Gender medicine: less lower back pain when jogging thanks to the pelvic floor

Petra Wagner 26. May 2020

Many women suffer from back pain – and incontinence – when jogging. Learn more about the correlations and what women can do about it.

This article is brought to you by Medical Running

For 12 years, the scientific community has known something that has not yet been fully recognised in running and mass sports: there is a clear connection between lower back pain and incontinence! The study published in 2008 [Kerstin Eliasson et al; Karolinska Institut Stockholm] spells it out clearly: out of 200 patients suffering from back pain, 78 percent suffered low back pain and urinary incontinence at the same time. A strong correlation, with the pelvic floor as the common denominator. If the pelvic floor increasingly loses its basic activity, responsiveness, and strength, this will have negative effects on continence and the small of the back. Both problems are probably due to bad posture and incorrect loading when standing, walking and running. 

Timing tops strength  

When the pelvic floor can no longer remain tight when laughing, sneezing, running, and jumping, this is referred to as «stress incontinence». It is usually not a strength problem, but a lack of speed control if it happens when running! The pelvic floor must respond in just 150 milliseconds from ground contact to full load. This is ultrashort! If the contraction impulse in the pelvic floor is too slow, it is already too late. In order for the pelvic floor to reflexively develop its impulse force, coordination and timing are required.

To run or not to run?

As to whether running benefits or harms the pelvic floor, my answer is: «there are different ways to run» - the «how» is important. With the right know-how, you can gradually activate your pelvic floor and thus lay the foundations for continence and vitality. 

Jumping rope helps you to discover and integrate the impulse of the pelvic floor into your everyday life:

Pelvic stability when bouncing, jumping, landing

    Benefits: more stability in the pelvis and small of the back when jumping and running. The interaction of pelvic floor and foot creates a greater impulse force when pushing off and more suppleness when landing.

    Action: bouncing on both legs

    1. The heels are lifted up, the balls of the big and little toe are evenly loaded
    2. The pelvis is upright. The pelvic floor is alert. The lower abdomen is actively supportive. 
    3. The sit bones remain close together like two magnets. 
    4. On your marks – get set – bounce!

    Dosage: 1 minute, 2-3 sets with a one-minute break, 3 times a week for 6-8 weeks.

    Take note: do not hollow your back! Avoid sinking or pushing the pelvis sideways!


    1. Change the amplitude and speed 
    2. «Jump rope» alternating between both legs and one leg
    • Feel how the forefoot activates the pelvic floor when pushing off 
    • Land as smoothly as a cat due to the soft cushioning in the foot