04 May 2018
How is your pelvic floor? This is an important question to ask if you are beginning training, especially if you have experienced childbirth, menopause, digestive tract pathologies, changes in posture, or trauma to the pelvis and/or lumbar spine areas. The ‘pelvic floor’ is the bottom part of our core if we think of the area between our sternum and tailbone (coccyx) three dimensionally.
Symptoms of a weak pelvic floor can include:
With these symptoms, you may find exercise to be uncomfortable or a fearful experience, which can be a major barrier to achieving your health and fitness goals. Don’t worry though – with these 5 tips, you can strengthen your core and feel more confident in your pelvic floor.
1. Diaphragmatic breathing (belly breathing) – 2 minutes with eyes open.
In through the nose whilst expanding the diaphragm
Out through the mouth whilst compressing the diaphragm
2. Gluteus medius development – repeat 5 times.
Lying on back with feet flat, push knees out into band or partners hands
Squeeze bum tightly, lift hips high to ceiling. Hold for 5-7 seconds, come back to floor and disengage everything
3. Visualisation and action – visualise drawing your muscles and tissues upward between the pubic & coccyx bones. Hold for 5 seconds with regular breathing. Release, and repeat 5 times.
4. Train with just your bodyweight until control of the pelvic floor is gained and can be maintained through movement without incident. Then, build towards adding weight.
5. Plyometric and high impact movements - box jumps and running may aggravate until better control is regained. Look for alternatives or regressions such as lowering the box size and changing from jump to step.
These are only a few suggestions to help you gain confidence and feel comfortable in training. Keep in mind that everyone has a pelvic floor and we can all do something to strengthen it every day.
If you need help to learn more about your pelvic floor, speak to a qualified professional at any YMCA Fitness Centre, who will have the conversation.