Does Peeing with Jumping Impact Your Life?
Are you nervous every time you play “lava” with your kids or dread when they suggest going to the trampoline park? Do you cringe anytime jump roping shows up in a workout? Peeing with jumping should not be what holds you back from these fun activities! It can be fixed! Let’s talk about how you can end peeing with jumping.
Core System = Soda Can
Peeing with jumping is a sign that your core system is not functioning properly. Think of your core as a soda can. The top of our can is our diaphragm, the bottom is our pelvic floor, and the sides are your deep stabilizing abdominal and back muscles. These muscles all work together to regulate the pressure in our abdomen.
If all of these muscles are functioning like they should, your core is like a full unopened soda can. It’s stable and strong! (Think about it – an unopened soda can is not strong because it has super thick walls. It’s strong because of the pressure in the can.) As soon as a part of your core is not functioning properly, that soda can is now opened. It isn’t very stable any longer. An opened soda can is easily dented or crushed. That’s when things can go wrong (like peeing your pants).
So Why am I Peeing with Jumping?
There are quite a few things that can contribute to peeing with jumping. Walk yourself through this quiz to see if any of these most common reasons are causing your peeing with jumping.
1. Am I Holding my Breath?
Breathing is such an important tool in managing the pressure in our abdomen. How can something so easy do that much? During breathing in, our diaphragm and pelvic floor both move downwards in order to regulate the pressure in our abdominal cavity. When breathing out, our diaphragm and pelvic floor both move up. If you don’t have adequate movement in either of those areas, it can create more pressure in the abdomen than what your pelvic floor is capable of withstanding, and you will be more likely to pee your pants.
Therefore, it’s so important to KEEP BREATHING when you jump! Holding your breath actually increases your intra-abdominal pressure by 2 to 3 times. Mind blown!
Breathe in a 360 Degree Pattern
So how should I be breathing? You really want to engage your entire diaphragm when breathing. It should feel like your ribs are an umbrella opening and closing with each breath. Avoid shallow breathing (chest rising) or only belly breathing (no lateral rib movement). Shallow breathing can also place too much pressure downward onto the pelvic floor. Check out the video below that walks through how to use your entire diaphragm and breathe properly.
2. Do I Have Good Posture?
Watch yourself in a mirror or have a friend take a video of you jumping to find out. Why does posture matter? Picture your rib cage and pelvis as two bowls facing each other. For your core can system to function well, those bowls need to be stacked on top of each other. If those bowls are not stacked on top of each other (for example: leaning backwards, tucking tailbone under, sticking your butt out, or flaring your ribs), more pressure can be placed downward, which can lead to peeing with jumping.
3. How’s My Landing?
Landing on a flat foot or straight knee causes a higher amount of impact to travel up through your legs and core. Your core system has to work that much harder with a higher amount of impact. Instead, keep your knees soft. Try landing lightly on your mid or forefoot versus a flat foot.
4. Is My Pelvic Floor Functioning Well?
We of course need to address the pelvic floor anytime peeing your pants is a symptom. Both tightness and weakness in your pelvic floor can contribute to peeing with jumping. Wait – it’s bad if I have a TIGHT pelvic floor? Yup – it’s just as problematic as a weak one! A tight pelvic floor is like a trampoline without any give.
So how do I know if my pelvic floor is tight or weak? Many of their symptoms overlap, such as leaking or difficulty performing a Kegel. Because of this, the only way to truly know which you have is through an exam by a pelvic floor physical therapist. To give you an idea of which category you may fall into, here are some symptoms that often correspond with pelvic floor tightness:
- Chronic constipation
- Difficulty relaxing to begin urination
- Straining for either bowel movements or urination
- Incomplete emptying of bladder or bowels
- Urinary urgency or frequency
- Pelvic, tailbone, hip, or back pain
- Discomfort with intercourse, tampon insertion, or a gynecological exam
To learn how to fix pelvic floor tightness or weakness, check out this blog post.
Pelvic Floor Coordination
Oftentimes it’s not just a weakness or tightness issue in the pelvic floor muscles that cause peeing with jumping, but it’s also a coordination issue. Our pelvic floor is reactive. When you land, your pelvic floor muscles should be active and hold your sphincters shut so you don’t pee your pants. If you have good pelvic floor strength and length but still leak with impact, your pelvic floor muscles may not be turning on at the correct times.
So how do I fix my pelvic floor coordination? You need to teach them to contract when you land! Check out this exercise below that will help you improve the coordination of your pelvic floor muscles.
I Know What I Need to Work on! Now What?
You found the areas that may be contributing to your peeing with jumping. Great! Now you just need to build volume! How do I do that? Follow the steps below.
- Step 1: Find your sub-leaking threshold. Find how many jumps you can do or how long you can jump rope before you leak. Let’s say you can do 20 single unders with a jump rope before you leak.
- Step 2: Build volume at your sub-leaking threshold. 3 days during that first week, do 20 single unders (your sub-leaking threshold).
- Step 3: Increase volume by about 10-20% the following week. As long as you experience no peeing with jumping during the previous step, then the following week you will increase your jumping volume by about 10-20%. 3 days this second week, you will now do 22-24 single unders.
- Step 4: Repeat step 3. Each week you will continue to slowly increase your jumping volume. If you leak at any point, first check your breathing, posture, and landing. If all those are on point, then decrease your jumping volume back to a sub-leaking threshold. Do another week at that jumping volume. Then try increasing it again.
What If I Leak with Even One Jump?
If you leak even with one or very few jumps, there are a lot of great alternative exercises to work on getting your core system ready for the impact of a jump. Try these exercises below.
Stay Active and Dry!
There is so much that can be done to end peeing with jumping. Give these tips and exercises a try. If you continue to experience any amount of leaking, then it may be time to reach out to your favorite pelvic floor physical therapist. We want to make sure you stay active and dry!