Thursday, May 9, 2013

Lift my what???

Want to improve you abdominal workouts??  Make your Pilates/Yoga classes more effective??  Then do what your doctor has been telling you…..practice your KEGELS!!!  Huh???  Kegel exercises work the muscle group called the pelvic floor…the pelvic floor is the muscles that support the bones of the spine and the structure of the abdominals.  In today’s society we are becoming more and more aware of kegels and why they are important during pregnancy but they are also important for everyday life!!! Balance, movement, flexibility and stability of the abdominals all stem from the pelvis, so why wouldn't you want to strengthen that area?  First we must understand what these muscles are and why they are so important……the best definition that I could find to explain the pelvic floor is “You can think of the pelvic floor muscles as a web of interrelated muscles, tendons and ligaments that form a supportive hammock at the base of the pelvis.”  These muscles are there to support everything in the “core”.  So by using these muscles while doing abdominal exercises digs deeper into those muscles by lifting also from the “bottom – up”.  Even when switching positions during yoga classes, lifting in the pelvic floor will help you move with more ease J  Ok, fair enough you say but how do I tell if I am using those muscles??  Practicing you kegels outside of your workouts will help, so then when you get into class you already know what feeling to expect.  If you take a lot of Pilates classes you will often hear the instructor say REPEATEDLY “now lift you pelvic floor” or “engage your pelvic floor” and I know at least 75% of you are thinking WTH is this crazy person talking about…..we want you to help support your spine more!!!  Ok so, lay down on your back (after you are done reading this entire thing LOL), do a couple of crunches, NOW lay still on your back, I like to imagine there is a mini elevator at the base of my pelvis and it needs to go up to my belly button so I must lift in my lower pelvis and pull it up, some people like to think about squeezing their sits bones together and up, there are many ways to imagine it, use what works best for you J  Do a few lifts, squeezes, whatever you decide works best to call it, now do those same crunches again, lifting the pelvic floor as you crunch up…..feel a difference?  Feel like you are using more muscles??  I bet you do!!!  Now try a few planks while lifting in the pelvic floor, for you yogi’s go into down dog, lift the pelvic floor while you step forward into a lunge….different??  These muscles are not just important while pregnant or as you get older they are SO important everyday!!!!  Please, please, please lift your pelvic floor everyday….do it while you brush your teeth, wash dishes, heck, I’m doing it as I type this blog LOL… yourself form incontinence and pelvic prolapse and flatten you tummy at the same time!!!!

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