Issue 10
Monday, 03 December 2018
Charles Darwin University
E-news
PhD candidates and Nursing lecturers Donelle Cross (left) and Lolita Wikander supported the research, which was co-led by Dr Daniel Gahreman
PhD candidates and Nursing lecturers Donelle Cross (left) and Lolita Wikander supported the research, which was co-led by Dr Daniel Gahreman

Pelvic floor study puts weight on resistance training

Resistance training improves pelvic floor strength and, contrary to popular belief, may not cause incontinence in women, a ground-breaking study by Charles Darwin University researchers has revealed.

A team of health professionals assessed the pelvic floor strength of 15 women, including 12 participants with varying levels of urinary incontinence, during a 12-week resistance training program supervised by a qualified trainer.

Lead investigators Dr Daniel Gahreman and Professor Marilynne Kirshbaum said the women who suffered incontinence each reported less frequent incidents by the end of the training program, while the other three women reported no adverse change.

“Our findings contradict advice from the Continence Foundation of Australia, which says people with poor pelvic floor strength should avoid resistance-based exercise,” Dr Gahreman said.

“While the severity of the women’s incontinence did not change when they did experience it, the frequency was significantly less by the end of the study; we will need to conduct more research to find out why.”

Dr Gahreman said the study showed that resistance training, including squats, deadlifts, push-ups and bench press, was as effective as isolated pelvic floor exercises when women were coached to engage the correct muscles.