Admittedly many of us have suffered an embarrassing moment with a fellow classmate nearby or when an instructor is spotting us – that unwanted and unexpected escape as we go upside down or try an intense new trick. Hilarious or cringe worthy, it can be helped!
Your Pelvic Floor is an important group of muscles that:
– Maintain bladder and bowel control
– Stop passing of wind
– Stop bladder activity when it’s unwanted
– Work with abdominal and back muscles to support the spine
– Act as support during pregnancy
Imagine your pelvic floor muscles to be like a hammock, sling or trampoline that you want to be taut and active during exercise. The 4 muscle segments (diaphragm, transversus abdominis, multifidus, pelvic floor) work together as a functional synergy to form a supportive corset, in the shape of a coke can.
To stop uncontrolled gas or leakage of urine during coughing, sneezing and exercise we want to have good control and activation of our pelvic floor.
Your pelvic floor can cause issues if it is weak or overactive, which can cause pain. Things that can lead you to be prone to problems may be: heavy lifting, high impact sports, chronic cough, pregnancy or ongoing back pain. If you have persistent or bothersome symptoms it is recommended to consult your Doctor or see a Women’s or Men’s Health Physiotherapist.
Training your Pelvic Floor:
It’s all about activating the sling of muscles in the right way, without bracing, holding your breath or exerting downward pressure.
As a starting point, try lying on your back with your knees bent, in a neutral spine position. Using some of the cues below (you’ll no doubt laugh at them), try holding the muscles active for 8-12 seconds. Then relax. Aim to repeat 8 times.
*Don’t be surprised if you lose the muscle contraction before time is up, without realising. It takes practice!
Once you can hold 8-12 seconds, try holding it for 1-2minutes. Work your way up, increasing the endurance.
Envisage closing a drawstring bag
Visualise sucking up through a straw
Imagine a pin coming towards your rear
Think of walking into freezing cold water
For the fellas: Draw ‘nuts to guts’
*You should NOT feel your glutes, hip or thigh muscles active!
Now for the functional part! Once you can engage your pelvic floor lying down, sitting (try practicing while driving!), and standing; challenge yourself to engage these muscles when you invert, climb and learn new tricks in class. Don’t forget to breathe!
This control will come especially in handy when Boogie Bounce hits studios soon ;).
Pelvic floor muscles are important and will help stop embarrassing moments in class