Do a quick internet search for core exercise programs and you will need to sort through more than 222,000,000 results! Yet, most core exercises do not help the 13 million Americans, 20% of them athletes, with function-limiting weakness in one really important muscle group, the muscles of your pelvic floor. These muscles are the floor of your core. They holds the pelvic organs, like the bladder, intestines, and organs of reproduction in place so that they can function correctly. Pretty important muscles huh?
If the pelvic floor muscles are remembered, it is mostly in the doctor’s office, mainly by women after childbearing or in the elderly. The typically prescribed exercises for pelvic floor weakness is doing contractions of these muscles to make them stronger— exercises called Kegels.
Yet think about when the pelvic floor is not doing its job—when the core muscles are contracting during jumping, sneezing, coughing, running. When worked separately, the pelvic floor muscles do not “know” they are part of the core. So when the core muscles contract, the pelvic floor muscles don’t do their job too!
Integrating these muscles right into your core work is a key part to helping them function well and withstand strain, even as you age.
However, there are so many misconceptions about how and why to “work” the core. Stay tuned for the next blog and learn how simple it can be when we use the whole core in the way it was designed.
In the meantime, if you want to learn more, sign up for my FREE course called It’s Time to Re-define and clear away these and other common misconceptions that make exercise harder than it needs to be.
Illustration by Jenna Riedl ©2017 Janet Huehls