Leaking with Double-Unders??
Here are some things to try to stay dry and hit that WOD with confidence:
This past January, we had the pleasure of speaking to the athletes of Empire State CrossFit in Mamaroneck, NY (their box is absolutely beautiful!). We provided education on stress urinary incontinence and ways to help mitigate the issue through exercise and different ways Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy can help. One exercise in particular, the double-under, was a hot issue, and I just wanted to address that a little bit more here.
For those who might not be familiar with this popular CrossFit exercise, a double-under is an intermediate form of jumping rope where you jump higher and the rope passes under the feet twice. It requires speed and coordination and is an excellent conditioning tool. Add that into an already intense WOD (or “Workout of the Day”), and you could be faced with increased fatigue that hampers your posture and overall movement quality. This can lead to pressure management issues and leaking!
Below are some simple tips that you can use TODAY to improve your movement and decrease incidence of leaking:
- Eyes: Keep them Forward – find your point of unmoving focus. Or try to look down slightly at a point ahead of you if that feels more comfortable.
- Jaw: Keep the jaw soft and lips slightly apart. Remember that gripping the jaw could also lead to gripping of the shoulders, abs, and pelvic floor!
- Arms: Are your shoulders up to your ears?? Relax the neck and shoulders! Also, the elbows should not be bent here. Hands can be held slightly in front of your hips. Be mindful of your grip here – try not to “white knuckle” grip the handles.
- “Stack” the ribs and shoulders over the hips and knees. Because you are working on your tiptoes, genty allow the body to lean forward without breaking the stack. It’s subtle!
- Breathing: Keep your stomach muscles relaxed and your breathing even. Remember to practice your diaphragmatic breathing first! INHALE = your lungs are expanding and filling with air and your core is lengthening, including your pelvic floor. EXHALE = your lungs are emptying and your core is returning to baseline, your pelvic floor is also lifting here.
- Land softly! Is this difficult? Lets then take a look at your shoes. If you are wearing weightlifting shoes, they might be able to give the system the give it needs.
- Ankles: How is your ankle range of motion? Do you have increased stiffness or swelling from a new (or old!) injury or are you newly postpartum? Your ankles may need some TLC. We can help you with that, too.
- Timing: Slow and smooth is key here. Create an easy rhythm for yourself. Perhaps use a metronome app on your phone to set a slow pace for yourself.
- Calf muscles endurance – fatigue easily? Calves on fire or cramping? First look at your water intake and be sure you aren’t dehydrated – or on the opposite side of the spectrum, if you’re over hydrated, be sure your electrolytes and nutrition is in step. Next, we may need to scale back and work on single leg calf raises to increase their strength and endurance.
- Switch up your stance: Practice the Penguin Jump (SLIDE3 in our Instagram post here) without the rope or practice the hops with a staggered stance (one foot slightly ahead of the other). Play around with this as one side may feel more comfortable than the other.
- Consider your symptomatic threshold: How many DUs can you perform before you start to leak? Do one or multiple points listed above resonate? If so, let’s talk about scaling back the DUs slightly and working just under your symptomatic threshold range and then slowly progressing from there.
You can also try the above tweaks with single unders first to gain some strength and confidence.
- Next, progress to high and slow DUs before adding back in the fast wrist motion for a true DU.
- Then, perform one minute of singles followed by 1 DU. Repeat. How many can you perform before you leak? SLOWLY progress and increase your DUs as the overall pressure and load management system improves.
One of the CrossFit members I spoke with that weekend said that for them, their body is most relaxed when doing double-unders. I loved that statement! I hope that DUs can be relaxing for your bodies too!
No advice is ever “one size fits all”. Find what works for you and take that along for the ride – leave behind what doesn’t. If your body needs more individualized advice, we at Hudson Valley PT are here for you! Contact us via the link HERE. We offer complimentary 15 min phone consults as well. We look forward to speaking with you!