7 Exercises That Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor

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Add these strengthening pelvic floor exercises to your workout routine to improve your sex life and reduce your risk of incontinence.

The pelvic floor is often overlooked, but they’re an important set of muscles to exercise! A strong pelvic floor is responsible for control and pleasure during sex, and they also control the bladder and bowel movements.

What is The Pelvic Floor?

So what exactly is the pelvic floor? These supportive muscles, tendons, and ligaments form a hammock at the base of the pelvis, helping the bladder, uterus, vagina, and rectum to function correctly. (1) They are the foundation for the core, providing stability and support to the organs of the lower abdominal cavity.

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Common causes of pelvic floor issues include pregnancy or childbirth, hysterectomy, certain sports, aging, or inactivity of the pelvic floor muscles, just to name a few. Once the pelvic floor has been compromised, problems such as incontinence, diminished sex drive, or even pelvic organ prolapse – when pelvic organs protrude into or outside of the vagina – can arise. The most common sign of a weak pelvic floor – which affects up to 25% of women – is involuntary urine leakage (incontinence). (2)

Luckily, pelvic exercises can help to restore strength and reverse some of these negative effects. (3) These exercises, also known as Kegels, involve squeezing and relaxing muscles in the genital region in order to isometrically train the pelvic floor muscles. (4)

How to Locate Your Pelvic Floor

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Before beginning the following exercises, you must first be able to locate your pelvic floor muscles. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Begin lying down with your knees bent and your feet on the floor.
  2. Squeeze and lift the rectal and vaginal areas as if you were trying to stop yourself from urinating. Hold for 5-10 seconds and then release.
  3. You should feel a closing feeling in your genital area when you squeeze. Imagine yourself drawing energy from the base of the pelvic bowl all the way up your body and through the crown of your head.
  4. Repeat for 5 reps.
  5. Use this Kegel sensation throughout the following 7 exercises.

7 Pelvic Floor Exercises

Bridge | 3 reps

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This pelvic exercise helps to strengthen the pelvic floor, core, and hamstrings.

  1. Start by lying down with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. Place your arms down alongside your body with your palms facing down.
  2. Engage your pelvic floor. Then, inhale to lift your hips up towards the ceiling. Hold for 20 seconds and then exhale to slowly release your hips back down.
  3. Repeat for 3 reps.

Shifting Plank | 15 reps

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This exercise strengthens your pelvic floor and the other surrounding core muscles.

  1. Start lying on the floor on your belly. Prop yourself up onto your forearms, straighten your legs and tuck your toes under, coming into a forearm plank.
  2. Draw your navel up and in and engage your pelvic floor. Your shoulders should be stacked over your elbows and your hips should be in line with your shoulders.
  3. Staying in your plank shape, inhale to shift your shoulders in front of your elbows, coming high onto the balls of your feet.
  4. Exhale to shift your shoulders back over your elbows, pressing your heels back.
  5. Repeat for 15 reps.

Wall Sit | 60 sec

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This exercise helps to strengthen the pelvic floor, core, and legs.

  1. Stand facing away from a wall.
  2. Place your back against the wall and then walk your feet out in front of you so that the wall is supporting you.
  3. Bend your knees until they are at 90-degree angles and engage your pelvic floor. Keep your navel drawing up and in towards your spine so that your lower back is pressing into the wall.
  4. Reach your arms straight out in front of you hold for 60 seconds, then release.

Split Tabletop | 15 reps

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This exercise strengthens the pelvic floor and core muscles.

  1. Start by lying down with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. Place your arms down alongside your body with your palms facing down.
  2. Engage your pelvic floor and lift your feet off the ground. Parallel your shins to the ground so that your knees are at a 90-degree angle.
  3. Keeping your knees at 90-degree angles, inhale to separate your thighs into a straddle.
  4. Exhale to squeeze your thighs back together and contract your pelvic floor.
  5. Repeat for 15 reps.

Tabletop Pelvic Tilts | 15 reps

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These pelvic tilts help you to strengthen the pelvic floor.

  1. Begin on your hands and knees in a tabletop position, with your shoulders stacked over your wrists and your hips over your knees.
  2. Inhale to round your lower back, tilting your tailbone down. Tuck your chin, draw your navel up and in, and contract your pelvic floor muscles.
  3. Exhale to come back to center.
  4. Repeat for 15 reps.

Bird Dog | 12 reps per side

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This exercise strengthens the pelvic floor and the rest of the core muscles, improving balance and coordination.

  1. Start in a tabletop position on your hands and knees. Engage your pelvic floor.
  2. Shift your weight onto your left hand and your right knee. Then, inhale to reach your right arm forward and your left leg back.
  3. Pause for a moment to balance, then exhale to place your right hand and your left knee back down to the starting position.
  4. Shift your weight onto your right hand and your left knee. Then, inhale to reach your left arm forward and your right leg back.
  5. Pause for a moment, then exhale to place your left hand and right knee back down.
  6. Continue alternating for 12 reps.

Dead Bugs Crunch | 15 reps

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This exercise strengthens the pelvic floor and abdominal muscles.

  1. Start by lying down with your knees bent and your heels on the floor. Extend your arms back behind your head and engage your pelvic floor.
  2. On an exhale, draw your knees into your chest and crunch your shoulders up off the ground. Reach towards your toes as you contract your pelvic floor.
  3. Inhale to lower your arms and heels back to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for 15 reps.

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(Your Next Workout: 11 Yoga Poses to Release Tight Hamstrings)

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