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Pelvic floor training: how it works!

by Josephine Andrews
Published: Last Updated on 271 views

Most people only deal with pelvic floor training when there are problems. Because if the musculature becomes too weak at this point, it can become quite uncomfortable in the form of urinary incontinence and potency problems. It makes sense to train the pelvic floor then at the latest, but even better preventively. Read here which exercises you can use to strengthen your pelvic floor.

How to strengthen the pelvic floor

Effective pelvic floor training is a mixture of breathing and targeted contraction and relaxation of the relevant muscles. Because the diaphragm, the breathing muscle between the chest and abdomen, which rises and falls with the right (deep) breathing technique, also stretches the pelvic floor and contracts it again through its movement. The diaphragm and pelvic floor are connected to each other via connective tissue and this breathing movement.

Furthermore, you should really only tighten the pelvic floor in order to achieve the desired training effect. These internal muscles are not so easy to control at first. To get a feel for where it is, try how it feels when you tighten the sphincter, as if to stop the flow of urine or to “pull” the perineum into the body. Men should now feel the tension between the scrotum and the anus, women between the vagina and the anus. In training, tension and relaxation alternate.

Pelvic floor training: instructions and basic pelvic floor exercises to do at home

There are few exercises that can be performed as easily and almost anywhere as pelvic floor exercises. There are many exercises, some can be easily integrated into everyday life without being noticed, such as climbing stairs or tensing the buttocks.

When training the pelvic floor, it is important not to tense the abdominal, buttocks and thigh muscles. The exercises are supported by breathing: breathe out when you tense your pelvic floor muscles and breathe in when you relax.

The basic exercise of pelvic floor training is very simple: In any position you tense the pelvic floor muscles, hold the tension for three to five seconds, relax for ten seconds and then tense again. This exercise is repeated eight to ten times in a row and preferably four to five times a day.

In principle, men and women can train with the same pelvic floor exercises, but there are also variants that are specifically aimed at the needs or the typical problems of the respective gender.

You can find specific pelvic floor exercises in the article Pelvic floor exercises for women.

Men also benefit from strengthened pelvic floor muscles. You can find exercises for this in the article Pelvic floor exercises for men.

Pelvic floor training – that’s behind it

Pelvic floor training includes various tension exercises designed to train and strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and sphincters. Depending on the exercise, you can do it lying down, sitting, kneeling or standing. As a beginner, you should contract your pelvic floor for three to five seconds per exercise, then relax again for ten seconds. The exercise is usually repeated several times. Later you can hold the tension for up to ten seconds.

Since the pelvic floor is made up of muscles that are quite hidden and difficult to feel and activate, you should consult an expert, e.g. B. Have a physiotherapist correct the exercises. He also makes sure that you continue to breathe evenly and that you do not tense your buttocks and abdominal muscles in addition to the pelvic floor, otherwise the correct muscles will not be addressed.

Pelvic floor training: What is the pelvic floor actually?

The term “pelvic floor” already describes its position quite precisely: it closes off the bottom of the pool like the floor of a room. The pelvic floor consists of three layers of muscle and connective tissue arranged one on top of the other and anchored between the pelvic bones like a hammock. There are narrow openings in this muscle plate for the rectum, urethra and genitals, which are directly influenced by the movements of the pelvic floor muscles and which support the functions of the urethral and anal sphincter muscles. This explains why people with weak pelvic floor muscles often have difficulty holding their urine.

The pelvic floor has these tasks

The pelvic floor has various, mainly stabilizing tasks. He

  • supports the pelvis and keeps the bowel, bladder and other organs in position,
  • helps with sphincter muscle control (only when the pelvic floor is relaxed are urination and bowel movements possible),
  • withstands the pressure of coughing , sneezing, laughing or lifting heavy objects,
  • Together with other muscles, it stabilizes the lower spine and supports upright posture.
  • A strong pelvic floor can also increase sexual arousal.

In order to be able to fulfill its many tasks, the pelvic floor must be both strong and flexible. It will and will remain so through regular pelvic floor exercises.

Pelvic floor training – the equipment

No special equipment is required to train the pelvic floor. Comfortable clothing, which is at best slightly stretchy to be able to follow the movements, makes sense. Many exercises that train the pelvic floor muscles, such as climbing stairs or lifting your buttocks, can also be carried out in everyday clothes. For certain seated pelvic floor exercises or when you need support, you may need a stool or low table for efficient pelvic floor training. Aids such as an exercise mat can increase comfort when doing exercises while lying down or kneeling.

Who is pelvic floor training suitable for?

Pelvic floor training can be particularly helpful with:

Bladder and bowel weakness: Around nine million people in Germany suffer from an uncontrolled urge to urinate. The most common form of urinary incontinence is the so-called stress incontinence, when the muscles of the pelvic floor and the connective tissue become weaker. Pelvic floor training strengthens these muscles.

Overweight: If the scales consistently show too much, this puts a strain on the pelvic floor muscles and can cause them to become slack. Pelvic floor exercises strengthen them again.

Postural weaknesses: Too much sitting and poor (slouched, slumped) posture can also weaken the pelvic floor muscles. The training not only strengthens the pelvic floor, but can also improve posture.

Pelvic floor training is particularly advisable for women:

  • before and after birth
  • in connective tissue weakness due to hormone changes during menopause ,
  • in uterine prolapse (pelvic floor training does not reverse it, but prevents further position change).

Men benefit from regular pelvic floor training in particular:

  • after surgery on the prostate (because part of the bladder sphincter is severed, this procedure can lead to stress urinary incontinence),
  • with potency problems (pelvic floor training promotes blood flow to the penis).

Pelvic floor training – that’s what it takes

Done correctly and regularly, you can permanently strengthen and stabilize the pelvic floor muscles with pelvic floor training. Exercises that target the pelvic floor can counteract incontinence, strengthen the back, improve posture and breathing.

In addition, the conscious contraction and relaxation of the muscles in men should help against erectile dysfunction and prevent premature ejaculation.

Pelvic floor training & calorie consumption

The calorie consumption during pelvic floor training is comparatively low. A man weighing 80 kilograms burns about 40 to 60 calories in 15 minutes, i.e. 160 to 240 calories per hour. However, pelvic floor training is not about losing weight. Here the health aspects are in the foreground.

Pelvic floor training & pregnancy

Pelvic floor training is particularly good for pregnant women and young mothers. On the one hand, the female hormones make muscles, ligaments and connective tissue looser. On the other hand, during pregnancy , the baby presses on the bladder. Both can lead to urinary incontinence. Pelvic floor exercises help prevent this and make the pelvic floor both strong enough to support the child and flexible enough to give way as the baby grows and labor begins.

Pelvic floor exercises – mistakes to avoid

Wanting too much: If you overdo it, you risk damage. The decisive factor is not the quantity, but the quality of the training.

Training wrong: For targeted pelvic floor training, you have to know which muscles should be addressed and what the correct execution feels like. Get help from an expert.

Train irregularly: In order to achieve an effect, pelvic floor training must be carried out regularly – just like any other muscle training.

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