Leaking while jumping rope…there’s still a lot of misinformation surrounding this topic. Most women think that they just need to accept that they will always leak with jumping rope after having a baby, that there’s nothing they can do about it, or that having surgery to fix the issue will permanently repair it.
First and foremost, please understand leaking during ANY movement isn’t normal, you can find help to solve the problem, and wearing pads and protective underwear isn’t a solution, it’s only a band-aid solution.
It’s time to care more about women who pee when they jump, and spend less time making jokes or light of the situation because many women suffer in silence from this condition. They are embarrassed or feel incredibly self-conscious about it, and don’t know what to do about it or who to turn to, so they keep on dealing with and hoping that it will just somehow go away some day. Awareness and small adjustments with your jump rope technique can make a big difference!
And yes, I understand that many coaches simply don’t know, or don’t want to touch on this subject because it’s uncomfortable and potentially embarrassing. I completely understand.
However, ignoring, or laughing off this condition is essentially doing the same thing as making light of when someone has a knee, hip, or shoulder injury. This approach only compromises a woman’s performance in the gym as well as her long term health and function.
A simple way for us coaches to address incontinence with exercise is to be more open and about it and make it part of the strategy talk for our athletes right before they begin their workouts. Just as you would give your athletes advice when they start to lose form, need to modify, need to take a breather, etc., we need to do the same thing for our female athletes who deal with incontinence.
Peeing yourself during exercise is basically your body’s way of losing form and “breaking down” from a movement.
If you find that you leak while jumping rope, here are a few things to consider:
1. Find a pelvic floor physio in your area to have an internal evaluation of your PF done, and find a fitness professional in your area who has the education and experience to help you with your fitness goals as you work to resolve this issue.
2. Pay attention to your alignment during the exercise. There are many ways that jumping rope goes wrong: the “Ace Ventura, the “Girls On Display”, the “Laverne & Shirley” (I know…I just totally aged myself). These poor patterns throw u out of alignment and create more load on your core and pelvic floor.
This is huge…keep your ribs stacked nicely over the hips and lean SLIGHTLY forward, no rib thrusting.
Jump straight up and down with little knee and ankle bend and land on the balls of your feet.
3. Breathe..NO breath holding, belly bracing, belly gripping, or gripping the abs and glutes.
While it’s a common response to want to suck in your belly on a daily basis, this can negatively impact how your core responds to load and impact. Your abs should be able to let go, relax, and find stability through breathing and not just holding tight all the time. ALL of the muscles in your body, including the muscles of your core and pelvic floor, need to be able to both contract and relax!
Another compensatory pattern that women demonstrate for a lack of core stability and function is to grip and squeeze her glutes when jumping…or running for that matter. They don’t always realize that they are doing it because it becomes second nature to them, but this also impacts the readiness and availability of the core and pelvic floor to respond to impact and load.
If you are squeezing your butt while you jump rope then it’s very likely that your pelvic floor is holding as tight of a contraction as possible (Kegel) in effort to keep you from leaking or peeing.
Let’s help you get rid of these bad habits and create better ones for the sake of your core and pelvic floor. Make sure that you exhale before each foot strike. This helps to reduce the load on your pelvic floor. Here’s why:
On an inhale your diaphragm descends down into your abdominal cavity and your ribs expand in a 360 degree manner. Your pelvic floor also relaxes and expands in order to accommodate the increased pressure from your diaphragm descending into your abdomen.
On you exhale breath, both your pelvic floor “springs back” in response to your diaphragm ascending back up into your rib cage and your transverse abs gently contract to help support the pelvis and spine, create stability, and create enough tension that will match the demand of whatever task is being performed (i.e. jumping rope).
This is why it is SO IMPORTANT to breathe and make sure you are exhaling before and with every foot strike, so that your core can better absorb the impact you are placing upon it.
4. Experiment a little: find out how many double-unders or singles you can do before you leak. Stop your set a few reps before then and give yourself a minute or so before you try for your next set of leak-free jumps. Build up your volume as you find that you can tolerate more reps. Start out with singles, or even simply jumping a little bit to get your timing down with breathing and foot strike before moving to double-unders.
5. If you are recently postpartum, give yourself at least 4 maybe even 6 months (possibly longer if breastfeeding) before adding in jumping, so that you can let the core and pelvic floor gain more strength and endurance.
6. If you are pregnant, PLEASE consider taking a proactive effort in preserving your pelvic health consider eliminating or reducing the volume of jumping rope by the 2nd trimester.
7. Please know this journey to becoming leak free with jumping rope takes time, practice, and patience with yourself because you are essentially learning a new skill.
Please feel free to share this with a fellow mom friend who may need to hear this, and if you haven’t already…be sure to sign up for my FREE Mommy Tummy Makeover Mini-Course where I share some of the EXACT tools that will help you get your core foundation right, so you can eliminate the leaking with exercise and feel stronger in your core than you did pre-pregnancy!