Pelvic floor muscles aren't talked about much in the exercise and fitness world. Maybe it's because they're located "down there" and people are a bit embarrassed to talk about them or possibly it's because, like many other parts of our bodies, we don't give them much thought until they're not working properly. When I trained as a Personal Trainer nearly 20 years ago these muscles weren’t discussed at all. Thankfully we did learn about them when I trained as a Pilates instructor and as a pre & post natal fitness instructor because this group of muscles span the bottom of the pelvis and play a really important role;
The pelvic floor muscles are a very important part of your core. They help to stabilise the pelvis and work with the abdominals, hip and back muscles to control movement. Tightness in the pelvic floor can impact your hips and tightness in your hips can affect your pelvic floor.
Pelvic Organ Support
Your bladder, rectum and uterus all sit inside your pelvic cavity and the pelvic floor muscles act as support to these organs. When working efficiently, the pelvic floor muscles support against gravity and increases in abdominal pressure (when coughing or sneezing for example).
The pelvic floor muscles wrap around and control the three openings (urethra, vagina and rectum). They have to be able to contract to prevent leakage when you sneeze or jump and they also need to be able to relax to allow us to urinate or have a bowel movement.
Sufficient strength of the pelvic floor muscles is necessary for orgasm but excessive tension can contribute to pain during or after intercourse.
If the pelvic floor muscles become dysfunctional you may experience
- A general discomfort in the pelvic region
- Lower back pain
- Urinary issues such as a strong and sudden urge or urinate or urine incontinence
- Pelvic organ prolapse (POP)
- Constipation or fecal incontinence
So it’s really important that we understand how to keep these muscles working efficiently.
Whilst it’s easy to visualise your bicep or hamstring muscles, the pelvic floor muscles are hidden away so I filmed this short video so you know what the pelvic floor muscles look like. Being able to visualise the muscles can really help when you begin to learn how to activate them and incorporate the pelvic floor into your workouts.
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