The pelvic floor is indispensable in its role within the human body. This complex and finely coordinated set of muscles is often overshadowed when discussing muscular health, despite ensuring the body’s critical organs remain functional while firmly in the pelvis.
In this article, we explore the best pelvic floor exercises for men and women to keep this essential muscle set operational and healthy.
What is the Pelvic Floor?
The pelvic floor is a muscle set found in men and women toward the top of the pelvis. It stretches from the pubic bone at the front to the tailbone at the rear, supporting the bowel and bladder and, in females, the uterus and vagina. You might liken it to a hammock, holding these essential organs in place and ready to work.
For women, the pelvic floor plays an integral role, supporting the womb and ensuring optimal bladder and bowel functioning. This becomes particularly crucial during life events such as childbirth, where a resilient pelvic floor can significantly influence postpartum recovery and overall pelvic health.
In men, the importance of the pelvic floor is no less significant. It forms the foundation that underpins the bladder and bowel, ensuring proper positioning and function. Moreover, a strong pelvic floor can impact men’s urological health, especially as they age.
Kegel Exercises for Men
The pelvic floor, a complex network of muscles, tendons, and tissues, plays a fundamental role in a range of bodily functions. For men, strengthening this region can offer benefits from enhanced bladder control to improved sexual health. The Kegel is a popular method of pelvic floor exercise tailored to target and fortify the pelvic muscles. Here’s how to get started:
1. Understanding the Anatomy: Before diving into the exercise, it’s crucial to have a grasp of the anatomy. The pelvic floor muscles support the bladder and bowel in men. The muscle you activate when you try to stop the flow of urine is a primary component of the pelvic floor.
2. Finding the Right Position:
- Begin your exercise in a quiet and relaxed environment.
- Lie down on the floor or a comfortable mat, ensuring your back is flat and your legs are slightly apart.
3. Entering a Relaxed State:
- It’s essential to release tension from other body parts to focus solely on the pelvic muscles.
- Ensure that your thigh, buttock, and abdominal muscles remain relaxed throughout. Deep breathing can aid in achieving this relaxed state.
4. Engaging the Pelvic Muscles:
- Imagine you are trying to stop the flow of urine or prevent passing gas. This action targets the pelvic muscles.
- Squeeze and hold these muscles. Initially, aim for a few seconds, gradually increasing the duration as your strength improves.
5. Recognising the Correct Muscles:
- It can be beneficial to identify the exact muscles being engaged during the kegel exercise.
- While urinating, try to halt or slow the flow of urine momentarily. The muscles you employ for this are the ones you aim to activate during your Kegel routine.
- However, use this method of identification judiciously. Continually interrupting urine flow can lead to bladder issues, so this should be used merely as an occasional test.
6. Consistency is Key:
- Like any exercise regimen, the benefits of Kegels come with regular practice.
- Set aside a few minutes daily for this exercise, gradually increasing the duration and intensity of the muscle contractions.
Best Way to Strengthen Pelvic Floor
The Kegel method has become one of the most popular pelvic floor exercises for men and women – yet there are other ways to strengthen the pelvic muscles to ensure their optimum best.
Pelvic Floor Squats:
Experts suggest a correlation between weak gluteal muscles and a frail pelvic floor. This means that strengthening your glutes could enhance your pelvic floor muscles; here’s how Pelvic Floor Squats might help you.
- Stand with feet hip-width apart, toes slightly outward.
- Keeping feet grounded and back straight, bend your knees as low as comfortable.
- Engage the buttock and pelvic floor muscles, then return to standing.
Pelvic Bridge Exercise:
The Pelvic Bridge is also popular among the pelvic floor exercises for women and men. This exercise strengthens the pelvic floor and benefits the buttocks, legs, and core.
- Lie down, bend your knees with feet flat and hip-width apart.
- Engage the buttock and pelvic floor muscles.
- Lift your hips and lower back off the ground. Lower back slowly.
- Repeat up to ten times.
Pelvic Bladder Exercises – A Final Word
The significance of a strong pelvic floor is undeniable for both men and women. Regular exercises, particularly those outlined above, can be immensely beneficial. However, should challenges persist, seeking expert advice is essential. At Katelaris Urology, we’re committed to ensuring the health and strength of your pelvic floor. Your wellness is our priority.
- Bo, K. (2004). Pelvic floor muscle training is effective in treatment of female stress urinary incontinence, but how does it work? International Urogynecology Journal, 15(2), 76-84.
- Laycock, J., & Jerwood, D. (2001). Pelvic Floor Muscle Assessment: The PERFECT Scheme. Physiotherapy, 87(12), 631-642.