So, I do Crossfit. And I’m a pelvic floor physiotherapist. If you haven’t heard….these two things combined are a little controversial. When Crossfit made and released the below video, I am sure they did not anticipate the barrage of criticism that was unleashed by hundreds of enraged continence physio’s worldwide. We can be a passionate bunch….we normally only need a little poke to get started, but this was like waving a red flag at a bull. So much material to tear apart! And they couldn’t have made it easier…….Geez, they started by calling the medical condition by the wrong name! So, enough talking - if you haven’t seen it, here it is:
Crazy? Yes. Appalling? Indeed. Now, as I referred to before, there has been a barrage of well articulated articles written by pelvic floor health professionals about everything that is wrong with this clip. Here are two of the best which I encourage you to read:
But, despite all this….I still do Crossfit. And here’s why:
So, what about the pelvic floor?
Well, Stress Urinary Incontinence (which is the internationally accepted correct terminology) occurs when the intra-abdominal pressure above the bladder exceeds the closure pressure generated by the pelvic floor muscles and soft tissue structures below the bladder. This pressure can come from weight, from impact caused by the ground reaction force, and by bracing the abdominals. The thing is, yes these things can occur during Crossfit, but they also occur during Netball, Tennis, Soccer, Football, Dancing, Running, Jumping on the trampoline and any other activity that involves pushing your body.
Should we accept it if we leak during ANY of these activities? No. And that’s where The Crossfit clip went so terribly wrong. Don’t accept it, treat your incontinence as you would treat any injury in your body - don’t push through it, get it assessed, scale back until you can do the movement with correct technique and no dysfunction, which in the case of the pelvic floor muscles, means no urinary leaking or feelings of heaviness.
If you are thinking about starting Crossfit, research your choices. Choose a box that has experienced coaches, has an induction training program, that limits class sizes so technique can be monitored, and that doesn’t pressure you to add weight or intensity unless you are ready. If you are concerned about your pelvic floor function or don’t know how to control your pelvic floor muscles, make an appointment with a pelvic floor and continence physio who can answer all your questions or visit my website at womankindphysiotherapy.com.
Enjoy your WOD!
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