Exercise

5 barre exercises to improve your pelvic floor

Looking for exercises that can strengthen your pelvic floor? Just like any other muscle in the body, as we age, our pelvic floor often weakens. This can be caused by a number of reasons, including childbirth and even changes to hormone levels as we reach menopause. Chronic constipation and being overweight can also be a cause, as can simply getting older.

Our pelvic floor plays a key role in our bladder and bowel function, as well as for our sex life. A weak pelvic floor may mean loss of sensation during sex, leaking pee when laughing, running or sneezing, and not making it to the toilet in time. The good news is that there are numerous exercises you can perform to help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles.

We spoke to Nathalie Errandonea-Mewes, a classically trained former dancer, barre instructor and  founder of NRG barrebody,to share five simple exercises that can help to improve your pelvic floor.

5 barre exercises to improve your pelvic floor

Before we get into the moves, it’s important to understand exactly where we’re working.

“Think of your pelvic floor as a trampoline, a group of muscles that support three important organs: your bowel, your bladder and your uterus,” explains Nathalie. “It goes from the front to the back and from side to side. Our aim with these exercises is to make this ‘trampoline’ as strong and tight as possible.”

The tight trampoline

www.nadinebrandtphotography.com

  • Lie on your back and bend your knees, with your feet flat on the floor about hip-width apart
  • Keep your arms along the body with the palms of your hands facing down
  • Take a long inhale through your nose and relax your pelvic floor muscles
  • When exhaling, pull your pubic bone and tailbone together towards the middle (your vagina)
  • Then relax while inhaling again (relaxing is just as important as the squeeze, says Nathalie)
  • Repeat this exercise 50 times

The bridge

www.nadinebrandtphotography.com

  • Lie on your back and bend your knees, with your feet flat on the floor about hip-width apart
  • Keep your arms along the body with the palms of your hands facing down
  • Contract your glutes and pelvic floor muscles, and lift your hips several inches off the ground
  • Hold this position for 10 seconds
  • Relax your glutes and pelvic floor muscles, and lower your bottom to the ground
  • Repeat this 25 times

Toe taps

www.nadinebrandtphotography.com

  • Lie down on the floor with your knees bent and pelvis in a neutral position
  • Inhale into your rib cage, then exhale through your mouth, letting your ribs naturally compress
  • Draw your pelvic floor up and lock in your core
  • Slowly lift one leg up to a tabletop position
  • Slowly lower your leg to the starting position
  • Repeat the movement, alternating legs
  • You should not feel any pain in your lower back. It’s important that your core stays engaged throughout the entire exercise
  • Repeat this up to 50 times

Leg lifts on all fours

www.nadinebrandtphotography.com

  • Start on all fours, making sure to keep your wrists aligned under your shoulders, and your knees under your hips
  • Keep your head facing down so your spine is aligned
  • Tighten your abs, lower back, and pelvic floor muscles
  • Lift your right leg back until aligned with your back – do not raise your head
  • Hold this position for 10 seconds
  • Lower your leg back to the starting position while maintaining stability
  • Do the same thing with the left leg
  • Alternate and repeat 20 times on each side

Downward-facing dog

www.nadinebrandtphotography.com

  • Start on your hands and knees
  • Make sure your hands are positioned in a straight line, fingers slightly spread
  • Take a deep breath and while exhaling, lift your hips up, then shift your body weight back into your heels
  • You can move your feet further back, and/or further apart, but keep the hands in place
  • Relax your head and neck completely, letting them hang down freely
  • Your body should be like an inverted letter “V”
  • Breathe slowly and deeply

Ready to improve your pelvic floor? Nathalie is launching a 7-day core challenge from Monday 6th June 2022 on NRG at home. Workouts will help to strengthen your core, with a focus on your pelvic floor muscles. You’ll also be provided with top tips in the daily emails. Signing up to the platform costs just £4.50 a month for over 300+ workouts, and the pelvic floor challenge is £5 on top.

Read more articles like this

The best exercises to banish bingo wings