Pelvic Floor Exercise Mistakes
There are many common mistakes that people make with their pelvic floor which limits their results or can even hinder any progress that has been made. Our goal is to stop you from falling into these traps and therefore get the maximum effort from doing your pelvic floor exercises.
Top tips to avoid straining and or incorrect use of your pelvic floor:
When going to the toilet, you don’t want to push and strain the pelvic muscles.
Instead you want to actively relax the tissue to allow nature to take its course.
It may take you slightly longer to go, but lets face it, but it is worth not causing yourself any damage or aggravation of the tissue.
Most people fall into the trap of bearing down to do a bowel movement, but sometimes people can also be pushing on urination.
Avoiding constipation is a simple way to stop falling into the trap of straining.
2: Squeezing the Wrong Muscles
Lots of people we see think they are contracting and activating the pelvic floor muscles when in fact they are squeezing everything else.
Sometimes you may be activating the pelvic floor and the surrounding gluteal (buttocks), adductors (inner thigh muscles) or abdominals together.
Alternatively, you may not be initiating the pelvic floor at all.
Your pelvic floor muscles are at the base of your pelvis running in a transverse direction between your pubic bone at the front, the sit bones (the bony bits at the sides in the fleshy part of your bottom) and your tailbone.
You should have enough control to choose to only activate the pelvic floor muscles in isolation or in conjunction with the other muscles as required.
3: Incomplete muscle activation
The pelvic floor is made up of a group of muscles, rather than just one all by itself. It is possible to only activate part and not the whole thing, which can lead to some parts being stronger and other parts weaker.
Not only will it not work properly, this may be predisposing you to issues such as prolapse.
4. Lack of Muscle Relaxation
Your pelvic floor muscles were not designed to be switched on all the time.
They also need to rest.
If you are constantly tightening the tissue (even when you think it is relaxed), then it will not work properly.
It will become fatigued and tired.
This not only is exhausting for the tissues, it can lead you down the path of developing other issues such as incomplete emptying of the bladder.
You may think, what is the big deal with that.
This can predispose you to getting urinary tract infections, urinary reflux and or the development of stones anywhere along the urinary pathway.
Not only is this very inconvenient, it can be very painful and often requires medical care.
It’s Best to Avoid This if You Can
5. Postural Problems
Incorrect slumping forwards can increase the downward pressure on the pelvic floor musculature, and decrease the effectiveness of the exercises you perform.
It may also lead you to activating a portion while part of it remains half asleep, again this is something we want to avoid.
6. Not Integrating Pelvic Floor With Other Body Movement
Pelvic floor exercise training has typically involved activating the muscles entirely on their own.
While this is beneficial in the early stages of strengthening, in the longer term if you want it to work well while you perform every day activities, you have to learn to use it while doing these things.
You should be able to actively choose to switch it on or off at the appropriate times.
7. Lack of Recovery Time
People experiencing issues with pelvic floor function can sometimes fall into the trap of doing too many exercises and not having enough rest.
This leads to inefficient strengthening, inefficient use and often an aggravation of any symptoms that you may be experiencing.
Just like any other muscle building program, the right balance between strength and rest must be achieved.
8. Not Exercising In the Position You Need to Use It
People often train the pelvic muscles on their back, in group exercise classes, in one on one consultations or in other online training programs.
This can be helpful in the short term and get you going with making a start, but the lack of progression or functional use in daily living can mean you don’t achieve the results you are after.
Now you know how to avoid common pelvic floor exercise mistakes. Let us know your thoughts and comment below.