Centring: Your Pelvic Floor

Your pelvic floor refers to the set of muscles around your bladder, bottom, and vagina or penis. Strengthening these muscles can help with incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse and improve sex. We can all benefit from doing pelvic floor exercises.

To feel your pelvic floor muscles, imagine that you are trying to stop the flow of urine (although to avoid bladder problems, it is not recommended that you actually do this regularly).

In Pilates, we work the pelvic floor muscles together with the deep abdominal muscles and muscles alongside your spine (multifidus), to stabilise your trunk. We call this action centring and it is one of our basic principles. By strengthening these muscles, they are better able to support your back and can help you manage or alleviate back pain.

The pelvic elevator exercise is good for practising the action of centring. You can do it in any position. I suggest that you start by lying on your back and progress to kneeling on all fours. It is available as an MP3 on my downloads page.

If you specifically want to work on your pelvic floor, the NHS website has a page with some pelvic floor exercises. The NHS has also developed apps for women and men to get reminders and help with doing pelvic floor exercises.

There are gadgets available to women to help (see this previous post).

To find out more, I suggest that you do an online search for #pelvicfloor (women), #nutstoguts (men).