Skip to main content

Table 3 Self-care practices competitive women powerlifters engage in to prevent, reduce or contain leakage of urine

From: Urinary Incontinence in Competitive Women Powerlifters: A Cross-Sectional Survey

Bracing related

Brace against the belt

Bracing abs and pulling up pelvic floor

Bracing my core correctly helps

Change the way I brace with my belt

Correct bracing

Do a Kegel as part of my bracing

Focus on bracing with each heavy rep

Finding the right bracing in my lifts

Focus on bracing properly

I'm just starting Kegels and trying to brace better

Practicing bracing and breathing in a way so I don’t feel as much pressure on my pelvic floor

Proper bracing and core control

Re check belt position, ensure proper bracing technique

Tighten pelvic floor before bracing for lifts

Try to work on bracing and holding the tightness through the lift

Be aware of bracing technique

Working on bracing through entire stomach

I ensure that after a preparation and testing phase that I have a period of time training volume without a belt and with higher reps without breath holding and bracing

Kegel before lift. I have been experimenting with bracing, not taking in a full belly of air as is recommended. That second technique might be helping a little, though I worry I am not as effective at bracing as other women

Preparation/setup related

Blow before you go, use of my exhale

I learnt how to let out a bit of air (very slight) from my abdominal area during bracing, before I begin the descent of my squat, and that seems to help with the leakage

Pelvic floor lift prior to the lift and not trying to hold it too much

A dynamic warmup and a post workout stretching routine

Pelvic floor related

Active pelvic floor engagement before lift

Before a lift I try to "lift" my pelvic floor with the same movement you do when you close the zipper on a pair of tight jeans

I try not to do too intense of a PF contraction

Bracing pelvic floor

Control pelvic floor

Engage my pelvic floor as much as possible

Focus on tensing pelvic floor during the lift

I do pelvic floor, and brace correctly

I will concentrate on lifting pelvic floor, exhaling on effort and have a break from barbell work if needed to train and strengthen pelvic floor

I squeeze my pelvic floor muscles as hard as I can and I wear sanitary pads

Try to focus on pulling pelvic floor up instead of bearing down during lifts

Maintain focus on pelvic region during high volume sets

Being more conscious of engaging pelvic floor before anything else when I brace

Pelvic floor exercises

My coach has programmed daily core and pelvic floor engagement and strengthening movements

Including a proper pelvic floor warmup before training has vastly improved my bladder control

Engaging my core and pelvic floor before lifting

Pelvic floor holds

Technique/form/breathing related

Spreading the load when performing heavy lift

Breathing out on lifts

Breathing techniques

Exhale during concentric part of lift

Focus on technique, sometimes helps because I feel like I can control it on single lifts

I have several physio cues around ribcage positioning, bracing, and different vaginal muscle cues

Improving form on my lifts and bracing correctly is reducing the incidences of leakage

I'll concentrate on good form, breathing and bracing

Mindful lifting

Thinking about pulling my bellybutton in when lifting heavy

Other training related

Not wearing a belt

Train beltless if I'm feeling particularly leaky

Avoid wearing my belt until I have to

Going to the bathroom quite often/between sets during training

Drink less water on heavy days or during competitions

Train dehydrated on lower leg days

My trainer suggested kettle bell swings

Take spare underwear to gym and competitions


Always wear a pad

Wear incontinence underwear

Wearing a super tampon

Diva cup (pressure on bladder wall to support muscles)

Use a moon cup

See a women’s health physio

Deep/superficial core exercises

I try to observe good bowel emptying practices like not straining to poo

Reducing caffeine

I currently am using Birthfit training to work on my pelvic floor and stop to pee all the time

I try to not hold my pee in for long periods

I try not to not force myself to empty my bladder whenever convenient in anticipation of busy hours

Being well rested


Use tens

Stretching and massage

Researching what other women do


Not laughing

Avoiding sit ups/jumping

Learning how to relax pelvic floor muscles

Dead bug exercise

Using a pelvic weight

Menopause has helped