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  • Writer's pictureDr. Melissa Thompson, PT, DPT, MTC, PCES, FAMM

How To Stop Bladder Leakage With Lifting & Exercise

Updated: Dec 25, 2023



If you're experiencing bladder leakage during your lifts, this is a sign of pelvic floor muscle dysfunction.


It's also something that is very common, and most people associate with pregnancy related issues.


However, bladder leakage or stress incontinence can occur at any stage of life if pelvic floor dysfunction is present.


When it occurs with lifting, it is usually due to poor pressure management.


This means that there is too much pressure built up inside the abdominal cavity, and the pelvic floor is not able to do its job and withstand that pressure. So a little pee dribbles out.


This often happens at the bottom of a lift when the most control is needed.


Here are some of my top tips to address leakage specifically with lifting:



Learn to relax and lengthen your pelvic floor through diaphragmatic breathing and loaded eccentric lengthening.


In order to be able to withstand an increase in intra-abdominal pressure and stop leaking during your lifts, the pelvic floor needs to be trained.


A kegel or pelvic floor muscle contraction is simply not enough. The pelvic floor needs to learn to do this in coordination with the breath and with different parts of the lift - meaning at the right time.



Comprehensive and targeted accessory muscle strengthening and flexibility that isn't part of the lifting routine in necessary.


I often see lifting programs that are not addressing the person's true deficits and instead are just written for muscle groups like quads, deltoids, hamstrings, and biceps.


If your program is missing exercises that target stability muscles, it's likely your pelvic floor strength and flexibility will be affected. This then affects your overall ability to control the lift, go up in weight, and can lead to pain and leakage.



Improve your nervous system capacity.


I can't stress this one enough. When we are running under high stress, the pelvic floor remains tense and overly sensitive to stimuli.


This means that it will lose the ability to coordinate and go through its full range of motion.


A pelvic floor that can't go through its full range of motion will not be able to withstand the increase in intra-abdominal pressure needed for a lift.



Work with a Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist


This is the fastest and most direct way to stop bladder leakage with lifting.


A pelvic floor PT - sometimes called a women's health physical therapist or pelvic floor specialist - can assess your pelvic floor during various activities and give you feedback on if you are bracing correctly, controlling your pelvic floor correctly, and what changes you can make to your program with accessory exercises.


If you're ready to address your leakage with exercise, click the button below!


Dr. Melissa Thompson, PT, DPT, MTC, PCES, FAMM

Pelvic Health Physical Therapist

Flow Physical Therapy and Wellness

4200 Research Forest Drive, Ste 150, The Woodlands, TX 77381

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