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The Pelvic Floor: Base Support & More

This set of muscles is key to integrated function.

Does the pelvic floor get the props it deserves? Many fitness professionals who specialize in women’s health think it warrants more respect and attention. Trista Zinn, founder of Hypopressives in Toronto, says the pelvic floor is “overlooked and misunderstood by many.” She adds, “Our quality of life and athletic performance literally rest on [the pelvic floor’s] synergistic ability to function with the core as a whole.”

Nuzzled at the base of the pelvic cavity, this “hammock” of ligaments and muscles attaches to the pubic bone, sit bones and tailbone (Core Concepts 2017). Pelvic-floor muscles support the bladder, uterus and bowels in women, and the bladder and bowels in men (Continence Foundation of Australia 2017). These muscles also support sexual function and overall function. In fact, the pelvic floor works three-dimensionally with the diaphragm, symmetrically or asymmetrically, depending on the task (Christie & Colosi 2009).

Here are some additional facts about this “muscular trampoline”:

  • A well-functioning pelvic floor assists in lumbo-pelvic stability (Markwell 2001).
  • The pelvic floor translates proprioceptive feedback and “feeds forward” from proximal segments of the body to distal segments (Kibler, Press & Sciascia 2006).
  • In 2010, an estimated 377,000 women underwent surgery to correct a bladder control problem or a pelvic-organ prolapse (Wu et al. 2011).
  • The pelvic-floor muscles are activated synergistically with other muscles during functional tasks; for example, during voluntary activation of the abdominals, gluteals, hip adductors, and shoulder flexion or extension muscles (Asavasopon et al. 2014).
  • In men, pelvic-floor disorder is one of the biggest causes of chronic prostatitis (Prostatitis.net 2017).

Pelvic Floor

Joy Keller

Joy Keller is executive editor of IDEA Fitness Journal and IDEA Fit Business Success, and is also a certified personal trainer, indoor cycling instructor and yoga teacher (RYT 200). She has been working as a business to business journalist for more than 25 years and specializes in custom communication and content strategy/ production.

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