I know I read somewhere (thinking in an IDEA Pilates email) about a conference where they tested Pilates teachers on pelvic floor strength using a biofeedback machine. It turned out that alot of teachers missed the mark on contractions while doing a pelvic floor lift. Anyone know what I’m talking about?
This is a fascinating and important part of health and fitness that often gets ignored. I haven’t seen the article you’re referring to, but I’ve watched a great IDEA video from 2014 convention.
It talks about how while you can measure the number of muscle fibers that are firing during a pelvic floor contraction, the number of fibers firing isn’t the only consideration. We don’t need to be able to hold maximum contraction very often, we need to be able to sustain a sub-maximal contraction over periods of time and in a variety of positions. So, what her main thesis is that without over-thinking the pelvic floor, we can do other exercises in abduction and adduction which will co-activate the PCNS, and by doing that, we can improve PCNS function without “overthinking” about it.
My physical therapist (specializing in women’s health) has mixed feelings on the video’s approach. She agrees that the pelvic floor functions more in a sub-maximal state than in maximal, but that a female client should have a good maximal contraction around all three openings as the first step. I’ve had pelvic floor biofeedback and it was surprising. After having read, and attended lectures, and done yoga, I was certain that biofeedback would be a breeze. But getting the muscles around all of the openings to contract and lift is a very mindful exercise! 🙂 Biofeedback helps tremendously in making that connection.
I’m going to take a look through the articles that Jason linked, because I would love to learn more. It would benefit so many of my clients!!!