How can Pilates help strengthen your pelvic floor?
Having an efficient Pelvic Floor for both women and men is important. It can help stop incontinence and treat a prolapse. Often a way of helping people understand their pelvic floor muscles is asking them to imagine stopping the flow of urine (although it is recommended you don’t actually do this as it can lead to bladder problems!).
Pelvic floor muscles are very deep and other than maybe the concentration on your face we shouldn’t visibly be able to see you working them. If we can this is often due to over recruitment of other global muscles. The sensation you are aiming for is a drawing in and UP. Don’t hold your breath, tighten your tummy or bottom or even your thigh muscles, it’s deeper than that.
The function of pelvic floor muscles are to support your internal organs in your tummy and to contract to stop incontinence, they also need to be able to relax so that you can go to the toilet. So your pelvic floor muscles need to be able to contract and relax. You can do specific exercises just to train your pelvic floor if required.
Did you know…? That Joseph Pilates never used the word ‘Core’ to the knowledge of Lolita San Miguel (Pilates Elder and former student of Joe) for him its alignment and centring. During Pilates, you also use your pelvic floor muscles but not at 100%. It needs to be responsive to the load through the body and works in conjunction with your transverse abdominal, diaphragm and multifidus muscles, these are all deep muscles and together these 4 are better known today collectively as your core muscles.
The Pilates Magic Circle is great for aiding strength through the whole body and if used regularly can improve your overall tone too. Pilates is wonderful to help maintain your pelvic floor strength but if you have a particular weakness with your pelvic floor you will need to do isolated movements at least 3 times a day, you can also seek medical advice from your Physio or GP if you are particularly concerned.