I recently wrote a blog post titled “3 Things You Should Know About Training the Pelvic Floor”
As you’re probably time-poor, I’ll give you a quick synopsis:
1) The pelvic floor is NOT designed to exercise in isolation
2) If a pelvic floor muscle is too tight, kegels will only make it tighter, weaker and looser, and
3) Doing movement-based exercise is up to 75% more effective than doing a Kegel alone.
Hopefully, I still have your attention.
I have 3 more even juicier facts about training the pelvic floor which should help educate you, the Pre/Postnatal Specialist, about this very important set of muscles, to enable you to pass this information on to more of your clients:
1) Sitting for prolonged periods tightens the pelvic floor muscles,
2) Posture plays an enormous role in fixing pelvic floor dysfunction, and
3) The stronger the gluteal muscles, the stronger the pelvic floor.
Interesting stuff, eh?
I’ll now go into more detail about each topic above to aide your understanding, ok?
Point One – We are unfortunately harnessing a generation of people who sit down A LOT. We sit down for work, rest and play, and, when we sit down, we’re often in a poor postural position eg sitting with our tailbone tucked under.
As I’m typing this however, I’m in a standing position with my feet hip-distance apart, my pelvis in neutral, my rib cage down and my laptop at elbow height.
Although parts of my job are very physical eg when I’m teaching classes etc, unfortunately, writing blog posts is pretty darn sedentary, isn’t it? Maybe you’re like me too, where you can’t sit still for long otherwise you get a little bit tetchy!
Try standing at your desk every now and then. All I’ve done to raise my laptop up is sit it on a shoebox. Oh, and by the way, my left leg is now raised up on the desk to do a nice hamstring/inner thigh stretch. See – I told you I couldn’t stay still for long, didn’t I?
Point Two – If you’re NOT addressing your client’s posture from foot to head, doing exercise to the pelvic floor in poor alignment won’t really make much of a difference. Just like any exercise for that matter, really.
Spend time on alignment with your pre and postnatal clients and make sure they understand the connection between poor posture eg sitting or standing with a tucked under tailbone shortens the pelvic floor etc, and pelvic floor dysfunction.
Point Three – The glutes keep the pelvic floor muscles in check. Your butt muscles and your pelvic floor have a good relationship with one another.
I had a postnatal lady come to me a few months ago who’d had 3, yes that’s 3, operations on her pelvic floor for to fix her prolapsing bladder and uterus. She’d pretty much reached crisis point by the time she’d met me, as you can imagine, although she was surprisingly optimistic.
At no point in her assessment or rehabilitation had she been told how to recruit her pelvic floor muscles, by the way. Oh, and because 66% of postnatal women who have abdominal separation also have pelvic floor dysfunction, I took it upon myself to test her for diastasis recti too. No surprise her gap was a good 3 finger widths apart there, and you guessed it, not one professional before me had thought to perhaps do a Rec Check.
Did you just let out a little sigh there too?
I knew this client had had surgery because she told me that beforehand. But, as soon as she walked in, I knew she potentially had pelvic floor dysfunction because she was sporting possibly one of the flattest butts I’ve ever seen. There was just no muscle there to make up her behind at all.
I’m not saying that every person who has flatback posture has pelvic floor problems, but, if they sit down all day; they have a sedentary lifestyle; AND they don’t do any exercise to their gluteals, then they may just be heading in that direction.
I like to use case studies of my own from time-to-time to show you real life scenarios, to help you watch out for the warning signs too.
There might be a good percentage of women for example in your mainstream Pilates classes with not much of a butt. They probably come to your Pilates sessions because they’re low-impact. Maybe they also come along for that one hour a week of escapism from the stresses of modern day living. But (no pun intended), perhaps they also have pelvic floor dysfunction. Have you ever thought about that?
What do you think?
What did you learn most in this blog post?
Do you have any questions about anything covered?