On Wednesday, I discussed pelvic floor health beyond the commonly prescribed Kegel exercise. But if not Kegels, then what exercises can you do to improve the health of the musculature at the base of the pelvis? The best place to start is attending to your pelvis – specifically, the alignment of your pelvis.
Your pelvic floor works best when your pelvis is in neutral. The neutral position refers to both points at the front of the pelvis (ASIS) and the pubic bone being in a vertical plane. Ideally, practice this alignment of your pelvis several times a day and in as many different positions as possible – sitting in the car, squatting in the bathroom, lying on the floor, standing in the grocery checkout line, or walking in the park, to name a few.
The big issue with chronically maintaining your pelvis outside of neutral position (meaning your pelvis habitually tucks under or sways) is that you are not only affecting the skeletal tissues and all muscles that maneuver the pelvis, but any change in position will also affect the pressures placed on your internal organs. As a result, changes in position of organs will influence the pressure within the pelvis, which will completely change the loading on your pelvic floor. Before you know, you start getting those embarrassing leaks!
Besides restoring your pelvis alignment, you want to look out for training muscles at the back of the pelvic floor, namely your glutes. You gluteal muscles, the tissues attaching to the back of the sacrum (which is also the attachment of your pelvic floor muscles), need to be very strong. Unfortunately, due to our over reliance on sitting in chairs and the constant tucking of our pelvises, the sacrum moves closer and closer towards the pubic bone, continuously weakening the posterior muscles of the pelvis. This results in no butt strength and incredibly tight pelvic floors. The moment you begin to get a ‘’little leak’’ while sneezing, you try to naturally protect yourself from embarrassment and start to ‘’tighten’’ and grip your pelvic floor – developing even more tightness!
If you don’t have strong glutes, walk around with tucked pelvis, use chairs all the time, and avoid squatting- you simply cannot have strong and pliable pelvic floor.
The Kegel itself is not bad – my issue with Kegels is that they are not understood correctly and are just a tiny piece of whole-body issue that pelvic floor disorders often stems from. As a quick fix, your Kegel treatment might be a balm – but as a long term solution, you really need to begin to ‘’think all around the pelvis’’ and invite your gluteals to give you a full architectural support for healthy functioning pelvic floor.
Try this super-effective exercise, shown in the video below, to strengthen your glutes while working on neutral pelvis at the same time.