Are you looking for a simple guide to safe strengthening?
These top 10 pelvic floor protection principles for pelvic floor safe exercises will help you strengthen safely.
Scroll down to print this pelvic floor safe exercises poster. Maybe you’d like to post this on the noticeboard at your exercise center and help other women strengthen safely too.
The Top 10 Principles for Pelvic Floor Safe Exercises
Maintain the normal inward curve in your lower back during every effort; lift, lower, push or pull against resistance.
Using the correct posture will help you activate the protective support of your pelvic floor and deep lower abdominal muscles during your strength exercises.
2. Pelvic Floor
Activate your pelvic floor muscles immediately before and during your effort if you’re able to.
Ideally your pelvic floor muscles should contract strongly with your effort and then relax back to resting immediately following. If you can’t feel your pelvic floor muscles it’s important to keep your resistance low and avoid potentially unsafe strength exercises.
Breathe out during your effort and never hold your breath during resistance exercises.
Holding your breath increases downward pressure on your pelvic floor. Breathing out reduces to the downward pressure on your pelvic floor.
4. Heavy Lifting
Avoid heavy lifting and never strain with your resistance exercises. Keep the load within a manageable range. Avoid lifting weights from ground level wherever possible and always use safe lifting techniques.
If your pelvic floor is at increased risk of injury, minimize the load until your pelvic floor condition has improved. This will help you avoid straining and injuring your pelvic floor.
Avoid intense abdominal bracing at all times particularly during resistance exercises. Know how to activate core abdominal muscles correctly before and during exercise to stabilize your trunk.
Intense abdominal bracing or strongly tightening the abdominal muscles increases the downward pressure onto the pelvic floor, increasing the risk of pelvic floor overload and injury.
6. Start Light
When starting out use minimal resistance and focus on using the correct technique.
Gradually increase resistance over time when you can use the correct technique and you are confident in your pelvic floor strength and control.
Choose supported positions for your strength exercises. Supported positions such as sitting on a Fit Ball or lying down may be used as an alternative to standing resistance exercises.
Physical support can reduce the likelihood of pelvic floor symptoms with resistance training and improve your ability to feel your pelvic floor muscles working.
Take the time to rest between sets (groups) of resistance exercises.
Resting allows your muscles (including your pelvic floor muscles) to recover so they can work effectively before your next strength effort.
Listen to what your body tells you during and after resistance exercises. Notice those risky gym exercises and/or machines that cause you pelvic floor symptoms and either modify or cease them altogether.
Pelvic floor symptoms with exercise are not normal; they indicate that you’re overloading your pelvic floor with some aspect of your training. Monitor your pelvic floor symptoms with your exercises, especially if you’re at increased risk of pelvic floor injury e.g. returning to exercises after gynaecological surgery or childbirth.
Take a break from resistance training if you have pelvic pain, acute lower back pain or if you feel fatigued and unwell.
Your supportive pelvic floor and deep abdominal muscles wont work as effectively when you have pelvic pain and/or fatigue and your risk of injury is increased. Return to exercise gradually when your body has recovered.
with Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist Michelle Kenway
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