How to Correct Posture for Successful Pelvic Floor Exercises

How to Correct Posture

Knowing how to correct posture can help you get the most out of your pelvic floor exercises. Incorrect posture can increase pressure on your pelvic floor and this can make pelvic floor problems worse.

Here’s your Physiotherapist guide to:

  • Why is correct posture important?
  • What is correct posture for pelvic floor exercises?
  • How to correct posture for standing pelvic floor exercises
  • How to correct posture for seated pelvic floor exercises

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Why is Correct Posture Important?

Posture refers to the way the body is positioned. When Physiotherapists analyze posture, they usually look at how the body is positioned and how the muscles are working to support the body.

Correct posture involves using your postural muscles appropriately and helps to reduce muscle fatigue and problems typically associated with poor posture such as neck or back strain.

How to Correct Posture

What many of us don’t realise is that our posture or the way we hold our body when we sit or stand can also affect our pelvic floor:

  • Slumped forwards posture (shown right) increases downward pressure on the pelvic floor – this is important for women with pelvic prolapse problems, incontinence (bladder or bowel), with pelvic floor weakness after childbirth or with pelvic pain.
  • Correct posture improves pelvic floor exercises – your strengthening exercises will be most effective and successful with the correct spinal alignment.
  • Correct posture promotes deep abdominal muscle activity – your deep abdominal muscles also play a role in supporting your pelvic organs and promoting bladder and bowel control.
  • Correct posture enhances diaphragmatic breathingdiaphragmatic breathing exercises can help to promote appropiate helpful breathing patterns that enhance pelvic floor muscle activity.

Correct Posture for Successful Pelvic Floor Exercises

The correct sitting or standing posture for successful pelvic floor and deep abdominal exercises involves:

  • Maintaining the normal inward curve in the lower back during strength exercises1
  • Avoiding slumped forward posture

How to Correct PostureHow to Correct Posture in Standing

  • Stand with your feet hip width apart
  • Balance your weight evenly
  • Lengthen your spine by lifting the crown of your head towards the ceiling
  • Tuck your chin slightly so that it is not poked forwards
  • Relax your shoulders back and down
  • Maintain your normal inward lower back curve

The standing posture shown left is is the correct posture to maintain during your standing pelvic floor exercises.

How to Correct Posture in Sitting

  • Sit on a chair, stool or exercise ball
  • If using a chair sit away from the back of the chair
  • Position your feet about hip width apart
  • Balance your weight evenly between your sit bones
  • Lift the crown of your head towards the ceiling
  • Tuck your chin slightly so that it is not poked forwards
  • Lengthen your spine
  • Ensure your lower back has your normal inward curve

How to Correct Posture Key Points

  • Correct posture is important to ensure successful pelvic floor exercises
  • Poor posture can increase the load on the pelvic floor and worsen pelvic floor problems
  • Maintain the normal inward curve in your lower back during seated and standing pelvic floor exercises
  • Sit away from the back of the chair or use an exercise ball during seated pelvic floor exercises

Back rest or no back rest for sitting posture and exercises?

It has been shown that using a back rest (leaning against the back of a chair) decreases pelvic floor muscle activity compared with unsupported sitting2. While it is important to use a back rest to support your spine when sitting for extended periods of time, if you are doing your pelvic floor exercises sitting move forward away from the back of the chair.

1 Sapsford R (2004) Rehabilitation of pelvic floor muscles utilizing trunk stabilization. Manual Therapy 9,  3–12.
2 Sapsford R, Richardson C, Stanton W (2006) Sitting posture affects pelvic floor muscle activity in parous women: An observational study. Australian Journal of Physiotherapy, 52.

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