This is absolutely my favourite standing pelvic floor exercise. I love that it anchors you to the spot with a quick little routine to stop you getting distracted part way through.
Honestly takes 35 seconds but pings your pelvic floor muscles awake. Little and often improves muscle memory, reaction times, and encourages quick muscle growth.
Turn your toes out, like a ballet dancer, 5 squeezes of the back passage
Turn your toes out, like a ballet dancer. Tighten your pelvic floor and notice how this position favours the back passage (the anal sphincter) just like you are stopping wind. Pretend you are having tea with the queen and made the mistake of baked beans for lunch. You need to effectively close the anus opening, without clenching your buttocks more than a smidgen and without it showing on your face! Do 5 on and off squeezes, not trying to hold, just a good squeeze, then let go completely.
2. Turn your toes in, like a pigeon, 5 lift and tucks of the vagina/bladder tube area
Then turn your toes in, like a pigeon. Now when you tighten up underneath it should feel different. Less going on at the back and more focus at the front, around the bladder tube and vagina area. Let the area be soft, almost a bit saggy, then lift and tuck the vagina up inside. Let go – completely. Then repeat 5 on – off contractions. Best lift you can do ….and relax. Don’t worry if your abdominal muscles join in a little bit but keep the focus on your pelvic floor.
3. Turn your toes normal, both areas together as a unit
Finally turn your toes into your normal standing posture. Now try to do both the previous actions at the same time. Most people start with the back tightening and then like a big zip come forward to lift and tuck the front. When you let go each time now it should feel like there was a bigger ‘up’ and a bigger ‘drop’. Repeat. If you are feeling clever add in some side to side tension too (yes, the pelvic floor is bowel shaped, see my video showing a model pelvis in the pelvic floor school)
When you have done 5 squeezes with your toes turned out, 5 with your toes turned in and 5 with everything together you will have done 15 really good pelvic floor muscle contractions. NOW your muscles will be thinking – hey she doesn’t normally work us like this – we are going to need to grow!
When to do it?
Perfect exercise to do little and often through an ordinary day. It tags on really well to cleaning your teeth – or after a wee. At home, use that quiet moment in the toilet to focus on yourself. If you are working, linger in the cubicle for an extra 40 seconds – you are getting paid to exercise!
If you think this exercise is mad and you couldn’t feel a thing when you tried to do it – try it lying down, not so much the feet positions but focusing first on the back passage and then on the front. This positon takes the weight of your organs off the pelvic floor and gives you more chance to ‘feel’ the muscles working. If that still leaves you cold – then I would recommend you have a chat to your GP and ask for a referral to a specialist pelvic floor physiotherapist for a full assessment and examination. There are lots of things we can teach you in clinic 1:1 to help you find and improve your muscle function.