embarrassed! Statistics say that 1 out of every 5 Americans (of every age) suffer from some type of pelvic floor dysfunction at some time in their life. Over 25 million Americans suffer from urinary incontinence alone or involuntary loss of urine. I can help you! If this article hit home, let’s connect! All you have to do is click the link below, sign up for a 30-day trial and I will be in touch to schedule a strategy session and get you started. It’s that easy!
Side note: There are many serious issues relating to pelvic floor dysfunction. It is important that you see your doctor, OBG or find a Pelvic health physiotherapist if you are experiencing any issues or you believe you are dealing with some pelvic floor dysfunction. My job is to help women achieve their goals by providing an evidence-based training and nutrition program along with body-positive and self-care information.
Push-ups are one of my go-to exercises. Like you, sometimes I struggle to get my workouts in, so my resistance training days need to be quick and include total body movements that build muscle, burn fat and make me feel like a bad ass. Push-ups are one of those bad ass moves ladies! Seriously, when I feel good and can randomly bust out 10 perfect push-ups…I feel like a total boss!
You must mean Jamie. And, yes you did.
One way to horrify my husband is by challenging someone/friends/family to a push-up challenge. I will challenge almost anyone, (except my husband 😉 and have been known to throw down at bars, parties, etc. It’s a great ice breaker PLUS, it feels awesome to do better push ups then most out of shape guys.
That time I did a push-up contest with the guys.
For me, the push-up was one of the first exercises that I trained for that made me feel powerful, strong and confident. Each time I did them I was a little bit better, a little bit stronger, and more confident to push-my self to do more.
This is a big reason why I am passionate about getting other women to do push-ups. I love coaching women to do push-ups! As a coach, I see potential in most of the women I train that they do not see in themselves. So the first time I say ” Next we are doing push-ups.” the fear and doubt in their face reminds me of where I started. We all have to start somewhere.
Other than push-ups being totally bad ass here are five reasons to do push-ups:
Builds Upper Body Strength: you can build upper body strength without having to use a ton of weights. Push-ups target the shoulders, pecs, and triceps which will develop a strong and defined upper body.
Strengthens your core: most people don’t know that a strong core is key to a push-up. Ever wondered why your hips sag or hike during your push-ups? Your abdominal muscles are acting as stabilizers during the push-up just like they would in a plank. Weak abs = poor push up form.
Increases energy quickly: Sure does! Two scenarios come to mind for this. First one, I hit a 2pm energy dip, I already had a coffee (or 2) and am about to coach a class, but I am still draggin a little. What do I do? Drop down and bust out some push-ups. Second, it’s been a long day, I have plans with friends to get some drinks and listen to some live music. It’s too late for coffee. Psst…push-ups! You see now why I like to challenge people? I get a quick increase of energy…I am really just helping everyone out while I get my competitive energy out 😉 Both scenarios create an almost immeddiate boost in energy. Just a few push ups increase circulation, fire up the brain, heats the body up and boosts energy levels.
Increases Bone Mass: Let’s face it, as we get older our bone mass declines. That’s why doing weight baring exercises like push-ups are important to keeping our bones strong. Along with major muscle groups, push-ups are also good for your wrists and elbow, so your risk for injury is low.
Weight loss: Since the push-up is a total body movement it will increase your heart rate quickly…yay. Increasing your heart rate will result in burning more calories, weight loss and overall improvement in your body composition. PLUS! The less you weight, the more push ups you can do!
I love push-ups so much that I created an 8-Week Push-up Princess Program that I am testing out RIGHT now with a group of women ready to become a Push-up Princess.
Are you ready to become a bad ass push-up princess with me?
Guest post from Lara our kick ass office manager and fitness coach on 1% Fitness by Mike Sheridan.
In keeping with great KDR tradition, we are constantly educating ourselves so we can offer our members Knowledge Driven Results. In October, I read 1% Fitness by Mike Sheridan and loved it! I loved it so much I wanted to share some take home points that YOU should absolutely put into your life.
What really interested me as I was reading this book, was not necessarily the workouts, but the daily actions, which all of us could incorporate into our existing daily routines without rearranging our entire lives.
Most of our members, spend much of their daily lives in a seated position. From car to desk to car to chair/couch to car to bleachers to car to chair. They come into the gym tight, achy, creaky & cracking, and often giggle it off as “one of those things” or “getting older.” But by adding in the following movements you will help to work on those foundations to be less creaky, less achy, more aware of your own body and how it moves.
Get Up & Get Moving (Walk More)
According to 1% Fitness, walking has been shown to “reduce inflammation, support brain health/ memory, mood & cognitive function, as well as lower the risk of dementia and depression; support heart health, glucose management and immunity.” It has been proven that it is not the duration, but the frequency which provide added benefit. In the book he even gives a number of studies to support this.
What is your ACTION?
Take breaks from the desk & walk to the bathroom, walk up the stairs, walk around the building (inside or out), park farther away, take longer to walk while shopping, take the dog for a quick 10 minute walk… it doesn’t have to be a hike up a mountain for movement to add up and make a significant difference on your mood and to your life. Just get moving!
Hold the Deep Squat Daily
In 1% fitness, Mike Sheridan poses this question: “why does a baby sit comfortably in this (deep squat position) for hours, while the majority of adults fall on their backs, get stuck in the bottom position or cannot get into it to begin with” ? The answer- because although we may do it a few times per week in the RAMP at KDR Fitness, we do not practice it often enough, so we are losing our ability. Baies squat multiple times a day and so should you!
Why should you care? Because the deep squat is one of the best ways to maintain knee & hip mobility as well as help to improve everyday movements.
What is your ACTION?
Practice the Deep Squat every day. If you are in your office/house, start by lowering your butt all the way to the floor. If you need assistance to hold that position at depth, then use the leg of your desk, the door frame of your office door or coffee table/kitchen table leg at your house.
If you cannot bring your butt below your hips, then elevate your heels, by standing with your heels on a ream of paper or a 2 x 4. Attempt to hold that position once per day, for 30 seconds and build onto your time every single day. Try holding this position while you are watching TV, reading, or even eating, no matter when, just make time once, every day and do it! Mike Sheridan suggests “after you get to a solid 2-3 minute hold without support (no table leg) then you can start with multiple sets or more than one session per day.”
Build a Solid Foundation—Focus on Your Feet!!!
Mike Sheridan points out that “Shoes are coffins for our feet,” they change the form & function of our feet over time by providing too much support &/or permitting unnatural movement—shoes can create weak arches as well as prevent the foot from (natural movement patterns) “flexing and flattening that maintains muscle and mobility.” I have heard Ben say this a number of times, but after sitting down and reading this book the point really hit home.
Why does this matter? Just like the foundation of your home, your feet support the weight of your body and all your movements… so embrace your feet 🙂
What are your ACTIONS?
Embrace being barefoot—when you are walking … kick off those shoes, feel the grass on your feet, spread your toes on the ground—wiggle your toes. Don’t immediately try to go hiking for 30 minutes barefoot in the woods and then give up on being barefoot. Start slow and build up, get use to the feeling & paying attention to each step. Or, join a gym like OURS that encourages you to work out barefoot.
Improve your foot mobility by pointing & flexing your feet by spreading your toes & flexing your ankles with ankle mobility movements.
Increase your Foot Strength by trying these three exercises (find more in 1% Fitness):
Invisible high-heels—start in barefeet, raise up on to your tippy toes and walk
Bounce Walks… bounce walk with your heel elevated slightly as you bounce on the balls of your feet
Side Rolls- rolls from the outside edge of your foot to the ball of foot with full toe point
These exercises will help strengthen your feet each day you do them, which will improve your overall foundation and may even improve your other ailments. So… let’s get Moving!
Are you ready to get moving? Let’s move into the New Year with no holiday weight gain and an extra $300 in your pocket. Click on the link for more information.
In this article I am going to give you the answers to the following questions:
When should you go see your Doctor about knee pain?
How do you stretch your ankles and hips (the common reasons why people have knee pain when squatting and knee pain in general) to help you squat and move better?
The two different types of squats you can do and how to perform each.
And a hell of a lot more!
I hope you enjoy!
Quick Squat Tutorial
This is a real quick down and dirty squat tutorial where I go over the two types of squats – The power squat and natural squat.
Tests to determine what’s causing your squat issue.
There are three easy tests we use to assess someone’s ankle and hip mobility (mobility differs from flexibility). Mobility refers to how easy a joint moves, flexibility refers to how easy a muscle can move. Think gymnastics for mobility and yoga for stretching. For our purposes, we want good mobility, but as far as you are concerned the terms can be interchangeable when discussing the squat.
First test – Can you touch your toes?
This test assess your straight leg ankle mobility. If you cannot touch your toes this doesn’t mean you can’t squat, but it certainly tells us some stuff…mostly that you have tight ankles in a straight leg position.
Second test – can you squat, hips below knees AND hold it there for 10 seconds?
This test is pretty straight forward – Can you squat without pain? If you want to squat…you need to squat! This test allows us to assess your overall tightness. Specifically, we are looking at it from the hips down. Can you get below parallel? Can you hold it there? Bonus points if you can hold it there WITHOUT SHOES ON. Not a necessity, per se, but that is something to work towards. Some people can bounce down and up with no problem, we don’t want that.
Third test – Can you squat with hips below parallel AND keep your toes pointed straight ahead?
This is another pretty straight forward test – Where are your toes pointed once you get into the full squat and what do your knees do? Do your heels come up off the ground (tight ankles)? Do your knees cave in (tight hips)? Do your feet turn out (tight ankles)?
If you cannot perform any of those movements WITHOUT KNEE PAIN then skip down to the last video on this page – When should you talk to your doctor about knee pain with squatting?
Start at the ankles.
Most knee pain can be attributed to tight ankles. What exactly is a tight ankle/how do you know you have tight ankles? Well…you probably do. Tight ankles and a tight upper back are the MOST COMMON joint restrictions we see at our gym. World renowned Strength Coach Mike Boyle (arguably the guy who brought functional training into the mainstream) always says – “You can always improve your ankle and thoracic mobility.”
There are two ways you need to stretch your ankles – in a straight leg and in a bent knee fashion. You have two muscles that make up your calf (gastrocnemius and soleus – One likes a bent ankle, the other likes a straight leg) both need to be stretched in two different ways.
Then go to the hips.
Hip mobility is the next thing to tackle. Poor hip mobility will cause your knees to do some wonky things during the squat as well as possibly cause lower back pain if you are trying to force yourself into the bottom of the squat.
When should you see your doctor if squatting hurts your knees?
Understand something – Most, as in over 95%, of your aches and pains can be alleviated through proper exercise selection, rest and good coaching/program design. At the end of the day, it takes time to heal things.
Case in point.
Having said that – If you perform these stretches, a few times per day, for 30 days and you still have knee pain when squatting, you might want to consult your doctor. These are just STRETCHES/MOBILITY exercises. If you came to our gym with knee pain, we would use these exercises PLUS strengthening moves that target the hamstrings and glutes. But, that is too much for this article.
Here’s a quick video on WHEN you should go see your doctor about knee pain with squatting.
There ya go! I hope you enjoyed this article and that it helps you squat better without pain!
Do you have knee pain? Let us help you! Give us 30 days and we will show you how to fix your knee pain while also getting some weight off of you, improving your energy and teaching you a lot of things about your body you didn’t know!
Have you ever heard that “Squats are bad for your knees?” Let’s bust that myth RIGHT NOW because it is FALSE!
Where did this come from?
First of all – there are NO studies to support this statement. Zero. None. There are a number of studies that look at the loading forces on the knee through various squat depths, however, none of them conclude that squatting is “bad for the knees”. This is just one of the studies I found.
“Contrary to commonly voiced concern, deep squats do not contribute increased risk of injury to passive tissues.”
There is some talk about a Dr. Karl Klein who back in the 50’s looked at the rising knee injuries in college football players. He concluded that deep squats were what was causing the issues. Hmmmm….could it have been maybe that players played both offense AND defense? This story then got picked up by Sports Illustrated after he released his findings in 1961. Then the American Medical Association came out with their position stand on squat – stating that squats were bad for your knees and should be avoided.
And that folks…was the early death of squatting. Thanks to Dr. Klein, SI and the AMA we, as trainers, had to listen to our clients tell us how bad squats were for your knees..for the next 50 years. All this was based on NO SCIENTIFIC STUDY. That’s an important point to remember.
Squats aren’t bad of your knees…the way you are doing them is bad for your knees.
Saying squats are bad for your knees is such a silly thing when you think about it. Every time you get out of a chair/take a dump/get out of your car – that’s a squat. As human beings we were MADE to squat!
From an evolutionary perspective – if we couldn’t squat, we wouldn’t have been very good hunters. Ever try hiding standing up? Also…did you know that the first firing position initially taught to rifleman in the military was to fire from a deep squat? That’s right!!! It’s much easier for you to drop down into a squat position and get back up into a run then it is to lay all the way down on the ground, sight, fire, then get up. Maybe not in hunting a deer, but certainly in a fire fight against an enemy.
The reason this was taken out was because people were complaining of knee pain. I’ve worked for the military, they don’t just throw out an idea and hope it works. This was a position that was used for hundreds of years that had to be changed in the mid 20th century due to people sitting more and not having good mobility and/or strength to perform this task.
Then you have the biomechanics perspective – our knee joint is a hinge joint, it’s made to go from a full straightened position to a fully flexed position. Black, red, brown, white no matter your skin color, we are all built the EXACT SAME WAY. So, explain to me why entire continents of people can squat ass to grass (that means all the way down in fitness talk) with no pain? Often times when I throw this out to people, the answer I get the most of is – “because they do it often.”
Where does the problem lie?
The problem that arises when people try and squat, i.e. the reason why people’s knees hurt when they squat is three fold:
Their form sucks.
They have poor mobility in their ankles and hips which leads to their knees getting beat up.
They have an underlying pathology of pain like arthritis (even if you have arthritis you can still squat safely and effectively) or a torn meniscus or something along those lines
Bad form folks. Don’t be like Jonny “I don’t know Squats”.
That’s it for part one. In part we will go over the two different ways to squat as well as how to fix tight ankles and hips AND when you seriously just shouldn’t squat.
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At the end of our RAMP (Range of Motion, Activation, Movement Prep…fancy way of saying warm up) we have some movements that improve your balance through locomotion. These movements are basic play ground exercises like skipping, side shuffling, cross over, 360 runs, etc. It’s amazing how many people can’t skip! We do this to help our members improve their balance (among other things). Prevent falling is one of the more common goals we hear from our older members.
Locomotion is simply moving from one point to another point, i.e. running.
Falling is a real fear as you age. Falling is also a real fear if your weak. I have VERY good balance from years of wrestling, Judo and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. When I was going through chemo, I would often lose my balance JUST WALKING DOWN STAIRS. If you want to feel what it will be like when you get older with no exercise…go through 2 months of chemo. Eye opener.
Why do we fall? Simple – because we lose our balance! However, WHAT causes us to lose our balance? Well…that doesn’t really matter. That’s the wrong question to ask, the right question is – how do I prevent myself from falling. That one is simple – improve your dynamic and static balance. And getting stronger, that tends to help with everything.
Static and Dynamic Balance
True story! As you age, you get weaker if your not working on getting stronger, that’s just a natural thing that occurs. Well, as your muscle mass/strength decreases, so does your ability to hold your self up right on one leg – static balance. Now for most people static balance isn’t the issue because it’s rare that someone just falls over from losing their balance standing still. That’s called passing out…and we can’t really train you to prevent that.
Chris working on his dynamic balance with some lateral skips.
Dynamic balance is the issue. How many times have you heard – “I was walking and lost my balance, fell and hurt my arm/knee/hip/back, etc.” from a friend or older family member? A lot i bet! That’s dynamic balance – as you move from one leg to the other are you able to keep your center of gravity and mass between your legs and not outside your base of support.
Falling is an uncontrolled run, because all running is a controlled fall. Try it. Try to run with out leaning forward, you don’t really go very far. You must lose your balance ever so slightly, catch your self and then continue that…it’s just a series of falls. Now, running it’s self won’t improve balance because people tend to fall when they CAN’T RECOVER FROM LOSING THEIR BALANCE. Remember – walking is a controlled fall. We can fall great, but its when we can’t recover that we actually cause an injury to our self.
That’s where things like skipping, side shuffling, backwards running, etc. all come into play. By practicing those movements we haven’t done since we were kids we improve our dynamic balance, help ward against fall related injuries AND get to practice a skill we haven’t used in a while which helps the brain stay young. Plus, it’s a lot of fun! I dare you to skip with out smiling!
So…check out this short video on WHY we locomote after our RAMP and to hear a little bit more on dynamic balance.
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