We’ve heard of kegel exercises and have maybe even tried a few…but what if there were even more exercises you could do for your lady parts? According to yoga instructor and “pelvic floor guru” Karly Treacy, a strong pelvic floor is essential to bladder support and improved sex life. If you don’t know, now you know!
Karly is sharing her expert tips on how to strengthen your pelvic floor below. But don’t worry — no one has to know exactly what you’re training for. Her exercises are simple, easy to do, and will have you noticing a stronger core, pelvic floor, and even abs in no time!
Why is pelvic strength important?
The pelvic floor is a matrix of muscles and ligaments that act like a hammock to support the organs of the pelvis: the bladder, bowels, urethra, rectum, and uterus. If these muscles are not flexible, strong and well integrated, the results can be back pain, painful intercourse, frequent urination, incontinence (including stress incontinence) and in both men and women it can limit orgasm potential.
How does our pelvic floor become weak?
The pelvic floor gets weakened in a number of ways. In long distance runners it is very common, as it is in men and women who lift heavy weights. Women who have vaginal births and obese men and women are most at risk for developing pelvic floor weakness. The great news is it is a relatively easy fix with a bit of time and attention paid to these muscles!
Do you need equipment to strengthen it? Or can you just do “manual” exercises for it?
You do not need any special tools; a little self-massage, stretching, and simply focusing on the breath will do the trick.
How often should we strength train our pelvic floor?
Practicing this routine daily for three weeks will give you more bladder support (less frequency and no leakage), more pleasurable sex, and stronger orgasms. [It will also] give support to the lower spine minimizing lower back pain and an awesome side effect is a flatter lower belly! Practice on!
Try the below pelvic floor exercises at home!
The most general massage of the pelvic floor muscles can be done without any tools. Simply use your hands to apply gentle pressure to the muscles between the sit bones, pubic bone, and tailbone. When you find a tender spot, hold and delicately massage the area, encouraging the muscles to soften and relax.
It is important to relax the outer hip muscles that support the pelvis and lengthen the inner thighs in order to be able to fully activate the pelvic floor muscles. While stretching you will focus on the breath. Aim to match the lengths of the inhales to the lengths of the exhales. Start with inhaling and exhaling for 3 seconds each and work your way up.
Sukhasana Forward Fold
Sit in a simple cross-legged position with the right leg in front of the left. Sit tall and lengthen the spine. Keep the length in the spine as you hinge at the hips to fold forward. Hold for 8-10 breaths. Then switch the cross of the legs and repeat.
Runner’s Lunge Peeling Foot Up
Step one foot forward, place both hands to the inside of that foot and set the back knee on the ground. Let the hips come forward a bit until you feel a gentle stretch in the front of the back leg thigh. Then, as if the front foot were like a book you were opening, peel the big to side of the foot away from the mat allowing the thigh to open a bit. You will feel a stretch in the inner thigh. Hold for 8-10 breaths. Then switch sides.
Reclined Baddha Konasana + Kegel
Now that the hips and thighs have been opened a bit, you are ready to begin to work on strengthening the pelvic floor. You will come to lying on your back, ideally with the support of a bolster or blanket. Bring the soles of the feet to touch and let the knees open out to the sides. If this feels like a big stretch for the inner thighs, support the legs with blocks or pillows placed under the outer thighs to create a more gentle opening.
Begin to think about the muscles of the pelvis that lie between the sit bones, the pubic bone and the tailbone. Working with the breath, you will inhale deeply, as you exhale, imagine the muscles between the sit bones are like elevator doors closing, you feel them draw together completely.
As you feel a strong connection of these muscles, like the “elevator doors” are closed, you will begin to lift the elevator up. As you inhale fully, release the work. Repeat for 8-10 breaths. Then move on the muscles between the pubic bone and tailbone with the same actions in mind. Inhale fully and as you exhale draw these muscles toward one another. When you feel them well connected begin to lift them up. Repeat for 8-10 breaths. Finally, you will gather all 4 points together. Both sit bones, tailbone and pubic bone. You will imagine all 4 corners meeting in the middle and lifting up. Repeat 8-10 breaths.
xx, The FabFitFun Team