After having made an approach to what is the pelvic floor and the importance it has in our daily life and in sport (https://www.centrodeportivosmp.es/el-suelo-pelvico-el-gran-olvidado-en-el-deporte/), in this post we will talk a bit about the training of this musculature, addressing how to work it and proposing simple exercises to do at home or anywhere.
First of all, we will talk about the famous Kegel exercises, which are pelvic floor contractions of different intensity and duration. To perform them, the sensation is to «cut the stream of pee» although it is important to emphasize that this should never be done while urinating. These contractions can be done in different postures, although the easiest to start with would be supine, lateral decubitus or sitting. Even so, you should find the position in which you are most comfortable to perform these exercises.
Now, some aspects to keep in mind:
- In the contractions, you will have to contract hard and relax completely in each repetition. It is important that they are not performed halfway, avoiding leaving the pelvic floor in semi tension.
- It is important not to contract other muscles synergistically, such as the gluteus or adductors. To do this, you can lie down with your feet soles flat on the floor and place your hands on your gluteus. When contracting the pelvic floor, you should feel this area relaxed, without the gluteus coming closer or tightening. The same with your hands resting on your inner thighs for the adductors.
- The contractions should be accompanied by a rhythmic breathing. It is recommended to breathe out during contraction and breathe in during relaxation.
Once these aspects have been addressed, it is time to put them into practice.
To notice improvements with the practice of these exercises, you should do them a minimum of 3 times a week, being able to do them every day. They will not take more than 10 minutes and do not pose any risk to your health. On the contrary, they can improve the tone of your pelvic floor, increase your awareness of it and the ability of voluntary and involuntary contraction to efforts.
You can start in a lying position by performing 4 sets of 10 short contractions of 2-3″ duration, relaxing completely for another 2-3″. Once you identify the contractions well and perform them comfortably, you can include longer repetitions of about 5-8″ while relaxing for the same amount of time. Over the weeks you can increase the number of repetitions, the duration of the them or varying the posture in which you perform them, increasing their difficulty until you can effectively contract the pelvic floor in standing position.
Remember that the pelvic floor musculature, like any other muscle, responds to well-planned training and loses gains if you do not follow through. Therefore, include these exercises as part of your daily routine to take care of your pelvic floor.
If you have any doubts, do not hesitate to consult a qualified professional.
Celia Rodríguez Longobardo
B. Physical Activity and Sport Sciences
Teacher in Gimnasiarca S.L.
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García, E. & López, B. (2019). Tu suelo pélvico en forma. Manual práctico para conocer y ejercitar la musculatura más íntima. Arcopress.
García-Sánchez, E., Ávila-Gandía, V., López-Román, J., Martínez-Rodríguez, A., & Rubio-Arias, J. Á. (2019). What Pelvic Floor Muscle Training Load is Optimal in Minimizing Urine Loss in Women with Stress Urinary Incontinence? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. International journal of environmental research and public health, 16(22), 4358. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16224358