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The pelvic floor – breath connection

Are you trying to remember to do your kegels but left wondering if it is even accomplishing anything?

You aren’t alone.

There is no one size fits all exercise! In the case of pelvic floor dysfunction, kegels are not the savior.  Pelvic floor issues can include tightness, weakness, pressure, heaviness, leakage, and pain. Kegels is isolation don’t create much change.

Humans move dynamically so in the case of retraining your pelvic floor it makes much more sense to train the connection and the timing of the muscles with activity.

The diaphragm and pelvic floor have a unique relationship that works in unison. This connection can help to retrain timing and coordination, to balance pressure, and to learn how to match the tension to the task. Sometimes it’s about learning to contract and sometimes it about learning to let go.

Scroll on down to get 6 self helps tips for how to return to impact sports. 


The Connected Breath

Breathing is powerfully impactful for the pelvic floor. It is also a profound tool for help with Diastasis Recti .

This video shows you how to connect your breath to the pelvic floor. Your pelvic floor muscles work automatically with the breath but this is one way to slow it down and test your Kegel contraction. Specific pelvic floor muscles are important when it comes to improving symptoms. Breathing is a simple place to start.

One key tip – think of your Kegel as “picking up a tissue.” It should be light and gentle not squeezing and gripping as if you were crumpling a tissue with your hand.



Breath holding

Are you a breath holder when you exercise? Some people know right away that they hold their breath. If this is you, then you may benefit from keeping the inhale and exhale flowing during exercise. However, breath holding may be a beneficial strategy with powerlifting so it’s  not always bad just need to look at it in the right context.

In fitness classes, we are told time and again to brace the abs and squeeze the glutes during exercise. Bracing the abs can make it harder to inhale and may increase tension in the pelvic floor. Tension in the pelvic floor changes the way the muscles act on impact and could contribute to incontinence.  To try a different strategy practice less bracing with your next HIIT workout. Keep breathing and keep the body light with movement. This may help to reduce tension in the  pelvic floor and change your symptoms.

One key tip-  match the tension to the task. You don’t need to create the same amount of tension for a load that is 50% of your 1RM as you do for the 1RM itself. For example, bracing to pick up a pencil may not be necessary, but bracing before deadlifting 150 pounds will be.

If you are a breath holder, try this 360 degree breathing exercise.

6 Self Help tips

This is a free self help cheat sheet for returning to impact sports. If you are tired of just doing keels and want better, more simple solutions, download now.



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