You’re expecting me to say KEGELS!
Let me tell you right now, I’m NOT gonna.
That is NOT the best way to strengthen your pelvic floor for the long haul. Yup, I said it. Kegels alone do not teach your brain how to use your pelvic floor in real life situations. That’s like telling someone to just do a bunch of bicep curls to fix any shoulder injury and then expecting it to figure out how to throw, catch, and lift again. This is basically how women are being treated when they’re told to, “just do Kegels,” for ANY pelvic floor condition. Also, if it was really that simple, why would Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy exist?
To be clear, yes I’m often assessing and educating my clients about how to do a kegel correctly…AND I am also explaining to them that the pelvic floor is only one player inside a larger system. So we must educate the whole system in order for the individual pieces to be successful.
I’m all about function, and how to set the body up to be in a successful position to perform whatever movement someone wants/needs. We are not designed to micromanage our every move, and the same is true for the pelvic floor. It needs to learn how to respond in real time.
?That’s the secret sauce.
That’s also where you’ll find my top two ways to strengthen your pelvic floor:
1. Strengthen 360 degrees around the pelvis
2. Understand your rib cage to pelvis connection
All the muscles that attach to the pelvis influence its position. It’s position affects how loads and impact forces get transferred across the pelvis. This position also impacts how the pelvic floor responds to said loads and impact. So you can be doing allllll the Kegels and have a strong pelvic floor contraction, BUT if your pelvis isn’t strong 360 degrees around it, it won’t matter because your pelvic floor won’t be able to make up the difference. It also won’t be able to maintain an optimal rib cage to pelvis connection either (see pic below for details). This is when pelvic floor conditions like leaking, pelvic pain, prolapse, etc. begin!
So instead of worrying so much about the kegels, start focusing on building 360 degree strength around your pelvis and your rib cage to pelvic connection. Your pelvic floor will thank you! ?