Pelvic Health (or Pelvic Floor) Home Exercise Program
Pelvic health home exercise programs involve a combination of muscles around the pelvis, in addition to the pelvic floor itself, and are customized to you by your physical therapist.
However, the exercise most people know for pelvic health is a ‘Kegel’, which is also called a pelvic floor muscle (PFM) activation. Pelvic floor muscle activation can be done voluntarily and involuntarily by both men and women. This is when the muscles between the bones you are sitting on (your Sitz bones or ischial tuberosities) and tailbone (coccyx) activate, tightening pelvic floor openings and lifting upwards towards your abdomen.
If you’re doing a PFM activation right now, as you read, try these cues or watch this:
Sitz bones coming together
Tailbone towards pubic bone
Closing pelvic floor openings, lifting up towards belly button
Sensation of PFM avoiding touching cold water, but slow and controlled
If you’re doing a PFM relaxation right now, as you read, try these cues or watch this:
Sitz bones spreading apart
Tailbone away from pubic bone
Flower blooming (towards your fee
Breath through to your Sitz bones with an inhale
The timing of breath with a PFM contraction can be useful to retrain your muscle activation patterns and strength. Try inhalation paired with PFM relaxation, and exhalation paired with PFM contraction. When you try your pelvic floor muscle activation or relaxation, does your breath pattern change how strong you feel? Does it change how far you feel that you can relax? Changing your breath pattern in your home exercise program can shift which muscles activate, and may make you aware of other muscles that try to compensate for your pelvic floor.
Combining pelvic floor muscle activation, relaxation and breath to effectively use your pelvic floor muscles is part of how a pelvic health physiotherapist designs a customized home exercise program for you.
Written & filmed by Pelvic Floor & Clinical Pilates Physiotherapist: Sarah Leong