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. I have made a video of my favorite pelvic floor friendly pilates exercises (see below)..

BUT, no, not 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). In these cases 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

I have developed a complete sequence of progressing women’s health Pilates classes for you to do at home. They are hosted on BEAM, an online platform specialising in providing on demand and live exercise to women who want to exercise safely and effectively but in the privacy of their own home.

Click through to and use my affiliate code BEAM-WITH-SUPPORTED-MUMS for 30 days free Gold Membership. This gives you full access to my on-demand and LIVE classes as well as others on the site such as HIIT, Babysleek Barre and yoga.

In the Strengthen your pelvic floor class I have chosen pilates exercises that particularly focus on the pelvic floor.  I give you lots of extra pelvic floor 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!

Amanda Savage teaches a Pilates for you pelvic floor sequence

Strengthen the Pelvic Floor  is a stand alone sequence with every exercise cued to specially focus on making sure you integrate pelvic floor.

Essential practice if you had a tear or cut at delivery, have any hint of bladder or bowel leakage, are stuggling to get to the toilet on time, or feeling discomfort from pelvic organ prolapse.


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).  

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