Is it ok to pee during CrossFit™?
By Ellie Bowden
In 2013, CrossFit™ released a video which attempted to normalise the growing problem of peeing during workouts. Rory McKernan went around the Central East Regionals, asking the question “Do you pee during your workouts?” He asked spectators, competing athletes and a qualified gynaecologist who all shared the same opinion; it’s normal! Don’t worry!
This movement has taken hold of the CrossFit community. Well known athletes post videos and photos of their max effort lifting attempts, high rep double under workouts and box jumps which have ended in a wet pair of tights. There needs to be a distinction.
Is it common to pee during such a workout? Yes. Is it okay? Absolutely not.
The pelvic floor is a group of muscles. They have the ability to be weakened (through things like pregnancy) and they have the ability to be strengthened. When you push these muscles to failure, you lose the ability to control your pee. Compare this to other muscles that fail in a box jump; if your calf cramps, do you continue to do another 50 reps?
The more you work the muscle to failure, the weaker it becomes. So, what’s the solution?
Firstly, work on your pelvic floor muscles. See a pelvic floor specialist physiotherapist (I highly recommend Active Rehabilitation Physiotherapy). Work your rehab exercises like you would any shoulder exercises.
Secondly, there are instances where you might be at your wits end, doing everything right but still unable to properly exercise without leakage. There are products that can act as “bandaids” in the meantime. They will not assist in your rehab, but they will allow you to exercise leak-free as you work towards a stronger pelvic floor.
Finally, engage your pelvic floor in all exercises, whether you currently experience issues or not. If you can learn to properly engage in a heavy lift such as a back squat, this will give you more stability in your lift and a stronger pelvic floor.