Can Pilates strengthen the pelvic floor?

If you already know how to work your pelvic floor effectively, then yes, definitely, Pilates can help strengthen the pelvic floor.   As both a specialist pelvic floor physiotherapist and an experienced Pilates Instructor this is my area of expertise and I have made a video of my favorite pelvic floor friendly pilates exercises (see below)..

BUT, if your pelvic floor muscles are weak, or ‘switched off’ when you are doing pilates (so they could be perfectly good muscles but your brain is not telling them to work) then you could happily do an entire Pilates class with relatively little impact on the muscles at all. 

Without a proper pelvic floor contraction, challenging Pilates exercises (or aerobics or gym work) might be working you hard, but you will not be getting the proper benefit, and you could even risk making your problems worse by stretching the pelvic floor rather than strengthening it.    So if you have any worries that your pelvic floor is not quite what it should be, do make sure you get your GP to refer you to a Specialist Physiotherapist to get your technique checked before you do too much more with an unprotected pelvic floor.

Video: Pilates for your pelvic floor

In this video I have chosen pilates exercises that my clients find help them particularly focus on the pelvic floor.  I give you lots of extra cues to keep you thinking about the muscles even while you think about your breathing, your abdominals and which way to move your arms and legs!  Pilates done well is a real ‘brain exercise’ too!

Below you can view a (silent!) trailer, then CLICK HERE  to view the full video at pactster.com.  Use my code AmandaPostnatal to view any Pactster video for free for a month.

SPECIALIST PELVIC FLOOR PHYSIOTHERAPY

There is so much that a specialist pelvic floor physiotherapist can teach you to improve internal muscle strength, endurance and co-ordination.  Through post-graduate training we have the skill to properly assess and examine the pelvic floor muscles with a vaginal examination.  We do this in a kind and gentle way putting you as much at ease as we can and aiming to help you understand how they work.  Once, together, we have a better understanding of where your muscles are at presently, we can then show you how to help them to grow and improve your skill at using them to prevent incontinence and improve internal organ support.  It’s not just up/down squeezes!  We have lots of different ways to the standard exercises you may have already tried! To encourage proper muscle activation we have tricks & tips, more advanced and interesting exercises, even great gadgets that can show you what you are doing and help your muscles work.  

Specialist physiotherapists have passed exams to become full members of the Professional Network of Pelvic, Obstetric and Gynaecological Physiotherapy (POGP).    Ask your GP to refer you to the local NHS services (if you are Cambridge-based you can self-refer) or do come to see me at my practice (South Cambridge Physiotherapy).  

Was this post helpful to you?  Please do let me know in the comments section below.  Your feedback inspires me and others, and helps me to think about what to write next.

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