Anatomical image depicting the female perineum and the attachments of the Pelvic Floor muscles

Pelvic Floor Exercises – Our Osteopaths in Oakleigh can help you!

Beginner Core and Pelvic Floor Exercises

We hope you enjoyed our previous post about the core muscles. Just to recap, our core muscles refer to the deep abdominal muscles- Transverse Abdominus, deep spinal muscles and most importantly our Pelvic Floor muscles. If you want to refresh first have a read of our previous blog https://www.holisticbodyworks.com.au/2018/09/03/core-exercises/

 

In order to properly recruit the core muscles an understanding of the anatomy of the area is important.

The Pelvis

The Pelvis is made up of several bones including the sacrum, coccyx (tail bone) and the left and right hip bones. These form a sturdy bowl that houses and protect the delicate organs in the pelvic cavity as well as forms an attachment point for many muscles- including the core muscle.

The pelvic floor muscles sit at the floor of the pelvic bowl- hence the name!

The deep abdominal and deep spinal muscles attach to the front and back of the pelvic bowl and run upwards to attach onto the rib cage and spine- forming a column from the pelvic bowl to the ribs.

 

Pelvic Floor Exercises

When performing exercises to strengthen or increase the activity of the core muscles it is important to remember to engage and also relax the muscle during the exercise, just as you would when strengthening any other muscle. For example a calf raise where we work our calf muscle- we engage the muscle by lifting the heel off the ground and then we pause when the heel returns to the ground, relaxing the muscle. When performing a core muscle exercise people are often mislead to believe they need to tense or brace the core muscles during the entire work out- this will lead to early fatigue and poor recruitment of the muscle.

 

Here are 3 great beginner core exercises to help wake up and engage your pelvic floor as well as challenge it with some different movement patterns.

 

 

1. Pelvic Tilts with breath

  • Lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat and your neck, shoulders and spine relaxed into the floor
  • Think of your pelvis being a bowl filled with water- your pelvic floor is at the bottom of the bowl and your deep abdominal muscles are at the front of the bowl
  • Draw your belly button in, gently lift up on your pelvic floor and tuck your pelvis under by tipping water out the back of your pelvic bowl. This movement is called posterior pelvic tilt of the pelvis and in this position our core muscles all engage.
  • Hold this posterior tilt for a breath in and out.
  • Roll the pelvis forward and tip water out the front of your pelvic bowl. This movement is called anterior pelvic tilt and in this position our core muscles relax.
  • Repeat this rolling movement 10 times, feeling the engagement of your core muscles as you tip water out the back and the relaxation of the muscles as you tip water out the front.

2. Hip Drops

  • Lying in the same position with one hand on each pelvic bone at the front
  • Draw your belly button in, gently lift up on your pelvic floor and tuck your pelvis under by tipping water out the back of your pelvic bowl.
  • Keep the right leg still as you roll the left knee outwards then back in, gently opening up your left hip.
  • Keep the movement small and localised to the left hip- use your right hand to make sure the right side doesn’t roll with it.
  • Bring the left hip back to the centre and relax the pelvis back to it’s original position.
  • Repeat 10 times on each side

3. Heel Slides

  • This is an extension of the hip drop, this time we are challenging the core muscle more by lengthening the leg.
  • Draw your belly button in, gently lift up on your pelvic floor and tuck your pelvis under by tipping water out the back of your pelvic bowl.
  • Keep the right leg still and bent as you hover the left foot just off the floor and slide the foot away to straighten the leg then draw the knee back to a bent position.
  • Be sure to keep the pelvis tilted under throughout the movement
  • Repeat 10 times on each side

 

If you would like help perfecting these exercises or are wanting more challenging exercises, contact the clinic today to make an Osteopathy or Myotherapy appointment.