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Adidas/October 2023/
5 minute read

5 Pelvic Floor Exercises For Strength

Feel balance and power in your pelvic floor. Practice these five mindful pelvic floor exercises to strengthen and reconnect with this part of your body.

We spoke with Pelvic Floor Therapists Roe Cohen and Kate M. Hoyle to demystify the pelvic floor, unveil how to stabilize and strengthen this crucial part of the body, and shed light on its purpose. In the vast and often intricate landscape of the human body, the pelvic floor consists of muscles and connective tissues that support important organs in your pelvis, such as your bladder, bowel, and internal reproductive organs. Notably, it plays an integral role in stabilizing your hips and back, especially during activities like walking, standing, or engaging in any active movement. 

How do you know if your pelvic floor is weak? 

Often people assume their pelvic floor is too weak—which can be the case especially for those recovering after giving birth—but there are people who suffer from a pelvic floor that is too strong. Individuals with both weak and overly strengthened pelvic floors may experience similar symptoms.
“The biggest things that we see with an imbalanced pelvic floor is incontinence, pain with penetration, low back and hip pain, bladder irritation and newer pain with menstrual cycles,” said Cohen.

How long does it take to strengthen your pelvic floor?  

The amount of time it will take to strengthen the pelvic floor will vary from person to person, but with consistent effort, you might start to feel results fairly quickly. According to the National Library of Medicine, it can take 4-6 weeks of practicing pelvic floor exercises to notice a difference.
Remember to give yourself grace, and keep in mind that everyone's body is different. Wellness isn’t a race, it’s a marathon.

Does walking build pelvic floor muscles?

Yes, if you're focused on learning how to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, walking in tandem with exercises like glute bridges and toe taps can effectively rebalance and tone your pelvic floor.  

Pelvic Floor Exercises To Try  

The mind-body connection is key when it comes to pelvic floor health. “To strengthen or restore balance to your pelvic floor, you must breathe into it,” explained Hoyle. “Learning how to soften and relax your pelvic floor is the initial step.”
So, take three deep breaths and center your intention on connecting with your pelvic floor. Now that you are connected to your breath let’s ease into this mindful movement practice.

01. Toe Taps

How to do it:
  • Lay on your back with your knees bent and your pelvis in a neutral position.
  • Inhale into your rib cage, then exhale through your mouth, letting your ribs naturally compress.
  • Draw your pelvic floor up and lock in your core.
  • Slowly lift both legs to a tabletop position.
  • Gently bring one leg down with your knee bent, contracting your core muscles, and lightly tapping your toe on the floor.
  • Return this leg to tabletop position, repeat the exercise with your other leg, keeping your core and pelvic muscles engaged.
  • That’s one rep. Complete two sets of 15 reps.

02. Abdominal Bracing  

How to do it:
  • Start on all fours with your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
  • Then draw your belly button back toward your spine and up in between your ribs as if you were pulling up a zipper.
  • Hold that contraction for three seconds and then release.
  • That’s one rep. Complete two sets of 15 reps.

03. Glute Bridge w/Knee Tap 

How to do it:
  • Start on your back with your legs bent, and your feet flat on the ground.
  • Lift your hips up until your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees.
  • Push through your heels to activate your hamstrings.
  • Tap your knees together and then back in line with your hips.
  • Lower your hips back down to the floor.
  • That's one rep. Complete two sets of 15 reps.

04. Clamshell  

How to do it:
  • Lie on your side with your head propped up by your hand, your legs bent, and your heels in line with your butt.
  • Your hips should be stacked, and your knees should be together.
  • Lift your top knee toward the ceiling while keeping your feet together and not rolling your hips backward, then lower your knee to meet the other.
  • That's one rep. Complete two sets of 15 reps per side.

05. Bird Dog Hold  

How to do it:
  • Start in a tabletop position with your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
  • Extend one leg and the opposite arm at the same time.
  • Pause for 3 to 5 seconds, return to the starting position.
  • That's one rep. Continue alternating sides until set is complete. Complete two sets of 15 reps per side.

Balance is Restored: Pelvic Floor Health

These pelvic floor exercises can offer benefits to all individuals regardless of gender since every person has a pelvic floor. Engaging in this conscious bodywork is a powerful way to restore balance and tone to your pelvic floor.
“What would delight me the most is for people to read this and, instead of merely pursuing strength, to genuinely cultivate awareness about this vital part of their body,” said Cohen.
So, take a moment to breathe and feel the power and peace these exercises infuse into your body and remember that mindful movement is the first step in healing and forming a deep connection with your body.
This article was reviewed by Pelvic Floor Therapists Roe Cohen & Kate M. Hoyle.
Illustrations by Lily LK