February 1 2018
Author of Running Rewired Jay Dicharry offers a hip mobility test (and some quick fixes) for runners of all fitness levels.
Most women are familiar with exercises that tighten the muscles of your pelvic floor. These exercises are sometimes called kegels and involve squeezing and lifting the hammock of muscles that run from the back of your pelvis to your pubic bones at the front, your pelvic floor.
Exercises like these might have been recommended to you if you tend to leak a bit of urine when you sneeze or when you take part in a high impact activity like running (stress incontinence).
This seems logical because if your pelvic floor is weak and you can’t prevent urine from escaping, then it makes sense to try to tighten up these muscles, right? Not necessarily…actually many women who run already have very tight pelvic floor muscle and this might actually be the problem.
The pelvic floor can be so tight, in fact, that these muscles are effectively weakened because they are permanently overworking in a constricted state. So when the bladder is put under sudden pressure, they are unable to generate enough power quickly to block off the flow of urine.
In these circumstances, working on exercises, like kegels, to tighten the pelvic floor will actually make things worse, not better.