Pelvic Floor Muscles

Pelvic Floor, use it or lose it.

This week in my classes, the pelvic floor has come up a few times. Now as a dietitian I end up talking about bowels a lot and as a Pilates instructor I now get to talk about pelvic floors – you can see how glam I am 😉 , I thought I’d add a quick blog post on it to help you out.

In Pilates we use the “CORE” muscles these include the “transversus abdominis”  (TA) muscle, which is similar to a corset, wrapping round the  body, I describe it as being below the belly button, and the pelvic floor.

The muscles of the pelvic floor can be thought of as being like a hammock going from your front to your back passage, holding everything in! When these muscles are weak most people know it can result in stress incontinence, but did you also know the pelvic floor muscles aid the emptying of your bowel and bladder, and they can make sex more enjoyable!

Pelvic Floor Muscles
Pelvic Floor Muscles

So how do you find these muscles? It sounds crude but I’d suggest when you go for a wee try stopping the slow of urine part way through and this will show you were there muscles are. Or think about going on a long car journey and being desperate for a wee but having a husband (like mine) who refuses to pull into the services 😉 It’s those muscles you have to use to hold it in!

Your pelvic floor is pretty much like the foundation of  a house, if that is strong you’ll function better. After a while in Pilates you learn to get both your TA and pelvic floor muscles firing when you are doing exercises, but in the early stages you may need to remember to engage both of these seperately. What will end up happening is when you contract one the other will co-contract.

So I’d encourage you to start training your pelvic floor and keep using my reminders in class to check you’ve got your CORE engaged. Use it or Lose it 😉

In fitness, one size does not fit all.

Skimming through a fitness magazine this morning whilst feeding the baby and this phrase leapt out at me.

“In fitness, one size does not fit all”


To me that is completely how I like to teach. I always have a rough lesson plan but am ready to adapt the session dependant on who attends, how the class are feeling, how I am feeling and how many are there. I also adapt each exercise to a certain level dependant on the class and may have different people doing the same exercise at different levels. That way everyone gets the workout they want. Individuality is the key in my mind. We all have different bodies and different personalities so surely we all need different ways of exercising too. With Pilates you get that. Everyone works at their own level, some may add in an extra lever (arm/leg), some may have their head, neck and shoulders raised off the mat, some may use a ball as an aid. Others may take a break and have a snooze (its allowed, the break that is, maybe not the snooze!). In the case of post natal Pilates we also work at the need and request of the babies!! Mums dip in and out to feed or cuddle babes as needed. In my case yesterday with Little Miss Grump I had to feed and cuddle whilst teaching the class. Thank goodness I’m a woman so can multi-task 🙂

So however you feel today and whatever type of body shape, size and personality you are, get active in some way. Dance around the kitchen, go for a walk, go kite surfing, do some gardening…..or come to Pilates 😉