Dr. Mandi Murtaugh Physical Therapy + Yoga

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How to Contract your Pelvic Floor

Pelvic Floor Contractions are a SUPER important exercise to have in your repertoire. (If you always thought they were called something else that starts with a K, read this post for clarification).

How to contract your pelvic floor:

Start in sitting, or any comfortable position. Gravity makes a difference, so you may feel it more in an upright position, or you might feel better lying on your back.

Draw your attention to the perineum, which is the triangle between your pubic bone in front and your sitbones in back (think bike seat). Sitbones are the bony part of your backside (think sitting on hard bleachers). Imagine pulling your sitbones together, or your tailbone toward your pubic bone. Now pull up and in. Keep your glutes, thighs, and belly relaxed. Release.

If those cues don’t connect, try these:

Squeeze as if you’re stopping the flow of urine (but don’t do it on the toilet! It’ll confuse your bladder!). Release.

Squeeze as if you’re holding back gas. Release.

Pretend you’re sitting on a kidney bean, then try to pull it into your vagina. Release.

Pretend there’s an elevator in your vagina. Bring the elevator up a few floors slowly, then lower back down. Release.

You’ll notice I’m reminding you to release after each contraction. That’s because some of us are basically squeezing ALL THE TIME which leads to other issues to discuss another day. Always let it go!

Other things to avoid: bearing down, pushing out, holding your breath, squeezing REALLY hard. Try it gently—less effort is definitely more. They are relatively small muscles!

Even with the best cues, many women still do PFC’s incorrectly. If you really want to know if you’re doing them right, see a Women’s Health PT. We test them in the clinic by observation of the perineum, and most often an internal exam. No speculum, no stirrups, just a finger inside the vagina. We test your strength, endurance, and coordination. Then we help you train them to be strong and coordinated. They are a group of muscles just like any other muscle, and we can train them just like any other muscle too. They can be too weak or too tight, just like any other muscle as well.

Did you try it? Think you’ve got it? Tell me which cues work best for you!