The pelvic floor doesn’t work in isolation is the short answer I give to those asking me what I think about pelvic floor exercises such as vaginal weight lifting or Kegels. Below is my email response to a woman who asked what I thought about using vaginal weights to strengthen the pelvic floor. This is a post explaining that there is a better way to achieve pelvic floor health, a more natural way.
As a Restorative Exercise Specialist, my approach to working with pelvic floor weakness is to bring the body into alignment through Restorative Exercise and natural movement. When you move naturally throughout the day, the pelvic floor responds to the loads placed on it. You shouldn’t have to “spot treat” the pelvic floor. Strengthening should happen naturally. If your pelvic floor isn’t responding appropriately then perhaps it’s because you’re not allowing it to function as a whole with the rest of your body.
When you focus on the pelvic floor through vaginal weights or Kegels, you isolate only one piece of a complex system. By spot treating the pelvic floor, you leave out other very important players in pelvic floor health which are the respiratory diaphragm, transverse abdominis, gluteus maximus, lateral rotators of the hips and the feet (yes the feet!). What you may end up with when you spot treat with vaginal weights or several hundred Kegels a day is a hypertonic pelvic floor. Short tight muscles don’t equal strong muscles. Muscles need to be at the correct length (not too short and not too long) for optimal force generation and they need to be responsive to the task at hand.
Another thing to think about is that if you’re sitting or standing with a posteriorly tilted pelvis or have a counter-nutated sacrum you’re not allowing the uterosacral ligaments (USL) to do their job. When the pelvis is in neutral, the uterus is suspended by the USL. Ligaments need proper direction of load to stimulate the correct balance of collagen production. One of the main supporting ligaments of the uterus is the uterosacral ligament, and if the USLs aren’t loaded correctly because you are sitting on your tailbone (a posteriorly tilted pelvis) the ligaments loose their strength and resiliency. How can the USLs suspend the uterus if the uterus is sitting on the USL? It can’t! So it makes sense to support the pelvic organs from above instead of just focusing on walling organs in with a too tight pelvic floor.The body is beautifully designed to hold in our pelvic organs without artificial weight training. Click To Tweet
The body is beautifully designed to hold in our pelvic organs without artificial weight training. By honoring the biomechanical design of your body and using it the way nature intended-minimizing sitting and avoid wearing positive heeled shoes (read about what high heels do to your uterus here), moving in alignment and changing our societal beliefs about how women should sit and walk (tailbone tucked, feet close together-you know, “like a lady”). Otherwise, we aren’t getting to the root of the problem. We are not broken, we just have to stop getting in our own way.Sitting, walking, standing like a lady can lead to a weak pelvic floor. Click To Tweet