Every muscle in the human body serves a specific purpose. Most women would agree that we tend to focus on training the more ‘visible’ muscles, like the glutes or the triceps. This is because we want to look good and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that! It’s important to remember, however, that all of our muscles work together. Just because we can’t see them, doesn’t mean they’re not important. One of the most commonly overlooked muscle groups in the body is made up of the muscles of the pelvic floor. These muscles are involved in several important bodily functions. We’re going to show you how to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles to improve your quality of life.
Functions of the Pelvic Floor
These muscles are located across the bottom of the pelvis. They are there to support the pelvic organs. In women, these organs consist of the bladder, bowel, and uterus. One of the primary functions of the pelvic floor muscles is maintaining bladder and bowel control. This, obviously, is extremely important. Over time, many women begin to struggle with incontinence. Strengthening the pelvic floor muscles can keep this from happening. Keep in mind that the earlier you focus on strengthening these muscles, the better off you will be. Don’t wait until you begin experiencing problems with incontinence.
The muscles of the pelvic floor are also responsible for sexual function, sensation, and arousal. If these muscles are to become weak, you may begin to suffer from sexual dysfunction. This is an issue that can be completely avoided by performing the exercises below.
Another function of this muscle group is to support pregnancy and aid in the birthing process. Childbirth contributes to weakened pelvic floor muscles because of the pressure that is placed on them during pregnancy. It is critical to work on strengthening these muscles again once your doctor clears you for postpartum exercise.
When you think about core exercises, you probably picture your 6-pack muscles. Many people don’t realize that the pelvic floor muscles are also part of the core. They all work together to support and stabilize the spine.
As you can see, maintaining strong pelvic floor muscles will allow you to live your life to the fullest. They are responsible for multiple, extremely important, bodily functions. Knowing these functions puts the importance of these exercises into perspective. Below you will find our top 6 moves on how to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles.
Moves to Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor
We’ve included instructional videos for each exercise below.
1. Pelvic Tilt
Hold at the top for 10 seconds. Perform 10 repetitions.
2. (Advanced) Pelvic Floor Exercise with Stability Ball
Complete 10 repetitions, slow and controlled.
3. Wall Sit
It’s important to make sure that your core and pelvic floor muscles are engaged while performing this exercise. Lower down into the squat position and hold for 10 seconds. Perform 10 repetitions.
4. Dead-Bug Crunch
Perform 10 repetitions on each side. Remember to move slowly, squeezing your core with each movement.
5. Bird Dog
Perform 10 repetitions on each side.
Pull pelvic floor upwards, hold for 5 seconds and release. Perform 10 repetitions.
(Advanced) Pelvic Floor Exercise with Stability Ball
These exercises are gentle enough that you can perform them multiple times a week. In total they should take up fewer than 10 minutes of your day. We often only think about our “visible” abs, neglecting the deep internal muscles. They are just as, if not more, important. The benefits of these exercises are well worth the effort!
If you’re struggling with any of the issues above, you should consult your doctor. Ask him/her if these exercises are right for you. Let us know what you think about them in the comments below! Also, check out these 5 Ways to Get a Stronger Core.