What, no kegals to strengthen the pelvic floor? OMG!
OK, the gig is finally up on ONLY performing Kegels to re-activate and re-condition the Pelvic Floor!
Don’t get me wrong, after giving birth when the musculature, nerve and blood supply, fascia and ligaments of the Pelvic Floor and Pelvic Basin have undergone significant trauma or at the very least, have been stretched by carrying the weight of a growing baby, Kegels are a vital tool. In the every early days after vaginal birthing and C-Section, performing Kegels can provide a lifeline to knowing that you are still in one piece! Also, performing Kegels for both the anterior, mid and posterior muscles of the PF assist with healing, bringing nutrient –rich blood and healing agents to wounded tissue. And still after the acute trauma phase has passed these muscle contractions can still help to recondition the PF and restore function.
But there comes a point when Kegels are not really ‘functional’ – ie., preparing the mom for real life, after all…..afterall, who pees themselves when they are stood still? It’s usually during movement and an increase in intra-abdominal pressure that the PF fails and urinary incontinence is experienced. So, introducing MODERN MOVEMENT-BASED PELVIC FLOOR EXERCISE, spearheaded by forward-thinkers such as Eric Franklin and many other specialists in this field across the pond.
Any Pre/Post Health & Fitness Specialist worth his/her salt now knows that the PF muscles respond much more to a host of functional movements such as squatting, lunging, hopping, moving in multiple planes, gravity and vibration. Here are some tested functional movements and the microvolt reading (electrical potential of the PF muscles as contraction occurs) versus Kegels. (These were measured using a vaginal probe). I think you’ll find them pretty impressive! NB these exercises were performed without adding either conscious TVA activation or a Kegel contraction!
Kegel vs Movement – EMG Testing Summary
Exercise Name Maximum uV (Pelvic Floor Activity)
Wide squat 168.1
Transverse step into squat off a low platform 180.2
Low Level Jumping 117.6
Supine bridge with resisted abduction (resistance band around knees) 169.2
Wide stance sumo deadlifts with resistance band 107.5
So, in short, the Pelvic Floor LOVES MOVEMENT! When the time is right and you are out of your acute post natal phase, and been given the go ahead by your HCP to exercise) you need to get squatting, lunging and moving in multiple planes – where appropriate.
You need to work the PF against gravity (start with mini hops on an empty bladder), introduce vibration exercise (Power Plate or Flexi-Bars are both awesome tools for whole body vibration that includes the Pelvic Floor) and do simple adduction, abduction and pelvic tilting exercises that also incorporate correct breathing.
Remember, it’s all about more laughs and less leaks!
Rachel Law is a personal fitness trainer based in New Malden, Surrey. Qualifications: ActivIQ Level 3 Personal Training; Burrell Education Pregnancy Exercise Prescription; Burrell Education Advanced Pregnancy Wellness Practitioner; Burrell Education Advanced Post Natal Exercise Prescription; Burrell Education 3rd Age Women Optimal Health and Nutrition; Burrell Education Peri Natal Athlete; Burrell Education Pelvic Flow and Freedom; Olympic Weight Lifting; Premier Global Kettlebells; FIE Level Assessment and Mentoring