Supercharging the Pelvis with Female Weightlifters
On August 9th, I gave my “Supercharge Your Pelvis” talk to the inaugural All Women’s Weightlifting Camp in Las Vegas. I was invited by USA Weightlifting to come and speak about pelvic health and physical therapy targeted towards female weightlifters. This opportunity came about due to my close workings with a female weightlifting patient for the past 3 years who my business sponsored to go to University Nationals in 2017 where she won 6 gold medals. Through her, I met her Mike McKenna, her weightlifting coach based out of York, PA. I began traveling there on weekends to give my pelvic health seminars and do individual assessments. I noticed how much my knowledge could help both men and women, not just with pelvic pain and incontinence, but with low back, hip, groin, knee, and leg pain. We also worked on proper hip and thoracic mobility programs for the weightlifter, nervous system warm-ups, and proper muscle activation during the squat, clean and jerk, and the snatch.
In the weightlifting community I was recognized by Dr. Mark Lavallee, USA Weightlifting’s head MD, as a useful contribution to the Women’s Camp. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to work with high level athletes and give pelvic health the exposure it deserves. My talk was originally scheduled for 1 hour, but quickly doubled as we dove into pelvic anatomy, healthy bowel and bladder habits and how they correlate to their pelvis, proper breathing, bracing, and posture, nervous system warm-ups and cool downs, and my favorite mobility warm-up for the weightlifter. We also went through my favorite tricks and tips for glute activation during squats, two point discrimination with paperclips to improve cortical representation of the lower extremity, and my favorite accessory strengthening exercises.
The athletes were so responsive and surprised by the information, especially because they thought it was only going to be about kegels. The interesting piece I have been finding with weightlifters is that so many have chronic left hip pain and it is stemming from constipation, which none of their sports PTs or health professionals at home ask about. After my talk, I did 2 hours of private assessments with the lifters to talk about their aches and pains, better muscle activation during lifting, measuring their ideal squatting stance, talking about their incontinence, and teaching them the five pillars of bowel health. (Weightlifters generally eat a lot of protein and forget to balance this out with enough fiber, they run around stressed fitting in their lifting schedules with work or school, and they have poor abdominal mobility due to decreased use of diaphragm.)
It was exciting to be part of this event and strengthen a working relationship with USA Weightlifting while promoting pelvic health to a much broader audience.
Link to my Supercharge your Pelvis blog post on USA weightlifting’s website: https://www.teamusa.org/USA-Weightlifting/Features/2018/August/01/Supercharge-Your-Pelvis
Image Caption: Tamra Wroblesky (left) and Ursula Garza-Papandrea (right), the president of USA weightlifting and the first ever female Vice-president of the International Weightlifting Federation.