Pelvic floor strengthening is the one thing that every woman will require at some point in her lifetime. For some it may be soon after child birth, considering how traumatic it can be for some women. Whereas for others it can be as they’re getting older and the pelvic floor muscles aren’t strong enough due to age related changes. I see a lot of women who’ve had cesarean in a hospital but they haven’t been told abut pelvic floor strengthening or given much information about looking after their back. There’s defintiely a lot more information to care for the baby but not enough to care for mums after child birth. No matter the age of the woman, these basic pelvic floor strenghtening exercises are a must do to start with. As your body gets stronger, you will be able to do a lot more challeging movements. So let’s get started!

The most basic pelvic floor strengthening exercise

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This particular pelvic floor strengthening exercise forms the basis of all other exercises that build up on it. It starts off by you lying on your back with your knees bent . Now feel for the front part of your hip bones and place your fingers directly underneath the bones. Next, do a little fake cough for me. Can you feel the msucle bulge? That’s the one that we are trying to train along with your pelvic floor muscles. It’s called TA (tranversus abdominis) and it communiactes with your pelvic floor to protect your back. This time think about drawing your belly button in towards the spine without trying to squeeze your upper tummy in. Remember we are only working on squeezing the lower tummy in gently. It’s only a 20% contraction not a huge sucking in of your tummy. You can also place a small pillow between your knees and squeeze it at the same time so you’ll feel the pelvic floor muscle strengthening at the same time. It’s important to hold the contraction for about 5 seconds and then repeat it 5 times. The muscles are only small so you don’t have to do 20 reps!

2. Pilates leg lifts is a great pelvic floor strengthening exercise

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So this pelvic floor strengthening exercise is a progression to the previous one. We are aiming to challlenge the pelvic floor muscles and TA to contract while doing other movements. The position remains the same i.e you’re on your back with knees bent but this time you are going to keep the belly button squeezed in and try to lift one foot of the bed. You must hold it up in the air for about 5 seconds while maintaining the belly button squeeze and that’s your challenge. Now bring it back down and lift the other foot up this time . Alternate the legs with holds and I can assure that you’ll definitely start to feel the muscles working. Again, you don’t have to do 20 reps, just doing 10 but focusing on the quality of the movement is important here.

3. Alernate leg raise while maintaing the TA contraction

Ok if you’re going well with the previous exercises this will defintiely feel like the next step up. So this time we are not only lifting the foot of the bed but also straightening the knee and holding it for a few seconds before bringing it back to the bent position. This is a great pelvic floor strengthening exercise as it places further challenge on the muscles and gets it activated. Because pilates exercises are slow and controlled, even doing 5 repetitions with a good form will feel like you’ve done enough. Of coruse these are only beginner level, once you’re stronger you can add a lot more variations to these ones.

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4. Table top toe touches

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The position of both feet being up in the air with knees and hips bent to 90 degrees when you’re lying flat on your back is called a table top position. As soon as both legs go up in the air there’s surely lot more pressure on the muscles. This particualr pelvic floor strengthening exercise can be a level up as well. While lying on the your back with knees bent and the belly button squeezed in, we are now going to lift one foot up to a table top position and then bring the other foot up. You now hold that position for a few seconds before you being the feet back down one at a time and repeat the process. You’ll certainly feel your core working with this exercise!

5. Clams is another great pelvic floor strengthenign exercise

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I love this one because this is not only a pelvic floor strengthening exercise but also works your buttock muscles or the “gluts” as we call them. Gluteal muscles also help move the back and can get overused in someone with back pain. This exercise is a great beginner level strengthening exercise. There are different progressions to this one too with a theraband and then extending the knee but for now we will stick to the basic version. So we finally change our position to be on the side. The buttocks , heels and the shoulders should be in one straight line. Now press the heels together and open up the knees and hips without twisting the back. Remember, you should only feel this on the outside of your hip , not in your lower back. Again, we are doing this exercise with the squeeze in the belly button and holding it for 5 seconds. Then, just repeat 10 times and do the other side.