Pelvic Floor and Core……what is it? Where is it? Why is it so important?
Rather than make this a long anatomy lesson here are a few facts and movements to help.
- We all have one – Males and Females
- It tends to get ‘lazy’ over our lifetime.
- We need it supple and strong for optimal support of our skeleton, especially our SPINE.
- All it takes is awareness of our body and the power of our mind to help switch it on and wake it up:-)
- Letting it relax is just as important as switching it on.
- Post Natal…..that’s a whole other story:-)
- One muscle never works alone. it affects the whole body.
- You can exercise this area sitting down, however let’s incorporate it with some movements that can benefit the whole body.
*Centre = Pelvic Floor and Transverse Abdominals
* Baby is not necessary:-)
As well as incorporating your Pelvic Floor and Core this also helps to mobilise the spine and strengthen the gluts and legs.
Exhale as you begin to roll up, connect with your pelvic floor muscle, engage this as you begin to imprint your lumbar spine and gently lift up. Inhale at the top. Exhale as you roll down.
Roll slowly up and down your spine keeping your weight even through your feet. Aim to lengthen into your lumbar spine and support through your pelvic floor and core.
If hamstrings are too tight don’t hold for too long or bring your feet closer to your bum.
Keep a block / book between your knees if you find they are moving out to the sides. Repeat several times.
LEG FLOATS – these are a great way to tighten up your lower abs.
Inhale to prepare, exhale lift you knee towards you, aim to lift the weight of your leg with your centre* not your back or thigh/ hip flexors.
Inhale to hold, on the exhale bring the foot back to the floor by hinging from your hip. As you lower your foot down aim to keep your pelvis neutral, once again using your centre to control it – use you PF & Core to keep your pelvis in neutral and prevent your back from arching while extending your leg away from you.
Switch legs. This is single leg floats. Great for beginners. Keep doing only one leg at a time until your centre gets stronger and it is easy to keep your spine in neutral.
Bring two legs up once you feel strong enough in your centre and you are not using your lower back.
I often see people doing double leg lifts here and they are working mostly from their spine which defeats the purpose. Be aware of what is working for you!
Once again, a great overall movement to get your centre strong. You will have to concentrate to engage pelvic floor here as so much else if going on.
You can bring your knees down if side plank on your feet is too much. Avoid if you have a shoulder injury.
Once in side plank, use your centre to lift your waist up and down towards the ground and back. Less is more. Keep shoulders and neck as relaxed as possible.
After all that do a simple twist to reset your spine and alignment.
When resting in the twist simply use your mind to switch on and off your pelvic floor with your breath.
Inhale to relax your centre and exhale to engage it as it works with the flow and rhythm of your diaphragm.
Please note: If pregnant the breath work is the opposite.
If you are interested in a more in-depth look at our centre and how to strengthen this area safely, then book onto the mini workshop running on Feb 7th from the Zen Den Collective, Dunsborough. 9.00 – 10.30am.