Did you know your pelvic floor is an integral part of your core?
I read a quote recently that made a lot sense;
“pelvic floor health is the missing link in modern women’s health”
I believe this is so true.
Usually when we think about ‘the core” we think about the deep abdominal muscles only...
The core is so much more than the abdominal muscles. It is in fact a cylinder made up of 4 parts that, when functioning optimally, support the spine and pelvis which is the foundation to EVERY movement & EVERY body!
These 4 parts are made up of the:
Transversus Abdominus (deep stomach muscles)
Multifidus (deep back muscles)
This cylinder is designed to work together to support our every move. Here is a simplified diagram of the CORE or cylinder.
When the core is damaged or hindered in some way, it needs to be retrained using restorative exercises that focus on identifying and activating the entire 4 parts of the core.
Today our focus will be on the bottom of the corset the pelvic floor
The hardest thing is not to use other muscles when trying to get a feel of what Pelvic Floor activation is supposed to feel like.
The following deep breathing exercise I sourced from Sydney pelvic floor physiotherapist Gillian Markham, is a way to isolate the pelvic floor muscles.
This was her secret women's tip;
“Imagine you have a straw coming out of your vagina, there is a pea at the end of the straw, as you breathe out visualise the pea is drawn tightly onto the end of the straw then as you are breathing out don't completely let the pea go”
So in other words, it is the drawing up of the pelvic floor as we breathe out that will isolate and activate the pelvic floor when we are trying to focus on isolating and strengthening it.
This is also the best corrective exercise for retraining the pelvic floor if it has been hindered or damaged in any way.
It’s a great exercise if you have pelvic floor weakness after childbirth or even if you wanting to become more aware of your pelvic floor before childbirth or just to improve your overall core strength.
The anatomy & physiology of the pelvic floor
To even better understand how to isolate the pelvic floor, an understanding of the anatomy & physiology is essential. Here is a diagram of the sling like pelvic floor muscles. When isolating the pelvic floor focus more on the vaginal opening V's holding in a wee (bladder opening) or the muscles that stop us from passing wind (anus muscles).
The pelvic floor is a collection of muscles, nerves, tendons, blood vessels, ligaments and connective tissue that are interwoven within the pelvis and together make up the pelvic floor.
The muscles of the pelvic floor connect to the pubic bone in front, to the tailbone (coccyx) in the back. These muscles provide support and stability to our spine and pelvis, help keep the pelvic organs in place, play a key role in sexual health and help us maintain our continence.
They need endurance to work together for long periods of time such as maintaining our continence throughout the day and they need to be able to contract quickly and strongly at various times during that day such as when we laugh, cough, sneeze, pick things up etc.
I hope this article has helped you & leave a comment if it did or if you have any other questions.
Yours in Hormone Health & Fitness,
Sally Gatt (aka Sally Matterson – The Accountability Coach)
Physiocise – Anna Louise Bouvier
Physiotherapist – Jillian Marcham