Strengthening the core – and two forms of incontinence.

Posted by & filed under Exercise and Training.


The most obvious effect of a weak core is backache.  Next injury attributed to a weak core is sore knees.  Why do they say this? The core needs to be working well to help the sacrum stabilise properly so the hips don’t wobble about when we walk or run. A weak core lowers performance and increases pain, no matter what we are doing, although it is far from the only problem.

Especially for the females, a weak core makes a sudden sneeze a thing to fear  And any prancing about on a trampoline or those fitness classes that involve a lot of leaping up and down needs investment in some kind of pee catcher.

So getting the pelvic floor lifting and strengthening helps all the above.

Key Point:  the abs gently flatten and the pelvic floor lifts in a most pleasant way.  Effortless.

Obvious result: exercises like the plank or the commando crawl are easy.

The inability to cough without fear of getting soggy knickers is called stress incontinence.  A different form of incontinence is called urge incontinence.  In this condition, there can be a sudden desire to pee irrespective of how full the bladder is, and, even worse, the bladder can suddenly partly empty despite all efforts to stop it.  The muscle that we use to empty our bladder is called the detrusor muscle, and in the case of urge incontinence, it is overactive.

One cure is to breath in very deeply so the pelvic floor really flattens down.  Putting a hand between the legs, we will feel the vulva – and anus – expand on the in breath.  This will help relax the over excited detrusor muscle.

On a brief power lifting course last March, at the bottom of a full squat – bum to floor – we were instructed to breathe in fully so the belly blew out, and then hold the breath as we ascended.

This whole tank of air holds the torso solid as we push upwards with some impressively heavy weight on our shoulders.

So is a weight lifters belt to support the back or to encourage us to blow the abs out strongly to press into it?

The bottom line for us all – male and female – lies breathing well. Relax the tummy on the in breath so the whole of the abdominal area swells and the back and sides of the ribs expand, and then everything subsides on the out breath.

And be careful of doing too much oblique training.  A good core involves strengthening the lower abs, and these include the obliques.  If they get over strong, then urge incontinence problems can get worse.

And, just like any other muscle, the obliques can get over tight and be unable to let go, frequently causing backache.  Therefore backache is not always caused by weak abs!

If we seek to develop good breathing technique along with a very active pelvic floor that goes not only up but also down,  not only will out sports performance go up, so will our sexual performance.  Result.




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