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How to Stop Peeing During Double Unders and Jump Rope

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Double unders and jump rope are a tough movement. They get our heart rate up and are a great workout.
But when you’re peeing whenever you do them, it can be a real bummer.
You are not alone if you are peeing when you jump rope. Did you know that about 45% of women (whether they’ve had babies or not) pee when they jump rope?
In CrossFit, this shows up as peeing with double unders. Peeing when we have an increase in the impact of a movement is known as stress urinary incontinence. This happens when we put a high demand on our body like when we jump rope.
We get it! It’s embarrassing. But we can definitely help!
In this blog, we are going to talk about what to do about it. First up is some coaching cues to consider when double unders or jump rope come onto the whiteboard. Then we’ll do some modifications to work your body up to doing double unders.

Here are 5 things we want you to think about the next time double unders come up in a workout.

1. Keep your ribs over your pelvis.

Many women will arch their backs too much when they go to jump rope. This arch is a lot of work but it also makes the pelvic floor need to do more work. Keeping that rib cage pinned down and avoiding arching can make a big difference on if you pee.

2. Land SOFTLY

When we are stomping as we jump, it is more effort for the pelvic floor. Try a couple of repetitions without any music on or the music low. How much can you hear your feet? If you’re stomping, try to land a bit softer and see how you feel.

3. Keep your hands out in front of you

When you are jumping, you should be able to see your hands. What often happens is as we get tired, we start to drift our hands behind us and away from us. This makes us more likely to make a mistake. But it also makes us more likely to pee.

4. Be intentional about your breath

When you get tired and are doing something hard, we can hold our breath. It isn’t bad to hold our breath but it turns the muscles of our core on stronger and makes our heart rate go even higher.
For double unders and jumping rope, you want to try to keep your breathing under control. Be intentional. Focus on taking big deep breaths instead of shallow ones. This will stop you from hyperventilating which makes your heart rate jump. It also helps your pelvic floor contract at the right time.

5. Don't kegel the entire time.

When we are afraid we are going to pee, it’s easy to think the answer is to tighten up those muscles. I’m here to tell you that isn’t the answer.
Our pelvic floor gets too tired if we try to kegel the entire time. That would be like holding the top of a pull up for 30 seconds. Eventually our muscles get tired and start to fail. That fail point is when people leak on the rope.
Instead, try focus on your ribs over your pelvis (tip 1) and being intentional about your breath (tip 4). Your pelvic floor will do its thing and squeeze at the right times.

Did you try all these things and you’re still peeing? Don’t worry. This shows we might need to take a step back and build up to bigger sets on the jump rope.

Here are 3 strategy changes to use when you are still peeing with double unders.

1. Take smaller sets at a number lower than when you leak

It is different person to person WHEN you leak with jump rope. For some people, it is after 20 repetitions. For others its 60. Usually this is when your pelvic floor gets fatigued and can’t keep contracting as hard as it needs to.
The strategy then is to go UNDER when you leak and accumulate volume there.
Here’s an example. If you leak at 25 double unders and the workout has a set of 100. You will go 20-20-20-20-20. After each set of 20, take a couple of deep breaths and then go again.
NOTE: As you get tired, you may notice instead of being able to do 25, you can do 15. That’s okay! When you started your conditioning you feel a lot better than you do at the end… its normal!

2. Do as single single double or lateral single unders to bring impact down

Double unders are a bit tougher on the body then single unders.
Single unders are a bit tougher on the body then lateral hops (with or without the rope).
Knowing this is powerful. It means you can scale up or down the movement based on how you are doing.
Doing sets of single-double-single-double will help your coordination. It will ALSO get your pelvic floor trained for bigger sets.

3. Do first sets as jump rope, then scale to something else.

How tired you are in the workout matters. You see people’s form get worse as they get tired. It happens to all of us. It means that your pelvic floor can get tired in the workout and you can feel more symptoms.
If this is happening to you, you can start with the jump rope and then switch movements. Movement options can be plate taps, penguin hops, lateral hops or mountain climbers.

Not working? It's time to talk to a pelvic floor physical therapist.

Pelvic floor physical therapists are a WONDERFUL resource. They will help figure out your specific situation. They will be able to assess if you’re too tight, weak, or if coordination is off.
If you are getting frustrated trying to figure this out on your own, there is a PT that can be in your corner.
 Have any other questions?
Leave us a comment below!

Christina Prevett, MSCPT, CSCS, PHD (CANDIDATE)

Christina Prevett, MSCPT, CSCS, PHD (CANDIDATE)

Christina Prevett is a pelvic floor physiotherapist who has a passion for helping women with different life transitions, including postpartum care and menopause.

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