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CrossFit gets it wrong – the truth about peeing during workouts

Posted by Melissa Davidson on 26 June 2013 | 8 Comments Tags: , ,

I couple of days ago I came across this appalling video from the CrossFit Games titled ‘Do you Pee During Workouts?’.

A video so full of misinformation and poor advice that I simply had to comment.

According to CrossFit and the gynaecologist interviewed, it’s okay, even normal, to pee during your workouts. The video makes a joke of the situation and almost suggests this is something to be proud of!

What are we actually talking about here? Stress incontinence. A medical condition that is completely treatable and often preventable.

It’s time to set the record straight.

The truth about peeing during workouts

  1. Peeing during workouts is not normal. Yes incontinence is common (affects an estimated 1.1 million NZers) but this doesn’t make it normal. (The definition of normal being ‘the usual, average, or typical state or condition.’)
  2. It is possible to exercise (even at a high intensity) without wetting your pants
  3. There is no need to just put up with urine leakage or accept it as ‘normal’. It is a medical condition that can (and should) be treated.

Let me put it to you this way…

Would you think it’s normal for your knee to collapse while you’re out running or during CrossFit? Would this be a funny video to make - people proudly showing off their knee injuries?

I think not!

We need to be treating incontinence with the seriousness it deserves. Just as we wouldn’t put up with an injured knee, we don’t need to put up with incontinence.

A pelvic floor physio can help you treat and often completely resolve incontinence. In fact studies show physio in the form of pelvic floor muscle training can have up to an 80% cure rate of stress incontinence. (1)

Seek help

If you are worried about urine leakage during workouts then please seek help. Your GP can give you advice on treatment options or you can directly access a pelvic floor physio who can help assess and treat your urinary incontinence. You can find a physio here.

Please don’t put up with leakage or neglect this vital part of yourself. Seek help now!

Related links


1. Physiotherapy for female stress urinary incontinence: a multicentre observational study. 2005, Australia and New Zealand of Obstetrics and Gynecology: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15904449

By Melissa Davidson

Melissa Davidson is Managing Director and Principal Physiotherapist at Remarkable Physios. Her special interests are in manipulation, acupuncture, cosmetic acupuncture, women's and men's health, breathing, work-site assessments, manual handling courses and NLP (neuro-linguistic programming). Melissa is currently working towards her PhD in Bioengineering at the University of Auckland investigating pelvic floor muscle stiffness during pregnancy. In her spare time she enjoys a variety of sports including running her black labrador and mountain biking.

Post your comment


  • Crossfit is a trend that is currently peaking. As with all trends it will drop off and fade away. Just ignore Crossfit and it will go away.

    Well done for speaking out against that misogynistic video. You think they could at least have got a female to do the commentary, not some moron California 'bro'.

    Posted by Ignoring Trends, 06/02/2014 11:35am (4 years ago)

  • I cannot disagree with you more. The video helps take the stigma out of something that is normal. A pelvic floor physio? Is that Kegels? Invented by a male doctor. I have tried them for years and still do but they do not prevent stress incontinence. I think that the situation is a bit more comparable to drooling in your sleep rather than knees collapsing. The point is that even when people try or are in the process of trying it is NORMAL (e.g. over 50% of women have this issue) to have stress incontinence. Your article gives the wrong message. Women should be exercising even with stress incontinence.

    Posted by Ruth Berge, 02/02/2014 9:33pm (4 years ago)

  • Take a deep breath and relax Melissa.

    Posted by Rick Thomas, 28/01/2014 12:09pm (4 years ago)

  • I can't argue with the problem being not normal, but it's a bit of a step to compare leakage to collapsing knees, don't you think?

    And yeah, that is a pretty horrible video, like you said.

    Posted by Crossfit Auckland, 08/11/2013 4:08pm (4 years ago)

  • Thanks for your positive comments fellow bloggers. The good news is that people are talking about this issue more in the open now and not accepting it as "normal" which is great.
    Keep spreading the word.

    Posted by Melissa Davidson, 23/07/2013 12:32pm (5 years ago)

  • I cannot thank you enough for the blog article.Really looking forward to read more. Really Cool.

    Posted by maillot de foot, 01/07/2013 11:27am (5 years ago)

  • Excellent article! Crossfit and other similar exercise fads = amateurs training amateurs. A ticking timebomb of injuries.

    Posted by Greg Bell, 26/06/2013 4:05pm (5 years ago)

  • Awesome information, need more pictorial presentations thanks

    Posted by senthil venugopal, 26/06/2013 1:28pm (5 years ago)

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