BIG NEWS! The pelvic floor musculature does not exist and function in isolation! So......when we consider restoring it's function and strength, especially after birthing, MOVEMENT (the right amount at the right time) has to be part of our exercise prescription. Eventually our prescription for the PF needs to be INTEGRATED, WHOLE BODY AND CHALLENGE THE ENTIRE MYOFASCIAL AND CONNECTIVE TISSUE SYSTEM.
First up....The Abdominal Aponeuroses
The Abdominal Aponeuroses are sheets of tendon that cover and connect the abdominal muscles to the pelvic girdle. In terms of it's relationship to the pelvic floor muscles (especially the anterior musculature), concentric and eccentric movement of not only the abdominal muscles but connecting aponeuroses and fascia ALL HAVE A SYNERGISTIC AND POSITIVE EFFECT ON THE PELVIC FLOOR ie., lift both of your arms into the air at the same time so they end up just past your ears and 'listen' to what your pelvic floor has to say.....can you feel a change in its tension and a tightening? Yes? That's the relationship between the muscles, fascia and tendons stretching from your pubis to your sternum talking to you!
Next up, the Anterior Longditudinal Ligament (ALL) and Posterior Longditudinal Ligaments (PLL). When I first discovered these two ligaments, it was a major lightbulb moment, gee whizz! So to keep this simple, I'll focus on the ALL, this continuum of ligament runs alongside the spinal column from the cervical region to the sacrum where there are fascial links to.....guess where? THE PELVIC FLOOR MUSCLES. So what does that mean in exercise terms? Flex and extend the spine ie., BEND OVER AND RETURN and you also work your Pelvic Floor!
Now onto the adductors of the femur. Just take a look at where the proximal attachments fasten - extremely close to the PF! And guess what? Thanks to fascia, everytime your adductors are fired the PF muscles are too!
The deep lateral rotators of the femur, namely the Gemellus and Obturator muscles facilitate abduction of the femur. They are all intimately posititioned within the pelvic basis proximal to the PF muscles and thanks to the fascia factor, firing these muscles also fire the PF muscles.
Ok, so now onto the rest of your 'CORE'
In the most basic terms, the components of the 'CORE' can be defined as the pelvic floor muscles, the TVA, the diaphragm and the lumbar muscles and fascia. These 4 components all work reciprocally and are synergized by respiration. Point in case:
- Breathe out throught pursed lips and simultaneously pull your belly button in towards your spine, can you eventually feel your pelvic floor muscles lifting and tightening? That's the synergistic relationship between your PF, diaphragm and your TVA.
- Do this again and this time take your attention toward the muscles of your low back this time, now can you also feel these muscles tensioning too?
So, in summary.....
Squat or take your legs apart (abduction) - the pelvic floor is active!
Squeeze your knees together especially against resistance (a pilates ball or ring) - the pelvic floor is active!
Perform flexion to extension (bend over) - the pelvic floor is active!
Breathe in and out - the pelvic floor is active!
Move into throacic extension - the pelvic floor is active!
The pelvic floor also loves.....
Whole Body Vibration - yes, the vibration works on those muscles too! From a Powerplate to a Flexibar, it's all good!
Working against gravity!
A neutral pelvis and beautifully aligned posture!
A global myofascial system free of tension, scar tisssue, adhesions and restriction!
What are your thoughts??? Let me know!