Four Exercises to Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor Muscles
Did you know the human body has around 600 muscles? Me neither! We’re comfortable talking about what exercises we do to get a stronger tummy or toned biceps, but what about your pelvic floor muscles? There are three muscles in your pelvic floor, and they’re responsible for myriad functions.
Just a quick note, these muscles are responsible for the function, or lack thereof, so my descriptions will be accurate. Though they won’t be something you necessarily want to read with food, I’m not going to use euphemism because these muscles are important, and you need to know what they do. Okay. So. Basically all function of your undercarriage is controlled by these pelvic muscles. The best description I’ve seen for how to find your pelvic floor muscles is to stop yourself mid pee. Those. Those are your pelvic floor muscles. Because these muscles support and control your bladder, anus, and uterus, weak muscles can cause you not to be in control of peeing or farting. Weak muscles can also cause sex to be more painful.
People who tend to have weaker pelvic floor muscles are people who just gave birth and people who’re older. Other factors include weight, heavy lifting, and chronic coughing (this one was a surprise to learn, but it does make sense, and good to know during the time of COVID).
Below are some quick exercises you can do during commercial breaks or exercises you can easily incorporate into your gym routine without people going, “hey that lady looks like she’s specifically working out her pelvic floor muscles. How embarrassing!” Mind your own business, Gym Guy! I promise, the exercises still don’t look like that anyway.
- Kegels: I’m fairly certain you’ve heard of Kegels and their benefits before, but just in case you haven’t, Kegels are the tightening, holding, and releasing of pelvic floor muscles. So, tighten, hold for three to five seconds, and release. Repeat for 10-15 reps a few times a day. There’s also a new one I found called “squeeze and release” which besides being a very fun name, is just a Kegel without the pause.
- Squats: plant your feet about shoulder width apart. Bend your knees to parallel and stand up. Make sure your weight is in your heels, and that your knees track over your toes. A tip: think more about putting your butt back, rather than bending your knees. You’ll be leaning slightly forward, and you want to avoid your knees going past your toes.
- Glute bridge: Has anyone ever actually felt cool or not self-conscious doing a glute bridge? My guess is no, even the person who invented probably felt weird doing them in public. Do them anyway! Lying down, bend your knees so that your heels are just slightly out of reach of your arms. Lift your hips by squeezing your butt so that you almost look like an inverted ramp. Hold for two seconds, and go back down. Repeat for 10-15 reps. Don’t worry about getting your hips as high as possible because then you’re just stretching and not working the muscles you need to. I mean, it’s impressive! But that’s a different thing.
- Bird dog: I do not know why it’s called this. You don’t look like any bird or dog I’ve ever seen. Start on your hands and knees in a tabletop position. Lift one arm and the opposite leg, (for instance right arm left leg, so that your weight is on your left arm and right leg). Hold for two seconds and switch arm and leg. Complete 10 reps, rest, and repeat. I can’t lie, this one is hard. I keep tipping over. But you look so cool doing it, and it’s good for you, so keep at it!
If you're going to the gym to do any of these, don't forget to wear a mask! Did you know we sell our own?