Raise your hand in the air if you’ve ever asked, “Why Do I Feel Like I Have to Pee When I Do Calf Raises?”
Surely, I’m not the only one.
Actually, I know I’m not.
A quick scour of various fitness and exercise forums online proves that this is actually a fairly common phenomenon.
So, no need to feel embarrassed if you suffer the nightmare of needing to pee whenever you do calf raises.
But, why exactly does this happen?
Let’s find out.
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Why Do I Feel Like I Have to Pee When I Do Calf Raises?
There are several reasons why you feel like you need to pee whenever you do calf raises. That being said, these are mainly theories. The most obvious reason would be that you’re raising your intra-abdominal pressure whenever you do calf raises, which can place pressure on the bladder, hence the need to pee. You may also be activating your pelvic floor muscles, especially if you hold calf raises for a count at the top of the movement. Plus, your urge to pee could be caused by weak pelvic floor muscles.
1. You Are Raising Your Intra-Abdominal Pressure
The most common reason that you feel like you need to pee when doing calf raises is intra-abdominal pressure.
Firstly, intra-abdominal pressure is typically viewed extremely seriously in medical terms.
Basically, this is a steady-pressure that is concealed in the abdominal cavity.
And the higher your intra-abdominal pressure the more you are at risk of abdominal compartment syndrome.
This is a severe illness most often associated with critical ill patients.
However, before you rush off to your Doctor in a panic, it’s important to realise that you are increasing your intra-abdominal pressure momentarily.
So, you are NOT especially at risk of contracting abdominal compartment syndrome.
With that being said, due to the fact that you are raising your intra-abdominal pressure this is likely to place pressure on your bladder.
Once again, this isn’t as serious as it sounds when we’re talking about fit and healthy people, especially those who train and work out.
The pressure that is applied to the detrusor muscle (the bladder muscle) can cause an involuntary muscle spasm.
And it is this contraction of the bladder muscle that creates the urge to pee.
So, if anyone ever thinks you’re “weird” for needing to pee whenever you do calf raises, rest-assured that you’re not.
You could be placing slight pressure on the bladder, which of course will cause the urge to urinate.
Should You Be Worried?
I just want to reassure you once more.
I understand that your initial thoughts may be those of worry, but this sounds far more serious than it is.
Yes, obviously an increase in intra-abdominal pressure can be dangerous for individuals who experience this through ill-health.
However, this is because it is a more permanent change to their health.
And if can get worse if left untreated.
With that being said, if you are simply experiencing this during exercise then it’s not really something to overly concern yourself with.
In fact, I’m sure you’ve noticed that once you’ve finished your sets of calf raises the urge to pee goes away.
Then again, if you do need to urinate afterwards, it’s dealt with immediately and this “bladder pressure” isn’t a permanent thing.
2. You’re Activating Your Pelvic Floor Muscles
Something else to consider is that calf raises can actually activate the pelvic floor muscles.
However, in the complete opposite way to when you train them.
So, as an example, kegels are used as an exercise to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.
In effect, you are squeezing and contracting these muscles the same as you would if you were trying to hold in your pee.
With that being said, you are actually doing the opposite when you’re straining to do calf raises.
And this is especially true if you hold for a count at the top of the movement.
So, you are literally applying pressure to the pelvic floor muscles in the same way you would when you pee.
It’s almost as though you’re trying to force yourself to urinate.
Funnily enough, there are various other exercises that seem to have the same effect.
These include seated hamstring curls, jumping jacks, jumping rope, and trampoline.
So, it appears that either being seated while “pushing” the pelvic floor muscles, or jumping can bring on this urgent need to pee.
Obviously, standing calf raises may have the same effect, although most people complain of this “need to pee” with seated calf raises.
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3. You Need to Train Your Pelvic Floor Muscles
I’ve just spoken of the pelvic floor muscles.
This “feeling” of needing to pee during calf raises could simply be a sign that you have weak pelvic floor muscles.
There could be various reasons for this “weakness”, although it is fairly common.
I guess most of us don’t ever specifically train the pelvic floor muscles that regularly.
And yet we use our bladder and bowels on a daily basis.
The pelvic floor muscles also work in conjunction with the abdominal muscles to support the spine.
So, this may provide a clue as to why you have a weakness in this specific area.
There are many of us who typically have weak core muscles, weak lower back muscles, or even both.
I would say that you should regularly train the pelvic floor muscles.
In fact, they should form part of your core workout routine.
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Plus, it doesn’t actually take a great deal of work to tighten and strengthen your pelvic floor muscles once more.
And of course this could well be the solution to the feeling you need to pee during calf raises.
Top 5 Pelvic Floor Exercises
So, I hope you have a better idea of why you feel like you have to pee when you do calf raises.
Firstly, you can rest-assured that this is a fairly common occurrence.
So, for as many people who may find this extremely strange, there are just as many who have experienced the same feeling as you.
I am certainly one of them.
The main reason for this sensation will be that you have raised your intra-abdominal pressure during calf raises.
And this will apply pressure to the bladder muscle, which is why you have the urge to pee.
Additionally, this can be caused by you activating your pelvic floor muscles, especially if you hold your calf raises for a count at the top of the movement.
It’s also a great idea to regularly train your pelvic floor, typically at the same time as your core workout.
Check Out My Review of Brian Klepacki’s Crunchless Core Workout Program – This Fantastic 8-Week Training Program Can Help You to Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor, Your Core, and Your Deep Abdominal Muscles
Hi, I’m Partha, owner and founder of My Bodyweight Exercises. I am a Level 3 Personal Trainer and Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist through the Register of Exercise Professionals, United Kingdom. I have been a regular gym-goer since 2000 and coaching clients since 2012. My aim is to help you achieve your body composition goals.