Hop to it! How Jumping Can Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor

One of the most common symptoms of stress incontinence is leakage. This can happen when laughing, coughing, sneezing, and even jumping. Attempting jumping jacks in a HIIT workout. Jumping on the trampoline with your kids. Jumping for joy when your kid scores the winning goal. It can be hard to do any of these activities without needing a change of clothes. As a result, those (positive, healthy) activities get avoided. Sometimes the embarrassment is too much. Other times, it's just inconvenient.

Let's clear up a common misunderstanding:

High load, pressure, repetitive movements, and poor body mechanics strain the pelvic floor.

But bodyweight or gentle jumping (also called “rebounding exercise) is not an inherently “bad” movement for the pelvic floor.

It can be beneficial...but we'll get to that in a second.

How do you know if jump-training is right for your body?

There are a few factors to consider first:

  1. Your pelvic floor strength and mobility
  2. Pre-existing pelvic floor conditions. Do you have stress, urge, or frequency incontinence, pain, or prolapse? (If so, it’s likely best to hold on any jumping for now until you’ve met with a healthcare provider and addressed the above.)
  3. Childbirth history (meaning number of pregnancies, births, interventions
  4. Bodyweight
  5. Chronic constipation and straining
  6. Chronic cough
  7. Lifestyle factors including heavy lifting
  8. General health status

Has life has dealt your pelvic floor a complicated hand? Then jumping or rebounding is likely NOT the place to start.

It’s always a good idea to have a conversation with a pelvic health physical therapist, primary care physician, and/or OB before embarking on any new exercise program.

That said, there are a few things I like about rebounding, jumping, and hopping:

  1. It can provide positive input to the pudendal nerve. This is the nerve that’s blocked with an epidural. When a nerve is stimulated, it can provide improved signals to the areas it is designed to send input to. This nerve provides sensation to the external genitalia of both sexes. It also sends signals to the skin around the anus, anal canal, and perineum. It also innervates various pelvic floor muscles. 

Hang with me here. There’s more.

This nerve also supplies sensation to the lateral part of the foot. It helps your knees to bend. By providing sensory input to your feet and bending your knees, it’s essentially like adding extra light bulbs to a neon sign. If the neon sign is our pudendal nerve, then doing agility makes the signals it sends out a little brighter. Since it also shines its “light” on the pelvic floor, this only helps it function more optimally. 

Fun fact: For this same reason, it can be helpful for people who have pelvic pain to receive foot rubs. That positive input to the feet, (where the pudendal nerve roots also live), benefits the pelvic aspect of that nerve, too.

  1. It strengthens the extensor muscles of our lower body. When you push-off and up (away from gravity) the muscles in the back of your legs turn on. These are the muscles that usually get inhibited. They're shortened, tightened, and not activated with our culturally sedentary lifestyles. The glute muscle complex turns on with jumping. We need our glutes to be strong to hold our pelvis level.
  2. It helps with your body’s sense of proprioception (where it is in space). Here is one of the main challenges with strengthening the pelvic floor musculature:

Getting our bran to recognize exactly where it is! It's important to help our brains connect with muscles we can't see. There are so many small, deep, less-obvious muscles in our bodies.

  1. It’s inexpensive and accessible. These two things matter a lot to new moms. It’s nice to have a little rebounder/ mini trampoline in the house that you can play on while your kiddos nap. Plus, as they get older, they’ll enjoy it too. 
  2. It gets your heart rate up in a short amount of time. When you are a busy lady, efficiency is important in all areas of your life. Especially workouts! Jumping is a great way to do that. It’s cardio. But it also activates large and small muscle groups. 


If you are currently pregnant, I do not advise much jumping on land or rebounders. Your body is carrying around an extra load. We don’t want your body to work any harder against gravity than it already has to. This article is for women who are thinking about family planning, trying to get pregnant or are at least 4 months postpartum.

Here are some gentle jumping movements to try: 

You can do them either on land or on a trampoline. Make sure the environment is safe before you start any physical activity.

  1. Jumping Jacks. I love these because it gets your limbs moving laterally. This is a nice to counterbalance our typical forward-motion patterns
  2. Toes-out and toes-in. Just jump in place. Every other jump turns your toes “out”/ away from each other. Then “in” (toward each other) to work your hip rotators (which support your pelvic floor)
  3. Double leg jumps
  4. Single leg jumps
  5. High knees (as if you’re running in place)
  6. Squat jumps
  7. Double leg (feet together) mini hops from side to side.

Want to talk through whether you are in a place in your health/fitness journey to incorporate jumping? And if so, how much or how to progress your workouts?

Feel free to reach out and speak with Dr. Monika Patel, DPT and Strength and Conditioning Specialist for a free 15-minute consultation.

Schedule your consult here.


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