3 Things You Should Know About Training the Pelvic Floor Muscles

pelvisfloorsideSo, when it comes to training the pelvic floor muscles nowadays as Ante/Postnatal Specialists, unless you’ve had your head in the sand, I think you’ve noticed a shift away from Kegel exercises, and more of a directional turn towards incorporating movement into what it is we prescribe.

 

Kegels, those isolated exercises which involve a ‘squeeze and release’ or ‘draw up and hold’ of the pelvic floor muscles may work for some clients.  However, if we can find a more effective way of training the pelvic floor to help more and more pre and postnatal women with pelvic floor dysfunction, it’s kinda like a win-win, isn’t it?

 

So, the main 3 things to be aware of regarding training the pelvic floor muscles are:

  1. The pelvic floor is NOT designed to work in isolation,

 

  1. Doing isolated Kegels to an already tight set of pelvic floor muscles will only make it tighter, weaker and looser, and

 

  1. Doing movement-based pelvic floor exercise is 75% more effective than doing a Kegel alone

 

Interesting stuff, eh?  Did any of that info surprise you?

 

Now, it’s unlikely that clients are doing exercises to their pelvic floor if they have NO dysfunction.  Correct me if I’m wrong there though!  People are of the opinion of: “Why strengthen a muscle if you don’t have any problems with it, eh?”  And, that’s only fair.  We’re guilty of that ourselves, aren’t we?

 

For those clients who DO have problems ‘down below’ though it’s a serious issue, and unless it gets sorted NOW, the problem is there to stay and/or get worse, not better, unfortunately.

 

So….

 

  • First-time new mums who are planning a second or third baby need help NOW.

 

  • Clients spending hundreds of pounds on incontinence products need help NOW.

 

  • Women doing sit ups/advanced Pilates movements with pelvic floor dysfunction need help NOW.

 

  • Anyone you come across who’s had a prolapse, needs help NOW.

 

Being the pelvic floor geek that I am, there are A LOT more factors that I can tell you about exercising these muscles, should you want me to elaborate further, so do get in touch: ‘approachable’ is my middle name, remember!

 

I’ve kept this blog post brief, because I know you’re a busy bee, and I think it’s important you receive this message in client-friendly language, to enable you to pass this information on to your pre/postnatal clients, without confusion.

 

I hope that helps.

 

And of course, if you liked what you read here, post a comment below letting me know how you found this information useful.

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4 Comments:


  • By Jurga Proudlove 08 Apr 2014

    Hi Claire! I’m not quite sure I understand the second point in your post: “Doing isolated Kegels to an already tight set of pelvic floor muscles will only make it tighter, weaker and looser.” If the pelvic floor muscles are tight, surely that’s a good thing, isn’t it?

    • By clairemockridge 08 Apr 2014

      Hi there Jurga! Great question! It’s difficult to understand, isn’t it? Basically, a tight muscle isn’t a functional muscle. Think of the hamstrings or the pectoral muscles – when these are tight, it pulls everything out of alignment, and causes pain elsewhere to help the body compensate. And, a tight muscle doesn’t necessarily equal ‘strong’. Does that make sense? When it comes to the pelvic floor and pregnancy, you want mums-to-be to have a ‘flexible’ pelvic floor, not a ‘tight’ one to enable their body to facilitate childbirth. It’s important that the pelvic floor is able to do everything that’s asked of it, including being able to ‘strong’ and ‘flexible’ to enable it to ‘relax’ to push a baby out. Does that help?

  • By Jurga Proudlove 16 Apr 2014

    Thank you for your reply Claire – it does make sense. I was thinking more of the state of the pelvic floor muscles after the birth/s and hence thought that tight would be great!

    • By clairemockridge 16 Apr 2014

      No problems, Jurga. Glad my explanation was clear for you. Tight doesn’t necessarily mean functional when it comes to muscles, and particularly to the pelvic floor ones.

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