Written By: Dr. Taylor Kobliska, PT, DPT
Strength training is one of the most important parts of managing and preventing numerous pelvic floor, hip, and back dysfunctions.
Here at Reborn Pelvic Health & Wellness we see many patients that have pain largely due to strength deficits and imbalances in their bodies. These strength imbalances cause some compensations that end up hurting us in the long run. Over the years, men have historically been encouraged to lift heavy and get strong.
However, women have not always heard the same message. The script is changing!! Woot! WOOT! Women should absolutely lift weights and strengthen as well, and I’m here to convince you of it! Here are my top three reasons, as an expert pelvic floor physical therapist, why I believe every woman should include resistance training every week.
1. It Strengthens Your Pelvic Floor Muscles
If you’ve followed Reborn for some time, you’ll know that we are not big fans of Kegels. There are much more functional and effective ways to strengthen the pelvic floor! Some of the best exercises for your pelvic floor include exercises you are likely already familiar with. Movements like squats, deadlifts, lunges, planks, and step-ups activate the pelvic floor muscles much better than Kegels.
Not only do these exercises activate the muscles more strongly, but we also get a
triple whammy with these exercises because they force you to train core and glute strength in combination with the pelvic floor. Learning to control, coordinate, and stabilize these three key players (core, glutes, and pelvic floor) is a huge part of treating and preventing dysfunction. The same cannot be said for performing Kegels. Exercises like squats, deadlifts, etc. are more complex and require whole-body control just like picking up kids, pushing a stroller, and living your day-to-day activities for home and work.
2. It Provides a Mood Boost During the Postpartum Period
Resistance training provides a measurable increase in three important neurotransmitters that help regulate mood: dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. These three neurotransmitters play key roles in mental health.
Unfortunately, postpartum depression affects around 1 in 7 women. While strength training is certainly not a cure-all, research published in 2014 found that postpartum women who strength train have less severe depression symptoms as compared to women who performed just flexibility training. The same study also showed that resistance training improves postpartum women’s self-efficacy. A lot of great benefits from strength training in the postpartum period!
3. It May Decrease Your Risk for Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a condition affecting mostly women that causes the loss of bone mineral density. What this means is that your bones are weaker and at a greater risk for fracture even with mild stressors. Around 1 in 3 women will experience an osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetime, so it’s quite a lot of us!
A paper published in 2022 combined and analyzed evidence from 53 different studies and found that physical exercise led to increases in bone density in the legs and lower back. Physical exercise makes your bones stronger and more dense! Specifically, lifting heavy and challenging your abilities with higher weights causes a good kind of stress that aids in new bone formation. Stronger bones mean you are less likely to experience a break.
Strength training has an endless list of benefits that I haven’t yet mentioned and include things like:
● Improved heart health
● Reduced body fat percentage
● Increased self-confidence
● Lowered cholesterol
● Reduced blood pressure
● Reduced resting heart rate
● Better stress management
● SO many others
Resistance training is an incredibly important part of a well-balanced and healthy lifestyle, but should never come with pelvic floor symptoms! Please reach out to us if you are experiencing
any of the following with your strength training: leaking, back pain, pelvic pain, pelvic heaviness, pelvic pressure, or hip pain. These symptoms are not normal and we would love to help you.
Please call and schedule an appointment with us at 801-216-3117. We are here to help you!
1. Hejazi, K., Askari, R. & Hofmeister, M. Effects of physical exercise on bone mineral density in
older postmenopausal women: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled
trials. Arch Osteoporos 17, 102 (2022).
2. LeCheminant, J. D., Hinman, T., Pratt, K. B., Earl, N., Bailey, B. W., Thackeray, R., & Tucker, L.
A. (2014). Effect of resistance training on body composition, self‐efficacy, depression, and
activity in postpartum women. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports,