Core Strength and the Pelvic Floor
Do you have any of these complaints: weak legs, low libido, or incontinence? If “yes”, it’s a good time to explore the pelvic floor.
What is that? The pelvic floor is a hammock-shaped muscle that is the bottom of your core. The anus and genitals pass through it. This muscle is emphasized in natural birth methods (Kagel).
Ok, enough anatomy. What does the pelvic floor do? And, how does it feel when properly engaged?
First, the pelvic floor performs multiple jobs. It helps coordinate the upper body and lower body. Virtually every muscle group within the pelvic region is bound (directly or indirectly) to it with connective tissue. Move your legs, and the pelvic floor moves with them. Rotate your whole body, and the pelvic floor twists with you. Bend over, and the pelvic floor stabilizes you. A basic health principle is: use all of yourself. Because of its support position, using the pelvic floor is particularly important.
As usual, if you aren’t aware of a muscle group, it’s hard to imagine that it even exists. Some people even think the beltline is the core’s bottom. (It isn’t.) Fortunately, you can find the pelvic floor with visualization. In the following case, we’ll use a visual that isn’t true, but it evokes a useful response. Imagine that you are walking, and you have an imaginary horse between your legs. The horse lightly touches the inside of your legs, the pubic bones, and the tip of the tailbone. When you walk, the horse moves exactly in coordination with you. This horse is so soft that there’s no discomfort. Picture that the bottom of your torso remains in contact with the horse, and you feel the horse with every step. Sense the horse all the way down to your feet. When you do this, the pelvic floor moves and activates.
Let the pelvic floor stretch right-to-left and front-to-back as the horse moves. The genitals and the anus will lengthen and shorten with the horse’s movement. Let that happen. It should feel good as the tightness and tension give way to flexibility and core strength.
As the pelvic floor returns to awareness, your concept of the core will expand. Because of lower support, the entire core comes alive. Activities become possible that you couldn’t imagine before. Watch a Circ Du Soleil performer do near-impossible movements for guidance. They understand core movement, which requires the pelvic floor.
Spend time observing how you move with the pelvic floor. It’s well worth your time. As a secondary benefit, your friends will think you lost weight.