How to exercise your pelvic floor muscles

Lucinda Van Der Hart's simple step-by-step exercising guide

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What to do:

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  • Gently squeeze and lift your muscles from around your back passage as if you were stopping the escape of wind.
  • Relax. Repeat several times until you’re confident that you’re squeezing correctly (ensure you are not pushing down in a straining action). If you’re unsure whether you’re squeezing correctly, consult a specialist continence physiotherapist, or your GP.
  • Now do the same thing, but this time try a squeeze and lift from the front, as if stopping the escape of urine.
  • Now try combining the back and front.
  • After some practice, you’ll find the method that is easiest for you. Generally, it’s advisable to use a back or combined lift. But a minority of women will prefer the front. Choose whichever you prefer. 

How often you should do the exercises:

  • Cluster exercises are a good way of strengthening your pelvic floor muscles. These are groups of up to ten lifts at a time. Each lift is held for up to 12 seconds, and should be followed by a ten-second rest. If you can manage to lift for only a couple of seconds, start with this and then gradually build up to 12. Make each hold as strong as you can. Do two to four clusters per day.
  • Do a few short, fast lifts whenever you think of it.
  • Always pull up your pelvic floor just before coughing or sneezing. Try to hold for the duration of the cough/sneeze.
  • Try to ‘switch on’ your pelvic floor gently (about 30-50 per cent effort) when you’re going about daily life. 

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