Real Talk is a series aimed at getting personal – think of me as your friend, sharing with you my individual experiences in things not everyone tells you. As a transparent and open person, I’ve found I benefit from sharing my experiences this way as it makes others more comfortable opening up and reciprocating – and that’s how we learn! Look for new Real Talk installments each month, and I strongly encourage commenting and sharing your own thoughts and experiences.
I can’t do double-unders yet.
My timing isn’t quite right – I can do 2 singles and one double, then go right back to singles again, but trying to string together a few double-unders? Forget it. My rope slams into my shoes around the second rotation, every time. It’s also around this time that I feel like I’m going to pee, mid jump, and ruin everything.
The other night, I was practicing in my garage – and managed to string together NINE double-unders! I was so excited. But … my accomplishment was immediately overshadowed by the fact that all the jumping made me pee again. Is something wrong with me? Do I need to talk to my doctor or gynecologist? Am I going to have to wear black shorts or leggings every time double-unders show up in the WOD?!
Actually, about 25% of women have this problem!
So it’s perfectly normal. Well, not normal – but it’s nothing to worry about, and it’s a fixable issue! It’s called stress incontinence. An increase in abdominal pressure, such as during heavy lifts or explosive jumping movements, causes your insides to squeeze. And what’s left at the bottom to suffer the consequences? Your bladder. When your body is utilizing all it’s got to perform a complex or heavy movement, your body’s focus turns to those affected muscles. As a result, your pelvic floor becomes a low priority. Without your body focusing on activating the pelvic floor, it’s really easy (and almost uncontrollable in that it’s an automated function) for you to pee a little.
So what do you do?!
It’s simple – kegels! I know what you’re thinking – those are for old ladies and moms, not me. Actually, kegels are beneficial to everyone, including men! Who wouldn’t benefit from increased strength in their pelvic floor? These are super easy to integrate into your daily routine – and no one will even notice you doing this at your desk or in the car. I am trying to aim for 3 times a day, doing both slow and quick exercises. The shorter, quicker exercises help with your fast twitch muscles, such as those you need to engage during double-unders!
Start with the following, 3x a day:
- SLOW: 5 second squeeze, 3 second rest – 10x
- QUICK: 1 second squeeze, 1 second rest – 10x
As these get easier, increase the amount squeeze time on the slow exercise, and increase the amount of reps on the quick exercise. Consider kegels part of your workout. Consistency here is key! If you stop doing them, your pelvic floor muscles will begin to weaken again.
How to do you remember to practice kegels every day?
I’ve downloaded an app called “Kegel – Pelvic Floor Exercise Trainer“. It’s free, and you can customize your exercise routine to what feels comfortable to you. It vibrates every time you need to squeeze and relax, so you can just set it in your lap or hold it and concentrate fully on the exercises. It’s also SUPER discreet looking on your phone, and you can set your reminders to say “exercise” or “practice” so your phone isn’t screaming at you to squeeze your kegel muscles while you’re at work.
I’ve just started integrating this into my daily routine, so I’ll be coming back with updates on whether or not I think this has helped me! I’m hopeful, because I really want to nail double-unders in time for the Open – which is just in a few short weeks!!
Have you tried kegel exercises, and found them helpful? I’d love to hear your experiences!