This article best suits anyone who works out regularly, particularly doing Olympic-style weightlifting. If you are also thinking of increasing the intensity of your workouts and want to minimize the negative impacts related to the pelvic region, then this article is also for you. This article is also suited for you if you have had childbirth, has reached menopause, have been expectant or has any critical surgeries in the abdominal region.
Let us define what pelvic is first; this the ‘hip’ region in the abdomen that is made up of muscles, connective tissues, and ligaments and supports the uterus, bowel and the bladder.
When the pelvis becomes dysfunctional, it can quickly lead to urinary incontinence, which is a widespread problem in women but with very few cases reported in men.
Escape From Pelvic Pain
When lifting weights, you need to brace yourself with the right breathing techniques. Dr. McBride (2016) is an orthopedic specialist who has in the recent years advised that improper breathing leads to pelvic dysfunction. But with more and more research, it’s becoming clear that breathing techniques are a key component of proper form when exercising.
Diaphragm breathing exercises
Diaphragm breathing exercises enable you to brace yourself when strengthening the core muscles. With knees bent, lie on your back while placing your hands on the lower abdomen.
In that position, exhale forcefully to expel all possible air from your lungs, then inhale until your lungs are full. This will help reduce pain, as you will get extra oxygen in your blood system.
Engage your abdominal muscles during the exercise
In engaging your core muscles of the abdomen during exercise, it is advisable to engage the muscles internally rather than externally. External engagement of the muscles can lead to a ‘corset’, which is also caused a side effect of improper breathing.
During intense exercise, you may find that your muscles are squeezed together, forming crunches and curls, which puts too much pressure on the midriff.
Adopt safe abs exercises
If you are at risk of getting a pelvic injury, you should avoid any exercise which puts a strain on the upper abdominal muscles. Such activities include sit-ups, crunches, and movements where legs and hands are all raised simultaneously.
Try to adopt safe abs exercises such as:
- Kegel exercise
- Modified double leg lifts
- Diaphragm breathing exercise
- Modified plank
Let us look into some of these slightly safer exercises.
Carrying out a modified plank
In carrying out modified plank, you will need to be on your hands and knees with your weight on your arms.
Kegel exercise is the most appropriate exercise to preserve your pelvic floor and avoid pain. You can do Kegels standing, sitting, or lying down but lying down on your back is the most desirable position.
Contract the abdominal muscles as if you are resisting the urge of urination. While still holding on the contraction, wait for about 10 seconds and then repeat.
It is recommended that you carry out Kegels exercise for at least five minutes every day. Apart from the relief of pain in the pelvic region, Kegels exercise leads to extra therapeutic benefits such as more intense orgasms.
Standard double leg raises
If a standard double leg causes too much pain or strain, perform a modified double leg raise, where only one leg is raised while the head and the shoulder are kept in constant contact with the floor.
By doing so, you will achieve the benefits of the exercise activity while at the same time helping to avoid pelvic strain. The exercise should be repeated ten times with each leg, making sure that breathing technique is correct.
Straight back squats
With the feet shoulder width kept apart and heels steadfastly maintained on the floor, bend at the waist with your knees as if you are about to sit into a chair.
Position yourself in a position that you will not need to lean forward as you squat. Do a set of ten squats appropriately, making sure your breathing is correct to avoid any pain.
What to do during weightlifting
During weightlifting or any strenuous activity, you might find that you clench your buttocks for a long time, which increases the chances of experiencing pain in the pelvis.
You need to avoid clenching your butt muscles for long periods as they are equally important in maintaining the strength of the pelvic floor and preventing any pain.
Further preventions for pelvic pain
Pilates-based exercises which focus on the pelvic floor and muscles of the abdomen can enable you to do away with the discomforts which result from strenuous activities.
Pilates is the safest and the most beneficial method if you are expectant, or if you have chronic pain in the pelvic region.
Calf raises are a set of exercises which can be carried out without developing pelvic pain. Perform without any weights, or have weights recommended by an instructor.
Failure to adhere to your recommended loads might lead to an over-stretch on the calf to the point that the walking style changes, which affects the support of the pelvic region. Stick to light weights.
Swimming is debatable. It can either contribute to pelvic pain or help in eradicating it and therefore it is an activity that requires a lot of keen instruction.
Strokes like breaststroke should be avoided by patients having onsets of pain, but it is a great exercise alternative for those worried about developing pelvic pain.
The use of a StepMill cardiovascular machine can help you perform more strenuous exercises without getting pelvic pains. While running on the machine, your gluteal muscles are relaxed in such a way that you do not have to crunch the butt muscles, which is what causes negative effects on the pelvic floor.
Things to avoid when you start experiencing pains in the abdomen
If you experience severe pain in the abdomen you should seek medical advice immediately. If you are concerned about pelvic pains, avoiding biking and spinning and olympic weightlifting. These activities exert pressure on your gluteal muscles and the entire pelvic region.
To schedule an appointment, call Focus Physiotherapy today at 289-201-2451 or contact us here.