Tips from the Pros

How to Do Abs Exercises without Damaging Your Pelvic Floor

Your pelvic floor continues to be a mysterious, and often little known topic. Learn all the secrets about this set of muscles so that you can do abs exercises without damaging your pelvic floor.

abdos et périnée 06

ABOUT THE PRO

This article was written and approved by trainer Émilie Fleck, a specialist in post-natal fitness. Here’s her approach to physical activity after childbirth and proper abs exercise technique.

BOTH MEN AND WOMEN HAVE A PELVIC FLOOR

The pelvic floor is a collection of muscles, membranes and ligaments whose job is to support your bladder, urethra, rectum and genitals, like the floor of a house. Despite often being seen as a mostly feminine subject, men also have a pelvic floor, which has the same functions. Like the floor of a house, its job is to support organs such as bladder, urethra and genitals. The pelvic floor also contracts the sphincters to help you control incontinence. The ways in which the pelvic floor can malfunction are about the same in both women and men.

abdos_et_périnée_01

Women are more likely to experience a prolapse of the organs because the hollowness of the vagina. However, men should still focus on working their transverse abdominis and avoid pushing down on these organs, because they can suffer from a hernia and incontinence over the long term. Physiotherapy may be useful after childbirth, even if your pelvic floor hasn’t been damaged, as well as in the elderly.

Don’t know how to feel your pelvic floor? You use it every day because it helps you hold your urine when you have to go to the bathroom. You also feel a slight tightening sensation between your hips that helps you stop the flow of urine when you’re on the toilet.

YOU CAN DO ABS EXERCISES WITHOUT DAMAGING YOUR PELVIC FLOOR AS LONG AS YOU’RE USING THE RIGHT TECHNIQUE

You can do abs exercises without damaging your pelvic floor as long as you’re doing them correctly! Using the right technique when doing abs exercises means that you should avoid pushing your muscles and organs downward, which happens when you bring your ribs and hips closer together, so that you don’t put pressure on the pelvic floor. Due to excessive pressure, you run the risk of organ prolapse and/or difficulty controlling your bladder and bowel function. When your pelvic floor is stretched too far, it’s not strong enough to withstand that pressure. You should be careful when you do regular crunches, making sure to lift your shoulders slightly off the ground without trying to bring your head to your knees. When you do the exercise, bring your chest upward, not forward.

abdos_et_périnée_02

It’s important to keep your back and neck straight and aligned, from the end of your tailbone to the top of your head. Your waist should stay stretched out during the entire exercise and you should feel like you’re sucking your stomach in. Your transverse abdominis should be pulled in and you should be pulling up your pelvic floor. During an abs exercise, your muscles should be engaged from the bottom to the top, i.e. vertically, not horizontally.

FOCUS ON STRETCHING YOUR SPINE INSTEAD

A good alternative is any spinal stretch such as core-strengthening and static exercises, as long as your ribs aren’t lifted and stay down. To do this, it’s important to focus on your breathing. To avoid damaging your pelvic floor, breathe through your nose to fill your chest with air, and not your stomach. Exhale through your mouth as if you were creating condensation on a window: retract your belly button and create a dip in your abdomen so that your pelvic floor and all your engaged muscles are actively being pulling upward. Keep the muscles under your ribs engaged.

abods_et_asthme_03

Focus on what you’re feeling, which is a significant way to know if you’re neglecting your pelvic floor or doing the exercise incorrectly. While doing the exercises, you should feel like you’re wearing a corset that stretches out your spine. Each part of your body is where it should be.

On an everyday basis, you should also be careful of downward movement, which stretches out your pelvic floor and causes organ prolapse. Never push down.

With the Six-Pack Add-on* included in the FizzUp PRO program, you can enjoy maximum variety with core-strengthening, dynamic and so-called traditional crunches. When you’re doing traditional crunches, make sure to breathe and to do the exercise correctly.

Doing abs exercises incorrectly can seriously damage your pelvic floor. Now you know the right way to do abs exercises without damaging your pelvic floor or your organs. Ready to use the perfect technique?

*FizzUp PRO feature

The Author

FizzUp Staff

FizzUp Staff

As passionate bloggers, the FizzUp Staff’s sole purpose is to motivate the community with insightful and fun articles. Team spirit is one of our core values, whether we’re at work or exercising together in the FizzUp Box.