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The pelvic floor and core

The pelvic floor is composed of three separate paired muscles; pubococcygeus, puborectalis and iliococcygeu.
These muscles work in a left to right and back to front fashion – and as we age and have children these muscles in both men and women can weaken and lengthen. Relaxin in pregnancy helps this to happen also – it’s not the natural vs c section we often think – and it’s the extra weight in pregnancy (although this can happen if you have no children)

getting older can cause this happen (drops in oestrogen)

prolonged straining on the toilet

failing to reach the toilet on time

a distinct bulge at the vaginal opening

They can also become hypertonic where they are in spasm – constantly contracted this can show as

stress incontience – leaking, laughing, running and jumping

pelvic pain – si joint, tailbone or lower back pain

Decrease in sensation with sex – difficulty orgasming



Women that believe their pelvic floor to be weak can spend a lot of time on contracting rather than allowing their pelvic floor to release too, more activation doesn’t always mean more strength.

The good news is that they are muscles that can be strengthened and released like any other muscle
The pelvis is a basin-shaped complex of bones that connects the upper body (trunk) and the legs, supports and balances your upper body, and contains and supports the intestines, the urinary bladder, and your internal sex organs

The pelvis can give us much support – it helps to support the body from shock.

It offers transition from the axial to the appendicular skeleton and is the attachment point for some huge muscles, which aid in hip stability,

We can develop issues occasionally with the pelvis and particularly the SI joints found at the posterior part of the pelvis (back) and these can sometimes become too slack or become fused and can cause lower back pain.
Having stability through the pelvis will help to support your body during movement.

The muscles that are primarily responsible for pelvic stabilization include: gluteus medius, gluteus maximus, pirformis and your deep core muscles.
Strengthening the hip and core stability muscles will help strengthen and support your body undoubtedly but when working on hip and core stability we need to work on both as it will also help aid your pelvic floor – (especially good postpartum AND as we age )

Take a deep breath of air – a deep lateral breath in through the nose filing our lungs full of air now for a good 3-5 seconds and then breathe out through the mouth so there feels like there’s no air left. Exhale slowly as you pull your stomach muscles inward and hold until you are ready to inhale again. (How long can you breathe in and contract those abdominals for) – Then, relax your muscles and try again. It’s important that you let out the air through your mouth instead of your nose, as this gives you more control over your breathing.

It may help you to try to exhale all of the air in roughly 3-5 seconds as well, helping time your breathing.
You’re able to get rid of more air in your body by exhaling through your mouth and then add a pelvic floor lift as you contract your abdominal muscles.

we are now cooking on gas.

This can be done in a prone, supinated (lying down) or seated position but they are called abdominal vacuums.

When you breathe out we don’t want any downward pressure on our pelvic floor but we want to lift up and out through the mouth while avoiding letting our ribs flare or our tummy dome, aim to suck the belly button in as if I’m behind you drawing you into a corset – this help create more Intra-abdominal pressure and support your trunk far more effectively.

Secondly we can strengthen weaker pelvic floor with kegals but the breath will really help with tight grumpy in spasm pelvic floor muscles

Kegals come in slow twitch and fast twitch muscle fibres and we need to train both.

Now before we start it’s not clenching your bum cheeks together but it’s holding in a fart 🤣 close your rectum and then lifting up left to right and back to front imagine your pulling up a marble or heading up in the lift – whatever analogy works for you. pill up from back to front and left to right to engage all three muscles. And then you can add in some slower pull and hold (slow twitch) until you become tired and then repeat x 5 times

Then rest or on another day and try fast twitch – how many (as many as you can – 1 sec hold) of those can you do before you become tired there and would then drop the marble?

Don’t go from doing none to every hour please! This can cause more harm than good, first just do the breath.

Especially when lifting heavy loads like kids, shopping, day to day stuff can cause more issues than when your switched on in a session.

But try and do them . If they are weak too much can be detrimental so just aim to increase how long you can hold for how many you can do. SLOWLY build it up.

Start with x 5 fast then x 5 slow and build up to 10 – 15 per muscle fibre.

We want to use the core musculature to create tension as well as the fascia around the core.

Its essential when you exercise to maintain IAP so id be looking at your belly and ribs to ensure your not doming through the abdominals and curving through the lower back or flaring your ribs.

IAP protects your spine. – this is how I squat heavy, if your using your weights you may feel the brace as you create more IAP but it also offers core stability and organ support, IAP (intra abdominal pressure) helps reduce injury

  • its that pull up, pull in as if ur drawing up a pair of jeans that are too tight and breathe out through the mouth as you knit the ribs together.


Contraction if the rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, obliques and pelvic floor even the fascia and connective tissue help create pressure.


knit the ribs together, as your diaphragm contracts it increases the volume within the abdominal cavity and therefore influences the abdominal pressure.




Be mindful as you move – this will strengthen neuromuscular pathways

Slowly increase resistance

Slowly increase the intensity of core exercises (modify)

Avoid holding your breath

Work on your posture – a pelvic tilt or rounded upper back for example can affect IAP.

Practice bracing your abdominals like your avoiding a punch to the belly.

Don’t elevate your shoulders or brace your neck, focus on a scarf /ribbon pulling lightly from belly button to your back.

As you breathe in your

ribs flare and your diaphragm descends

as you breathe in the pelvic floor descends

as you breathe out

the ribs move in

the diaphragm rises

Many of us will have fallen into a habit of breathing in and pulling in our tummy and elevating our shoulders so it becomes a up and down movement known as paradoxical breathing rather than diaphragmatic

this often happens with people that are frequently stressed, or used to holding in their belly, or people with asthma.

This can increase stress – the body thinks the short breaths mean we are in fight or flight mode

Cause indigestion, bloating and wind as the diaphragm helps induce a natural gut massage

Tiredness, -yawning, dizziness, gasping, breath holding…


and lastly poor pelvic health – leaking urine, prolapse, hernia and diastases recti * (*prolonged)

Think 360 rib breath rather than belly breathing – expand the lower ribs and open the lower ribs as much as possible as you breathe in and draw up as you breathe out. Avoid breathing from just the upper chest.

Hope this helps

Bethan xx

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