What is Pelvic Floor?
Pelvic floor muscles are the layer of muscles that support the pelvic organs and span the bottom of the pelvis. The pelvic organs are the bladder and bowel in men, and bladder, bowel and uterus in women. The diagram below shows the pelvic organs and pelvic floor muscles in women and men.
Having strong pelvic floor muscles gives us control over the bladder and bowel. Weakened pelvic floor muscles mean the internal organs are not fully supported and you may have difficulty controlling the release of urine, faeces (poo) or flatus (wind).
Common causes of a weakened pelvic floor include childbirth, obesity and the associated straining of chronic constipation. Pelvic floor exercises are designed to improve muscle tone and prevent the need for corrective surgery.
Pelvic Floor Activation
Activating your pelvic floor muscles can be an effective way of improving the strength
and stability around your lower back and pelvis. Your pelvic floor muscles work
In the same way as your Transversus Abdominus muscle by stabilising the lumbar
spine thereby reducing tension and shearing through the spinal joints, discs, ligaments and fascia. This is the main point why Pilates it is a great exercise for core, because involves TrA (Transversus Abdominis) and Pelvic Floor as the base for all exercises.
It is important that you can visualise your pelvic floor muscles to gain a correct contraction. There are several ways to do this.
- Think of your pelvic floor as a low slung hammock. It is suspended gently below your abdominal contents. To activate you pelvic floor think of drawing this hammock slowly towards your abdomen.
- Imagine the four corners of your pelvis (your two sitting bones, pubic bones at the front and tail bone at the back) are connected by strings. Think of gently drawing these strings together in the middle up to your abdomen.
- Think of your pelvic floor as an elevator. Gently and slowly contract your pelvic floor muscles so you slide the elevator doors shut.