Updated: Oct 5, 2020
Regular pilates is one of the most effective ways to strengthen your pelvic floor.
The pelvic floor muscle, something you have probably not given a second thought about until A - you've had a baby or B - you've gotten older, overweight, coughed persistently or things just ain't the way they use to be. If you have a weak pelvic floor, combine the following pelvic floor exercises with regular pilates classes for noticeable improvement within weeks.
Firstly you need to correctly identify where this muscle is and what it does. Look at the diagram below, see that long red chilli looking thing, that's it. It's quite small - it starts at your pubic bone and runs back to your tailbone. The width goes from one sitting bone to the other. Just like a trampoline, this muscle can move up and down. If you're a visual person you may like to cup your hand and place it under your bits so you get more of a feel for it. Now imagine this muscle has 3 holes in it (the urethra, vagina and anus).
Now, what does it do? This muscle supports your internal organs and stops you from going to the toilet when it's not appropriate to.
During pregnancy this muscle provides support for the baby and assists in giving birth. During labour your pelvic floor is stretched to an amazing extend. It's no wonder afterwards if you haven't been strengthening this muscle it will become weak and can cause you grief.
How to activate this muscle
A few ways - it's VERY common for women to NOT know how to activate their pelvic floor. If that's you, don't worry!
Firstly go to the bathroom for a number 1, stop the flow mid way, feel that squeeze - that's your pelvic floor.
Or maybe you're at the dinner table with your in-laws, and you have gas, but you wouldn't pass wind as that is totally unacceptable. So you hold it in - that feeling, is your pelvic floor being activated.
Now lay on your back, knees bent and pretend you are doing one of the things mentioned above, it should be a slight squeeze and feel like you're also drawing up.
Important - keep your abs and buttocks soft and relaxed!! Breath Into your lower belly. It's not a big, dramatic activation, it's a small squeeze. That's where some ladies get mixed up, thinking the abdominals also need to activate and they don't. Practice this activation a few times until you think you've got it.
Now that you have correctly identified your pelvic floor start squeezing and releasing this muscle every day. Your pelvic floor is like any other muscle, it needs to be worked in order to become stronger.
The 3 T's!
It's easy to forget to do these exercises, the 3 T's can help remind you.
Whenever you are:-
1. Having a cup of Tea
2. Talking on the Telephone
3. Waiting at the Traffic lights
Do your exercises! Just 10 squeeze and releases. Holding for longer each time. Combine this with regular pilates classes and your pelvic floor will be back to it's former glory in no time! :)