How To Strengthen Pelvic Floor Muscle

You may have heard about pelvic floor muscles in the context of pregnancy so you might assume that they’re only of interest to pregnant individuals. Although pregnant women benefit immensely from pelvic floor strengthening they’re a concern for everyone. Why? Because everyone has pelvic floor muscles!

Pelvic floor muscles are layers of muscles that stretch from your tailbone to your pubic bone. When you lose normal control of these muscles it’s known as pelvic floor dysfunction. This can result in incontinence (lack of urination control) and pelvic pain.

Here are a couple of anatomy diagrams for you visualize these hidden muscles:

    1. Female Pelvic Floor Muscles
    2. Male Pelvic Floor Muscles

You may be wondering what the big deal is. These are not like your triceps muscles that you can flash and impress others with… no. They’re more functional than that. The reason you want to get into the habit of strengthening these mystery muscles is because as you age the likelihood that you experience incontinence whether it be from a coughing or exercising increases.

For pregnant women in particular, the risk of getting pelvic pain, which is common during pregnancy, decreases when strengthening your pelvic floor muscles regularly.  It also helps support your body with the increasing weight of the baby.

So how do you work them out? Well we’ve got 2 exercises for you that vary from normal to advanced.

Important note: do NOT hold your breath during these exercises. Breathe nice and slowly.

KEGEL (normal):

  1. Tighten the muscles you’d use to stop urinating midstream.
  2. Hold for 5-10 seconds.
  3. Relax the muscles.
  4. Repeat 15 times.

SUPER KEGEL (advanced):

  1. Stretch your spine to the ceiling.
  2. Squeeze the muscles that you’d use to stop a bowel movement.
  3. Inhale and maintain the squeezing of those muscles.
  4. Exhale and maintain the squeezing.
  5. Squeeze the muscles you’d use to stop urinating midstream. Your entire pelvic floor should be contracting now. BREATHE.
  6. Hold for 5-10 seconds.
  7. Relax the muscles.
  8. Repeat 10 times.

It’s recommended that you perform this 2-3 times a day.

What’s really handy about these exercises is that you can perform these exercises anywhere as it’s all happening internally. So next time you’re bored or stuck in traffic, work your pelvic floor muscles and future you will thank you!

 

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