Pelvic floor is a system of muscles, ligaments, tissues, and nerves arranged at the pelvis that support the bladder, bowel, and uterus. After childbirth or when one gets older, these muscles become weak. Upon their contraction, the organs are lifted and the openings to the vagina, anus, and urethra are tightened. Pelvic floor exercises are important for strengthening the muscle around the bladder, vagina or penis. By strengthening these muscles, it helps stop incontinence, treat prolapse and improve sex. Trying the exercises below can help you strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and avoid the mentioned side effects.
Kegel exercises aim at tightening and holding the muscles that control urine flow. You can benefit from this routine if you experience urine leakage from sneezing, laughing, jumping or coughing. The exercise consists of the following steps:
- Sit in a comfortable position, then identify the right muscle that can stop urine flow.
- To perform Kegels, you should tighten the identified muscles as much as possible and hold this position for three to five seconds.
- Release the muscles and repeat the procedure ten times, three times a day.
- Note that, you can carry out the exercise while sitting, standing, lying down or crouching on all fours
While bridges are meant to exercise the glutes, they also work the pelvic floor. The exercise doesn’t necessarily require weights. Below are the steps when doing bridges:
- Lie down with your back on the floor, bent the knees at a 90-degree angle with feet flat and let the arms fall to the sides.
- Push through your heels, raising the hips off the ground and squeezing the glutes, hamstrings and pelvic floor. Your body, resting on the upper back and shoulders, should form a straight line down from the knees.
- Hold this position for three seconds then return to the starting position.
- Complete a set of 10 reps resting 30 seconds in between. This exercise will be able to restore the strength of the pelvic floor and as you progress, you will be able to do more repetitions.
Squats engage the largest muscles in the body and promote stronger pelvic and buttocks. In fact, squats have one of the largest payoffs in terms of strength improvement. To perform squats, you should:
- Stand upright with the feet slightly wide open and toes pointed out.
- Bend at the knees and push your hips and butt back as if you’re going to sit on a chair. Keep the back straight and slightly leaned forward.
- Drop down to a comfortable position and the thighs should be parallel to the ground, keeping the weight in your heels.
- Squeeze your butt and pelvic floor as you move up to the standing position.
- Complete 15 reps and rest before any additional sets.
There are several ways to carry out squats some of which don’t target pelvic floor contraction. For example, wide-legged or deep squats may not help retain pelvic floor contraction. To strength pelvic floor, narrow and shallow squats are recommended.
Bird dog exercise is a form of routine that focuses on balance and stability. It’s a kind of full-body move that engages many muscles at once including the pelvic floor. When performing a bird dog, you should:
- Go on all fours with wrists under shoulder and knees under hips. Put your neck at a neutral point and the back straight.
- Raise your left leg and right arm simultaneously while keeping your pelvis and shoulder neutral. Avoid raising or lowering your head. Hold that position for two seconds.
- Then lower the arm and leg back to the starting point and switch sides.
- Do ten reps and three sets on each side.
Tabletop is a leg move and the foundation of many Pilates workouts. This exercise involves the hips and pelvic floor muscles. To carry out the routine:
- Lie with your back and knees bent so that your thighs are perpendicular to the floor and shin parallel to the floor.
- Brace your abs and activate inner thighs.
- Then split your legs slowly so each knee falls outward reaching a comfortable position.
- Bring the legs back to the initial position.
- Complete 15 reps.
To properly strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, you should consciously engage all the muscles when doing each of the above exercises. Also, things like walking, standing up straight and sitting properly can strengthen your pelvic floor too. Plus, these are everyday activities that don’t require much effort. Additionally, there are some exercises which happen to be difficult for someone with a very weak pelvic floor and should be avoided completely. They include:
- Sit-ups with straight legs in the air.
- Lifting heavyweight.
- Double leg lifts There are plenty of benefits you can obtain by practicing pelvic floor exercises including avoiding certain conditions.
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