Fitness Fix: Strengthening Your PelvicFloor Muscles


By Wendy Watkins |

Many women share hushed stories about the sudden sneeze, the hearty laugh, or the big box jump that sent them scurrying to the restroom. But just because unexpected urination is a common occurrence doesn’t mean it’s normal, experts say.

While weakness of the pelvic-floor muscles can afflict both genders, it is more common among women, affecting one in three, says Christina Christie, PT, CCE, FAFS, FMR, president of Pelvic Solutions.

Consequences include incontinence, pelvic pain, and pelvic-organ prolapse, which causes organs like the bladder, vagina, and rectum — normally supported by the hammock-like pelvic-floor muscles — to painfully droop out of place. Despite the prevalence of such problems, “most women do not seek treatment either because they are embarrassed or because they assume it’s normal — perhaps because everyone else they know has the same issue,” says Ann Wendel, PT, ATC, CMTPT, founder of Prana Physical Therapy.

Weakness or dysfunction in the pelvic-floor muscles (which, when contracted, allow you to stop peeing midstream) is often connected to muscular deficiencies in the abdominals, hips, back, and diaphragm, which together make up the core.

Although Kegel exercises — flexing and relaxing the muscles that you use to stop urination — are a traditionally recommended therapy, Christie and Wendel both suggest incorporating other exercises to strengthen the hips and abdominal muscles as well.

Bridge With Hip Rotations

 

  1. Repeat 10 times per variation.

Side Clamshell

 

 

  1. Repeat 10 times per side.

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