Most of us understand the importance or benefits of training for exercise, especially specific practices such as Pilates, Yoga, running, jumping or lifting. We see the direct correlation between good or ideal form and alignment with athletic abilities as well as injury prevention.
We work our full body movements (squats) as well as isolated areas. (biceps, quads, abs etc.)
What about the pelvic floor?
How do you feel when you laugh, cough, or sneeze? Is anything else happening?
Where or what is my pelvic floor?
Imagine the area between your pubic bone and tailbone, then your two sitbones. Then, visualize those 4 points coming in towards center and up towards the sky. That area is your pelvic floor or diaphragm. Want more detail? Watch this you tube video, it is an anatomically correct 3D tutorial.
Why is it important?
This area is responsible for bladder control. bowel control, sexual function, support of the reproductive organs, and is often seen as the foundation or deepest layer of our core.
Some pelvic floor disorders are overactive bladder (OAB) or urinary urgency, stress urinary incontinence (leaking), pelvic organ prolapse (POP), and chronic pelvic pain.
Are there other parts of our body or activities we could improve by training this area? Yes! Posture, SI dysfunction, chronic lower back pain, gait, and more.
Do I have to isolate it in order to work or strengthen it? No! In fact when we use facilitated muscular contraction by recruiting other areas such as the glutes, transverses abdominus, or hip muscles we get a much stronger connection.
Why do we need to add different forms of training?
The pelvic floor muscles are composed of both fast twitch (fast contraction time, fast fatigue) and slow twitch (endurance) fibers. They require different types of challenges to improve fitness, and we ideally want balance in the ability of these fibers. Traditional plyometric training can hypertrophy or enlarge the fast twitch fibers. Too much bracing or static training isn’t ideal either. We want a dynamic, strong, and adaptable pelvic floor so we train for endurance, coordination, and strength.
How can I tell if I’m doing it correctly?
There are specific ways to measure contraction or activation of this area, but they aren’t always necessary. When we try different exercises (in different relationships to gravity) and work that idea of facilitated muscular contraction (getting other areas involved to feel more of an action) you can usually start to develop a more fine tuned awareness.
Once you find your most successful exercises to practice, consistency is key.
Just a few minutes every or most days will have a huge impact!
Want to learn more?
Register for my pelvic floor training workshop. (click here)
Read my blog post on my Pfilates training. (click here)
Contact me to set up a one on one Pilates session. (click here)