The Pelvic Floor

The Pelvic Floor

Your pelvic floor is the base of function for your body. Literally, your base! Think about it as a sling of muscles that your torso sits in. Pelvic floor exercises strengthen the muscles around your bladder, vagina or penis, and back passage that are all contained in this “sling”

We all need to keep this muscle strong…. yes contrary to belief men as well as women
Pregnancy and childbirth can cause the pelvic floor muscles to weaken, and so can other factors like age, obesity, heavy lifting, and chronic coughing.

Weak pelvic floor muscles can cause:
•          Incontinence
•          Stress incontinence (passing urine when you cough or sneeze)
•          Uncontrollable passing of wind
•          Low back and hip pain.
•          SI joint pain (joint between the tip of the lower back and the bones of the pelvis)

The Two Biggest Posture Mistakes that Hinder Pelvic Floor Strength
1.  Clenching your butt muscles while standing. A strong Glute Max is important for everything, but in order to be strong it cannot be clenched all day. Clenching the glutes can make them weaker and harder for your pelvic floor to respond when you really need it!
You know when you are in a lift and oh no, you had beans last night for dinner and you squeeze your bottom to stop you passing wind? Oh, so embarrassing! For a short ride holding those glutes clenched is ok but holding them clenched all day creates a real problem, especially for sneeze pee. When you clench, it tucks your butt under. This makes it hard for the front of the pelvic floor to contract and it’s the front of the pelvic floor that we need to stop the leak of urine! Clenching your glutes will often make you clench your pelvic floor as well, which makes it ineffective at dealing with stresses, such as sneezing, it forces the pelvic floor muscles into a shortened, tightened position..Usually, butt clenching is unconscious and you don’t even realize you are doing it.

2. Bubble butts seem to be all the rage right now!! Big, strong glutes are awesome, but sometimes sticking your butt out too much makes you look like you have glutes when you really don’t. Sticking your butt out can decrease abdominal strength and make you look like you have a belly, when you don’t. This is bad because the pelvic floor works in sync with the abdominals to fire correctly.
Both of these mistakes make it difficult for the pelvic floor to work correctly. They also make traditional pelvic floor strengthening exercises less effective.
Perfect Posture is the Best Exercise to Strengthen the Pelvic Floor All Day Long

Find your pelvic floor muscles
Before beginning the following exercises, you must first be able to locate your pelvic floor muscles. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Begin lying down with your knees bent and your feet on the floor.
  2. Squeeze and lift the rectal and vaginal areas as if you were trying to stop yourself from urinating*. Hold for 5-10 seconds and then release.
  3. You should feel a closing feeling in your genital area when you squeeze. Imagine yourself drawing energy from the base of the pelvis all the way up your body and through the crown of your head.

*It’s not recommended that you regularly stop your flow of urine midstream as it can be harmful to the bladder.

When you get used to doing pelvic floor exercises, you can try holding each squeeze for a few seconds longer

Every week, you can add more squeezes, but be careful not to overdo it and always have a rest between sets of squeezes

After a few months, you should start to notice the results. You should carry on doing the exercises, even when you notice them starting to work.

Other exercises to do whilst engaging your pelvic floor
Bridge

  1. Start by lying down with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. Place your arms down alongside your body with your palms facing down.
  2. Engage your pelvic floor. Then, inhale to lift your hips up towards the ceiling. Hold for 20 seconds and then exhale to slowly release your hips back down.
  3. Repeat for 3 reps.

Shifting Plank

  1. Start lying on the floor on your belly. Prop yourself up onto your forearms, straighten your legs and tuck your toes under, coming into a forearm plank.
  2. Draw your navel up and in and engage your pelvic floor. Your shoulders should be stacked over your elbows and your hips should be in line with your shoulders.
  3. Staying in your plank shape, inhale to shift your shoulders in front of your elbows, coming high onto the balls of your feet.
  4. Exhale to shift your shoulders back over your elbows, pressing your heels back.
  5. Repeat for 15 reps.

Wall Sit

  1. Stand facing away from a wall.
  2. Place your back against the wall and then walk your feet out in front of you so that the wall is supporting you.
  3. Bend your knees until they are at 90-degree angles and engage your pelvic floor. Keep your navel drawing up and in towards your spine so that your lower back is pressing into the wall.
  4. Reach your arms straight out in front of you hold for 60 seconds, then release.

Split Tabletop            

  1. Start by lying down with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. Place your arms down alongside your body with your palms facing down.
  2. Engage your pelvic floor and lift your feet off the ground. Parallel your shins to the ground so that your knees are at a 90-degree angle.
  3. Keeping your knees at 90-degree angles, inhale to separate your thighs into a straddle.
  4. Exhale to squeeze your thighs back together and contract your pelvic floor.
  5. Repeat for 15 reps.
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