Fitness Exercise to Increase the Strength of the Pelvic Floor

Urinary incontinence is a common problem for females.  It is often seen as an issue for post-menopausal women.  This is because estrogen levels drop in menopause but young females who are underweight and not having a period also have decreased levels of estrogen.  If these underweight young women are also involved in high level sports (training over 8 hours a week), they also have a higher chance of developing stress urinary incontinence.

One of the first lines of defense against development of urinary incontinence at any age is exercises the pelvic floor muscles (Dumoulin 2010).  This can include a number of exercises - some which require the expertise of a physical therapist.

However, Dr. Crawford of the Center of Pelvic Floor Medicine found a number of exercises (by multichannel EMG) which activate the pelvic floor muscles passively.  One of these exercises is the Table Plank (Quadruped Plank with Knees lifted). A picture of this exercise is below.  Sometimes weight bearing through the wrists may be painful for individuals with arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome so the Table Plank as picture is done on the Hooked on Pilates MINIMAX.  In this modification the weight bearing is through the elbows and not causing strain in the wrists. However, the exercise can be done without the MINIMAX with the hands flat on a mat.

I am conducting a physical therapy seminar on Pilates for Pelvic Dysfunction, Osteoporosis and Peripartum in NYC April 16-17, 2016. Please see the link  Pilates instructors who are interested in attending the seminar, should contact Herman and Wallace and may also be allowed to register, depending on their experience and knowledge of anatomy.