Top 10 Pelvic Floor Exercises

Pelvic floor physical therapy is finally having its moment. It is a trending topic on social media and, even better, women are talking about pelvic floor issues and dysfunctions amongst themselves and in their community.

That little trickle-down effect actually is a trickle-up effect and has led to changes even in Congress. We are finally normalizing discussions about our pelvic health, which are done without shame or embarrassment.

Instead, we are becoming a community and a strong community. However, I still find that many of the conversations are looking for these blanket statements.

Why Kegels May Not Be for Everyone

Have you ever heard of those things called Kegels? Kegels are often recommended for all pelvic floor dysfunctions. However, we can’t all have a one size fits all plan of care. Every body is unique and needs a unique solution. And though Kegels may work for you, they might not be the solution for the person sitting next to you.

While some people have full symptom relief with Kegels, others may not. And that is the time to seek other professional guidance. It is essential to listen to your body. If at any time you are experiencing pain during these exercises, pause, stop for a moment, and try those exercises again.

What to Do if Symptoms Persist

If those symptoms are repeated, and you are still in pain, immediately stop these exercises and put them aside. If you are also experiencing numbness, tingling, dizziness, headache, or feeling poorly overall, it is also time to stop these exercises.

This is not medical advice. This is professional guidance on performing pelvic floor exercises within your home to start your journey. If you do not find these exercises effective or fitting your needs, you can come to see me, and I will individualize your program to help you heal your pelvic floor.

Exercises to Improve Your Pelvic Floor

Whether you had a baby or not, you’re young, a teenager, perimenopausal, or postmenopause, you need exercises that are modified to fit your needs. And like many of us, time is of the essence. So I have developed a few exercises that can work for you regardless of your equipment or time constraints.

Today, I will share with you my top 10 favorite pelvic floor exercises encompassing various pelvic floor dysfunctions.

1. Diaphragmatic Breathing

The first exercise we will be doing is called diaphragmatic breathing. And the equipment you will need is a yoga mat and a yoga blanket or beach chair. The purpose of this exercise is to effectively activate the pelvic floor. And you might be asking, how do I do that? The pelvic floor is a set of slow twitch fibers. That means that they are your marathon muscles. These muscles are the first muscles to activate while you are doing your exercises.

So though we all love to feel and do things where we feel them, the pelvic floor is a little deceiving. We don’t actually feel the muscle moving; we feel its cocontractors. And this is why diaphragmatic breathing is an extremely important exercise to start the journey of pelvic floor strengthening. It is much easier than intended and more effective than Kegels as you can individualize to your needs based on how long your breaths are.

Who Does this Benefit?

If you are a person who has a tight pelvic floor, and that would include symptoms of pain with sex, hemorrhoids, back pain, or tailbone issues, you will want to breathe in for longer and out shorter. If you have incontinence, heaviness, or just starting your healing journey, breathe out longer with the word LAM per yogic chant that helps facilitate lifting of the pelvic floor and stabilizing within.

2. Progressive Pelvic Floor Strengthening

The purpose of this exercise is a progression of pelvic floor strengthening, and it allows you to recruit its cocontractors of the internal obliques. This is especially great for that slimming effect. Moms are busy, and when children are on the ground playing, you can get into this position to start your journey.

It’s a two-for-one deal for strengthening while spending quality time with your children.

3. Bridging

The purpose of bridging is to let our bodies get inverted. Organs want to move and are constantly pushed onto the pelvic floor. This is a great way to get those organs and the pelvic floor to stretch and create harmony in the pelvic floor.

Who Does this Benefit?

Anyone with bloating, pelvic dysfunctions, constipation, incontinence, sensory issues, and scars, specifically after a C-section. Tip for bridging. Do not clench your glutes, meaning don’t butt squeeze. These pelvic floor muscles are the initiators of movement. While doing this exercise, imagine your pelvis coming up symmetrically rather than a seesaw. So as you bridge, lift your hips equally and bring them down simultaneously.

4. Downward Dog

The purpose is to change the planes of movement. Our pelvises love to move in multiple directions, whether they rock back and forth, side to side, or in circular positions. Downward Dog allows us to move in all of these directions while massaging, stabilizing, and lengthening the pelvic floor in this weight-bearing position.

And weight bearing on hands and feet will strengthen the entire body. Efficiency in time is key to busy moms. These are the most effective ways to help your pelvic floor with long-term carry-over.

5. Side Sitting

This exercise aims to move our hips and give them length. We get stuck in patterns, and moving those hips is good to help alleviate symptoms of tightness, pain in your back and tailbone, pain with sex, and hemorrhoids.

Mobility through your hips passively alleviates pelvic dysfunctions such as tightness, back pain, tailbone pain, pain with sex, hemorrhoids and or fissures, and even perineal scarring.

6. Lunge with Rotation

Purpose. It is to challenge balance. As we said, pelvic floors are the initiators of movement and give rotation to the upper back while activating our pelvic floor.

Who Does this Benefit?

This is ideal for anyone who wants to stretch and strengthen that pelvic floor.

7. Squats Below the Knees

The purpose of this exercise it to bolster the operator internist and pir reformist, two muscles that help the pelvic floor. And while you do not need to know the names of these muscles, you should know what they do. Now let’s strengthen these muscles.

Who Does this Benefit?

This exercise is for anyone who wants to strengthen their pelvic floor. So if you are experiencing heaviness, incontinence, or general instability, this exercise is ideal.

8. Bird Dog

While we see everyone in gyms doing this exercise, I never really understood or felt the reason for this exercise until I addressed the pelvic floor. This is to help strengthen the entire abdominal cavity to help facilitate stability internally.

Who Does this Benefit?

This exercise was intended to benefit everyone, which is one reason why it’s performed in almost every gym class.

9. Standing Adduction Isometric

The purpose is to get the space between the tailbone and your low back. It is to alleviate pressure in the low back and the tailbone while we can stabilize the pelvic floor.

Who Does this Benefit?

Anyone experiencing low back pain, Si joint pain, tailbone pain, hemorrhoids, pressure, heaviness, or pain with sex.

10. Side Planks

This exercise aims to increase the isolation of the obliques and as a bonus to help the pelvic floor fire. It is also for us to achieve those mom summer bodies.

Who Does this Benefit?

Anyone who would like to tone and address their pelvic floor issues in their abdomen.


I am so happy you started your pelvic floor journey, and I cannot wait for you to share your stories and favorite exercises.