What Is the Pelvic Floor & How to Engage It

The pelvic floor is one of those things we don’t think about until it becomes a problem. Yet, a strong pelvic floor is vital for good overall health as it promotes core strength, stability and alignment as well as prevents pelvic disorders. 

Like any other muscle in your body, the pelvic floor can be strengthened by exercise. 

In KX Pilates, a stronger pelvic floor is both a direct result of our focus on core strength, and an indirect result from principles like mindful breathing and progressive resistance training. 

In this article, we help you understand why a strong pelvic floor matters and how to activate your pelvic floor correctly.

What is the pelvic floor?

The pelvic floor is a set of muscles and ligaments that support a variety of crucial functions for both females and males. There are some differences due to the different reproductive systems.

In both females and males, the pelvic floor supports the bladder and bowel, provides lumbar-pelvic stability and forms an essential part of the core. 

For females, the pelvic floor also supports the uterus.


Why is the pelvic floor important?

The pelvic floor is crucial for stability and support. Because it is part of your core, activating your pelvic floor will enhance overall core strength and support, contributing to overall functional strength and reducing the risk of injury.

The pelvic floor also supports your pelvis and spine which improves stability and balance, and helps maintain proper alignment during movement. Through this, a strong pelvic floor reduces the risk of poor posture-related issues, such as back pain.

Additionally, when the pelvic floor is strong, it supports the pelvic organs and prevents pelvic floor disorders and problems like incontinence and prolapse of the bladder, bowel and uterus.


What weakens the pelvic floor?

Obesity and simply getting older can affect the strength of the pelvic floor. 

Women are also more at risk of pelvic floor issues due to pregnancy, childbirth and menopause. Pregnancy and childbirth stretch and weaken the muscles, while the hormonal changes of menopause can contribute to a loss of muscle tone and elasticity.

Circumstances that put repeated stress on the pelvic floor can also contribute to muscle fatigue and weakness, like repetitive high-impact activities and chronic health conditions like constipation and coughing.


Is pelvic floor strength equally important for men?

While the pelvic floor muscles may have different anatomical structures and functions between genders, pelvic floor weakness is a common issue that can affect individuals of all genders. 

Therefore, pelvic floor strength is equally important for men as it is for women and both can benefit from having strong and well-functioning pelvic floor muscles.


What can I do to engage and strengthen my pelvic floor?

The first step is to identify the correct muscles! Your pelvic floor muscles are the same muscles used to stop the flow of urine.

To activate your pelvic floor, keep your thighs and buttocks relaxed and focus on drawing the pelvic muscles upward and inward, as if you’re lifting them towards your belly button. Take your time and remember to keep breathing.

Pelvic floor exercises can be effective for both men and women in maintaining pelvic health. However, it can take time to experience improvements. To further focus on your pelvic health, try reformer Pilates like KX workouts where many exercises performed engage and strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. 


How do KX workouts help strengthen the pelvic floor?

KX workouts encourage activation of the pelvic floor through:

  • Engaging the core because the pelvic floor is an integral part of the core
  • An emphasis on proper control, alignment and posture, which indirectly activates the pelvic floor muscles to support the spine and maintain stability
  • Progressive resistance training because like other muscles in your body, the pelvic floor gets stronger as you gradually increase the challenge of exercises
  • Focusing on mindful breathing and coordinating breath with movement.


Top 5 KX Pilates pelvic floor muscle exercises

1. Hip Bridges 

In this exercise, lifting your hips off the carriage requires you to activate your pelvic floor and deep core muscles to maintain proper alignment and support the pelvis. The isometric or sustained contraction from holding the position helps strengthen your pelvic floor over time. Additionally, by targeting your glutes and hamstrings, you reduce strain on your pelvic floor.

2. Chest Lift

Also known as abdominal curls or crunches, this exercise builds core stability, contributing to overall pelvic floor function. As you curl the upper body up, you increase intra-abdominal pressure, loading your pelvic floor muscles to slowly strengthen them.

3. The Hundred

Similar to the chest lift, you are creating intra-abdominal pressure as you lift your head, shoulders and legs. But there’s more to this great deep core and pelvic floor exercise! As you hold the position, you’re maintaining that pressure and as you pulse your arms, you’re increasing it. This is like progressive resistance training for your pelvic floor muscles, gradually building strength.

4. Plank 

Again, the intra-abdominal pressure and isometric contraction of the plank helps strengthen your pelvic floor muscles but thanks to gravity, extra resistance is added in this position!

5. Leg circles 

In this exercise where you lift and move your legs, you have to stabilise your pelvis and activate your deep core, pelvic floor and hip muscles; this all contributes to strengthening your pelvic floor muscles.


Try KX Pilates today for only $12 a class

To start focussing on your pelvic floor muscles, join a KX Pilates class this week. As you regularly complete your KX workouts, you’ll start benefiting from increased pelvic floor and core strength, promoting stability, alignment and overall health. 

No matter if you are male or female, Beginner or Advanced, our KX Trainers are ready to guide you through a supportive and empowering workout.

To kickstart your progress, we have an introductory offer of 5 classes over 14 days for only $60 for you. This is valid at any of our 100+ KX Pilates studios Australia-wide! Redeem your offer with no lock-in contracts (T&Cs apply) and start experiencing the benefits of KX Pilates.

Share Article