Having a strong and functional pelvic floor is ideal for lots of reasons.
Because your pelvic floor works in tandem with the deep abdominal muscles, focusing on this coordination and function of all the deep core muscles can help reduce low back pain, stabilize your pelvis, prevent/reduce symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse, fecal incontinence, loss of bladder control and improve sexual function.
When you think of exercises for the pelvic floor your mind likely goes to holding your urge to pee or pass gas (aka a KEGEL).
However the first step to strengthening the pelvic floor is to reduce whatever tension you hold in that area and then connect to the muscles.
When considering the best pelvic floor exercises for you, it’s important to understand what your goals are and what symptoms you hope to address.
For instance, focusing exclusively on strengthening your pelvic floor might not be the best course of action. As with all of your muscle groups, you want to strike a balance between strengthening and lengthening (or stretching) your muscles.
“If your muscles are already tight or overactive, strengthening alone could make any preexisting symptoms worse, such as urinary urgency, bladder pain, or painful sex,”
Pelvic floor exercises help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles through their entire range (this includes lengthening and contracting). They can also help improve conditions like urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse.
Here are some of the primary benefits of performing pelvic floor exercises:
- Increases pleasure and reduces pain during sex
- Makes the child birthing process easier and decreases chances of incontinence after childbirth
- Makes passing urine and feces through the body easier
- Reduces the risk pelvic floor prolapse, and reduces symptoms if you have pelvic floor prolapse
- Help treat urinary incontinence
- Strengthens support for your baby while pregnant
- Enhances postural support
- Increases quality of life
After all, in order to be truly functional, a muscle has to be functional through its entire range of motion. Think of your biceps: If the biceps are contracted all the time, your elbow will be flexed and you can’t use your arm well. Same with the pelvic floor. “
A “kegel” which is often prescribed as the BEST exercise for the pelvic floor is meant to do just that – contract the pelvic floor and then relax and lengthen the pelvic floor HOWEVER most ladies (and men) focus on the contraction only often ending up over tightening their pelvic floor and causing more issues.
The other issue with kegels is they do not train for the tasks in our daily life. They are preformed from a still position, whereas life is dynamic, it includes load, it includes movement in many directions. Our pelvic floor is designed to reflexively support all of that – so we need to train for that.
But here’s the thing: contracting your pelvic floor muscles isn’t always the solution. These muscles need to relax and lengthen to allow urine and poop to come out, and they need to contract and relax for orgasms to happen — so length is just as important as strength.
After all, in order to be truly functional, a muscle has to be functional through its entire range of motion. Think of your biceps: If the biceps are contracted all the time, your elbow will be flexed and you can’t use your arm well. Same with the pelvic floor.”
First we want to get your breathing right so that you can connect with your pelvic floor, I love the 90-90 breathing exercise for that:
Want to try a functional pelvic floor workout? Give this pelvic floor postpartum workout a go.
Find the right online program for you.