Are Kegels the Key to a Complete Core?

Clinical Expertise

Mar 7, 2016

As a runner or avid exerciser, you’ve probably heard it’s important to have a strong core. You may even do crunches or planks religiously. But you might be missing a key component of your core.

If you are serious about your core, don’t ignore the pelvic floor. This muscle group is not just responsible for maintaining bladder control and improving sexual function, it also plays an important role in core stabilization and injury prevention.

The pelvic floor, along with the other core muscles, stabilizes your pelvis, spine and thorax during exercise.

One exercise to strengthen the pelvic floor is a kegel, or a pelvic floor contraction. To perform a pelvic floor muscle contraction, you want to perform an action of “Squeeze and Lift” by contracting the muscles group and tightening around the anus as if you are trying to stop the flow of urine or avoid passing gas. You should feel the muscles move upwards and in, and when you relax them, you should feel them move downwards and out.

As you do this, try not to contract the abdominal or buttock muscles too much.

You should be able to contract and relax the pelvic floor muscles in different positions and with other parts of your body moving. There are multiple benefits to pelvic floor muscle exercises for all women including:

  • Increased blood flow to the vagina, rectum, and perineum to aid in healing
  • Stronger well developed core
  • Improved bladder and bowel control
  • Prevention of incontinence after childbirth
  • Prevention or reduction of constipation
  • Improved sexual response and orgasm
  • Increased support of the pelvic and abdominal organs
  • Prevention of organ prolapse
  • Prevents low back pain

The evaluation of the pelvic floor for core strengthening could be the “missing link” in hitting your goals or enjoying a pain free recovery. If you have questions or concerns about control of your core consider reaching out to a specialized women’s health physical therapist at a Brooks Outpatient center today.

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