Pelvic Floor Exercises

Simple Pelvic Floor Exercises to help spontaneous activation of the pelvic floor muscles.

Proper use of Pilates Principles and breathing can help you learn to spontaneously activate the pelvic floor muscles without a whole lot of effort.   The more you can do this with ease and subconscious effort, the better!

When learning to activate the pelvic floor muscles think...Innie, Outie, Uppie.

The hips narrow inward, while the fascia across the lower abdomen stretches outward, while the sitz bones and pelvic floor muscles moves upward.

Inhale to begin your breath filling up into the posterior and lateral ribcage, then exhale as you begin the innie, outie, and uppie activation.

Pelvic Floor Exercises for Optimal Activation

1.  Leg Slide and with Arms:

Position:  Lying on your back with knees bent arms long at your side.

Exercise 1:   Inhale as you slide your right heel from your sitting bone until the leg is fully extended and reaching long along the floor.   Exhale as you drag or pull the heel back towards your bottom.  As you exhale imagine narrowing your hip bones and drawing the sitting bones and pelvic floor muscles up and towards your heart.   Repeat on both sides 4-8 times.

Exercise 2:   Inhale as you slide your right heel away from sitting bone on that side and simultaneously reach your left arm over head.  Exhale as you bring the arm and leg back to start.   Repeat on both sides 4- 8 times. 

Exercise 3:  Add the leg slide with both arms reaching over head and one or both legs to challenge you even more.

Pelvic floor exerciseLeg Slide for Pelvic floor exercises
leg slide with arm overleg slide with arm stretch
leg slide with both armsLeg slide with both arm stretch

2.  Squat or Sit to Stand:

This particular exercise requires breathing at the correct time to effectively activate the pelvic floor and to avoid an accidental leaking if you happen to be incontinent.

Position:   Sitting on the front edge of a chair with your feet/ heels under your knees and hip width apart.

Exercise:    Inhale to prepare and exhale as you push thru your feet to stand straight up.  Exhale again as you sit into your heels to control you descent to sitting again.

Repeat for 8-10 repetitions at a time.   Move slowly and focus on drawing the pelvic floor muscles up and in as you exhale and push away from your feet to stand.

Squat for pelvic floor activation

3.  Side Lying Pelvic Floor Exercises:

Position:   Lying on your side with hips and shoulders stacked over each other and waist long.

Exercise 1:  Inhale as you reach your top leg to a 45 degree angle, then exhale as you reach the heel away and squeeze it slowly back down.  Imagine squeezing a big beach ball between your thighs.  Repeat on both sides for 8-10 repetitions.

Exercise 2:  Clam shell, Fold your legs up to 90 degrees and keep heels together as you inhale open the top thigh away from the bottom one keeping the hips stacked well.   Exhale as you squeeze the thighs back together imagine squeezing a ball between them.  Repeat for 8-10 repetitions on each side.

Side Kick for pelvis
Side clam exercise for pelvic floor

4.  Kneeling Bird Dog

Position:   On hands and knees, hands under shoulders and knees under hips.

Exercise:  Inhale as you extend your right leg back just parallel to the floor away from your body, (extend the left arm if you feel stable).   Exhale as you pull the arm and leg back to the starting position.   Repeat on each side for 4-8 repetitions.

Really lengthen your butt and chest away from each other as you extend the arm and leg reaching to opposite ends of the room.

Bird dog Kneeling

Pelvic Floor Exercises to Avoid: Specifically if you have a prolapse or dysfunction

  • Sit Ups -  traditional sit ups put undue pressure on your pelvic floor
  • Lifting your legs in Table top - this can cause the stomach to pooch out if you have not developed proper core strength to support it causing intra-abdominal pressure.
  • Lifting your head and shoulders
  • Strong plank holds
  • Jogging and jumping cause intra-abdominal pressure

Leave Pelvic Floor Exercises and find more helpful hip and pelvis exercises by going here.

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