Would you like to improve your bladder and bowel control? Narrow your midsection and belly? Increase sexual sensation and orgasmic pleasure? A whole new world will open up for you when you learn HOW to do proper pelvic floor exercises
By Cheryl Coppa - Core specialist.
The Benefits of Pelvic Floor Exercises Include :
Improved bladder and bowel control
Reduce the risk of prolapse (descent of the pelvic organs into the vagina)
Smoother vaginal delivery if you are in childbearing years
Improved recovery after childbirth for both the core and the pelvic floor
Repair and rebuild of the core and pelvic floor post-menopausal if you did not have this knowledge in prior years
Increase sexual sensation and orgasmic pleasure
No more painful sex
Rid of low back pain
Narrow your midsection and belly
Increase social confidence and quality of life
Wow! What a list of eye-opening benefits from just training the pelvic floor! So you can see why we make such a big deal about it. Especially because this is not the type of information you come across until you start experiencing the negative symptoms of Pelvic Floor dysfunction. Some of these include; painful sex, non-enjoyable sex, low back pain, hip pain, pelvic pain, sciatica flares, leaking of urine, always having the urge to pee, not being able to empty the bladder completely, constipation, prolapse (descent of pelvic organs into the vagina), bulging belly and diastasis recti. A broad umbrella of symptoms yes, but the solution is the same! This makes it so great!
“Let me say right off the bat that proper pelvic floor exercises are not Kegels.” Core Specialist, Cheryl Coppa
Besides addressing and restoring WHY you have these pains, the benefits are just as exciting. It really is a whole new world when you learn HOW to do proper pelvic floor exercises. Let me say right off the bat that proper pelvic floor exercises are not Kegels. The pelvic floor was not designed to work by itself, I will explain that further as we go.
What Is The Pelvic Floor?
Very simply put, it is a bowl of muscles connected to your pelvic bones and holds up your pelvic organs (uterus, bladder, and rectum). The pelvic floor muscles have many functions; help with urination, defecation, sexual function, posture and core strength.
What does a weak pelvic floor feel like? Since we cannot see these muscles, like you can in your arms or legs, you might not understand or be able to discern what the condition of your pelvic floor is. Unless, of course, you start to experience the pains listed above, which are all signs of either a weak pelvic floor or a tight shortened pelvic floor.
“Leaking is not normal, sex is supposed to be enjoyable, and you don't have to settle for the false belief that aging is painful”, Core Specialist, Cheryl Coppa
You most likely have not been consciously working your pelvic floor so it will take some guidance and practice on how to feel these muscles, how to relax them, and how to strengthen them.
There are 2 options;
You can see a pelvic floor physical therapist or do
The Core and Pelvic Floor Restore at-home program with Ola Ka Ola.
Learning how to feel, relax, and contract the pelvic floor is going to be very empowering and really bring you in tune with your body. It really is a whole new world of strength. So many women never experience what it feels like to FEEL GOOD! Pain is not normal, leaking is not normal, sex is supposed to be enjoyable, and you don't have to settle for the false belief that aging is painful because it does not have to be. When you equip yourself with the right knowledge and movements, you can and will feel great!
Why Are Pelvic Floor Exercises So Important?
Because your pelvic floor is always working. And sometimes it is overworking because of your posture is off, the way you are carrying your body, the way you are breathing, the way you are exercising, the way you are sitting, and the way you move throughout your day. So many things you do in your everyday life could be causing and contributing to why you are experiencing pelvic floor dysfunction. It’s very likely that not only is your pelvic floor weak but it is shortened and tight.
An example I like to refer to is imagining you are carrying a bag of groceries for years and years. Your bicep is in this constant flexed position. So eventually it will start to hurt, then the pain will travel up to your shoulder, and then your neck, and then headaches. The chain of pain continues all because of this tight muscle.
So you google 'how to strengthen your bicep' again just compared to if you were having symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction you would google “how to strengthen my pelvic floor.’ Now, google will tell you bicep curls are great for strengthening the biceps and Kegels are great for strengthening the pelvic floor. But what Google doesn't know is if you have had your pelvic floor in a tightened short position (your posture, the way you carry yourself), so adding contractions (Kegels) will only contribute to the pain you are having, and even make it worse.
“If you have had your pelvic floor in a tightened short position (your posture, the way you carry yourself), adding contractions (Kegels) will only contribute to the pain you are having, and even make it worse.”, Coppa
Back to the bicep, before you can strengthen that tight shortened muscle, you are going to have to release and relax it, you have to put down the bag of groceries. Just like any other muscle on your body, you need to be able to lengthen and shorten to create great function and strength in your muscles. Back to the visual of the arm with the bag of groceries, if I want a strong bicep that is not causing pain, I first have to put down the groceries, relax and release tension in the bicep so I can lengthen my arm, then my arm is set to do a bicep curl, which you need your entire arm to do. It's the same with the pelvic floor muscles!
You absolutely need to learn how to do this with the pelvic floor. What many do not realize is the pelvic floor is actually the foundation of your core, so in order to strengthen your core and pelvic floor, they need to work as one unit. Just as the bicep needs the entire arm. It's a guided learning process, and if you practice the techniques even just 5 minutes a day, you will start to notice feeling and control in your pelvic floor and restore muscles that you didn't even know you had. These are the first steps in our Core & Pelvic Floor Restore Program.
“By learning how to engage your pelvic floor and deep core muscles, you will find you have better balance, more control over your body, and be able to lift heavier or easier because you are doing it properly and not straining your back, spine, and knees.”, Coppa
So even before you start doing pelvic floor exercises you can correct your posture and the way you carry your body so you can then effectively and safely train your pelvic floor and core muscles.
What Do Pelvic Floor Exercises Strengthen?
Besides the obvious of strengthening the pelvic floor, the pelvic floor exercises we use in the Core & Pelvic Floor Restore program strengthen your entire core! I'm not just talking about your 6-pack ab muscles, I’m talking about your deep core muscles that stabilize the spine and narrow your waistline. Just another amazing benefit of training the pelvic floor muscles. You will really feel the difference in ALL your movements. By learning how to engage your pelvic floor and deep core muscles, you will find you have better balance, more control over your body, and be able to lift heavier or easier because you are doing it properly and not straining your back, spine, and knees.
What Happens If I Don’t Do Pelvic Floor Exercises?
If you don’t do pelvic floor exercises (and I'm not referring to Kegels to be clear), these muscles will continue to deteriorate. Just like the rest of your muscles, if you don’t use them you lose them. This is why so many women start to experience the pains of pelvic floor dysfunction because the pelvic floor muscles went untrained with no attention probably all her life. By age 40 and beyond we become very aware of muscles disappearing UNLESS you are training them. You do not have to give in to muscle loss, you can start strength training immediately to combat this.
Does Walking Help Strengthen My Pelvic Floor?
Walking is definitely beneficial. Movement is always good to help with blood flow and keep the muscles from getting too tight. Let’s leave you with actual steps right now to help strengthen your pelvic floor. Remember the grocery bag and tight bicep? Let’s get rid of that bag so to speak, by adjusting your posture, and how you carry yourself. This 100% takes the pressure off of your pelvic floor. Let me guide you through how I help ladies find their neutral alignment when I meet with them one on one when they start the Core and Pelvic Floor Restore Program.
Take a look at your ankles and make sure they are hip distance apart. Many times we stand too close together.
Do You Know Where Your Perineum Is?
It is the space between the vagina and the anus. Best way to get it is to just put your fingers there so you can feel where it is. Now maybe you already learned something new here. You want this space (the perineum) to be right above your inner ankle bones rather than over your forefeet. It might feel like you are sticking your booty out, only because all this time you have been tucking it under. This is not a natural position for the pelvis and for whatever reason; childbearing, modern life we end up here, and year after year or decades of carrying yourself this way, there is going to be a stressed, tight, and shortened pelvic floor. By making this posture adjustment, you are already easing tension from the pelvic floor.
Are you looking at yourself in the mirror? Check out your side profile. Once you have adjusted your pelvis as described above, you might also notice a small curve in your low back, this too is natural and good! Do you feel out of place and just unnatural? Are you even leaning forward a little or a lot? All signs that you have a string of tight muscles because of the way you have been carrying yourself. But no worries at all, there is a simple, effective program that takes you step by step to get back to where your body should be and once was! You are already doing step one!
Ideally, your ears, shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles should all line up as pictured above.
Finding Your Natural Alignment While Sitting!
It's really easy. Go ahead, take a seat. Now, instead of sitting in a tucked pelvis position which is putting tension and pressure on your core, low back, and pelvic floor, let's adjust. Stand up again. Now when you take a seat, act as if you are going into a squat. Sit those hips way back. Once you hit the chair, make sure you are sitting on your sitz bones! Keep those legs wide if you can, anytime you can open your legs this is going to be very freeing for the pelvic floor muscles.
How Do I Know I Have It Right?
Quite frankly, you should be able to feel your lady parts make contact with the chair, this is a neutral pelvis position. Sit this way at the dinner table, at your desk, and in the car. You will find you prefer it this way and you will notice and start correcting yourself often.
Do These Posture Adjustments Need To Be Done All Day?
No, of course not. But now you are aware and make adjustments when you think about it. This is step one in strengthening your weak and tight pelvic floor. Now you are ready for the next step!
I look forward to seeing you in class and guiding you on how to rebuild and restore your core and pelvic floor.
About Cheryl Coppa
✔️ A certified Core Confidence Specialist (Core and Pelvic Floor retraining)
✔️ A certified Personal Trainer specializing in women's fitness over 40
✔️ Low-Pressure Fitness / Hypopressive certified by creator Dr. Tamara Rial
✔️ Pre/postnatal corrective exercise specialist
✔️Instructor of the Pelvic Floor Health program, Ola Ka Ola
✔️ 40 years young, wife & mother of 3