In weight training, the perineum is often forgotten. Many are even unable to say where it is or what it’s for.
We think you’ll want to incorporate these new exercises into your fitness routine after reading this article.
What’s the perineum?
The perineum is a set of muscles, which although invisible, is essential. It’s located in your lower abdomen, whether you’re a man or a woman! This set of muscles extends like a hammock from the pubis to the coccyx.
What does the pelvic floor muscles do?
The perineum supports the organs of the pelvis (bladder, uterus and rectum). It ensures the tightness of the sphincter muscles (useful for controlling urination) and contributes to sensations during sexual activity.
What happens if the perineum is weak?
If your perineum is too lax, it can no longer support the organs of the pelvis. You risk having:
- Incontinence issues
- Organ prolapse
- Vaginal prolapse (if you’re a woman)
What are the causes of a weak perineum?
A weak perineum can be the result of multiple factors. The most common include the following:
- Chronic constipation – a poor diet can lead to constipation problems (Improve your diet with the Nutricoach app)
- Regular coughing, as it causes abdominal pressure
- High impact sports (running, jumping rope, horseback riding, etc.)
- Incorrectly performed weight training and other exercises (positioning, breathing and/or weights that are too heavy for you), as they increase intra-abdominal pressure
Note: Following childbirth, perineal exercises should be monitored by healthcare professionals.
How to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles
The perineum, being a muscle, can most certainly be strengthened. First, you have to learn to feel it.
To do so, start by lying on the floor on your back. Bend your knees, and keep your feet on the ground. Relax and breathe in with your belly. At this moment, you should feel your vagina opening if you’re a woman, and your anus opening if you’re a man.
Next, try to contract your perineum. To do so, you’ll need to use the famous “muscle-brain” connection. If it’s difficult for you to feel this muscle, try contracting your anus and vagina. At this moment, you’ll have the feeling of something inside lifting upwards. This is your perineum.
The goal is to hold the contractions for a few seconds (3-5 seconds to begin with, then 10 and 15, etc.).
You can also use your perineum when you do plank exercises. Planks work the transverse muscle, which is in synergy with the muscles of the perineum. How to do a plank
Stomach vacuum exercises strengthen the deep abdominal muscles and, at the same time, the perineum, through breathing. Read this article to learn how to do a stomach vacuum.