- The 3 C’s for your pelvic floor; Correct, Coordinated and Controlled
Pelvic floor muscle activations are commonly known as “Kegel exercises.” This group of muscles sit in the base of your pelvis and they play an important role in; bladder and bowel habits, sexual function and every day confidence.
Pelvic floor muscle strengthening is often known as Kegel exercises. A pelvic floor muscle activation refers to the contraction and relaxation of these muscles.
Without an internal pelvic floor muscle examination, performed by a Women’s Health professional, it can be hard to ensure the correct technique is being performed during Kegel exercises. If you are unsure about your technique or do currently suffer from Pelvic floor conditions (such as; incontinence or prolapse), consult with a Women’s Health Professional.
When we are performing our pelvic floor muscles exercises at home, there are three key aspects to think about; correct, coordinated and controlled muscle activation.
Correct muscle activation: It is important to make sure that we perform the pelvic floor muscle activation correctly. It is common to adopt poor muscle habits overtime and it can be hard to make changes to technique. For example, one of the most common incorrect activation’s we see in clinic, is when patients try to “push down” during a muscle activation. This bearing-down muscle action puts an increased downward pressure on the pelvic floor muscles and causes strain. This can potentially worsen symptoms or be problematic overtime. There are many ways which correct technique can be taught, and you may find there are different cues which your muscles respond to better. The correct activation should be a constant focus when you are training pelvic floor muscles. One possible way to think about this activation, is to “lift up” the pelvic floor muscles, “as if you are trying to lift up a small object (i.e. a pearl) with the lips of your vagina,” or “lift up the muscles as if you are trying to stop the flow of urine.” Those are two common cues which we use in clinic, but it is important to find cues which your muscles and brain respond to. The main focus is to ‘lift UP’ the muscles and to avoid ‘pushing DOWN.’
Coordination: The pelvic floor muscles work with other pelvic, hip, deep abdominal and lumbar muscles. It is important that we train them to coordinate with our breathing and deep abdominal muscles (Transversus abdominis). Like any muscle training, it can take time to train technique and co-activation with other muscle groups. Learn how to train coordination of these muscles by downloading one of our FREE eBook’s (The Active Pelvic Floor: Step-by-step Guide for Improving Bladder Leakage in Active Females). Download HERE
Control: Overtime, with practice, you will find that the muscle activation’s begin to feel more controlled. Initially, it is important teach awareness of when these muscles switch on and switch off. With many and many Kegel’s later, you will find the activation becomes a more automatic response in functional situations. For example, initially, you will have to train you brain to think about engaging your pelvic floor muscles before a sneeze. Overtime, this pelvic floor muscle activation will become automatic.
Try to implement these ‘3C’s‘ when you are next performing your Kegel training. If you are unsure, please contact the clinic and we are happy to book you in for a Women’s health consultation with our female Physiotherapist.