Mapping the Pelvic floor with exercises

Contracting the muscles from front to back

Lie down on your back.  Bend your knees, putting your feet flat on the ground in front of you.  Flatten your back.  In this position try to actively draw your coccyx and pubis toward each other .  Relax and repeat.  You are trying to feel a contraction along the median line of the perineum (central tendon).  Do not try to contract deep within the pelvis, nor should you look for a sensation of lifting.  Rather focus strictly on the back-to-front or front-to-back direction. The movement that you are trying to feel is just along the median line and close to the skin.  Try to avoid contacting the sphincters.  This exercise may give you a tingling sensation in your penis.

Contracting the muscles from side to side

Now try to make a muscular contraction as though you were actively drawing your two ischial tuberidities (seat bones) toward each other.  The line of contraction is very different form the previous exercise.  Here the muscles that are called upon run from side to side (the superficial transverse muscles).  Try to feel a line running only along that one direction, and no longer from the front to the back.  You can touch the area just inside the seat bone to feel the contraction.

Varying the type of contractions

When you have found the lines of contraction try to find them  one at a time using the following progressions:

  • A long contraction:  Hold the contraction for 7 secs and then let go and relax for twice as long.  Breathe deeply as you relax.  Repeat exercise 5X.
  • Strong, quick contractions: Now contract the muscles as strongly as you can.  Keep them contracted for no more than 2 secs.  Relax completely.

After contracting each muscle remember to relax it completely. This moment of relaxation is very important.  You need to be able to recognize the two muscular lines before the beginning of the next exercise.

Crossed contractions

You are still lying down.  Try to contract the two lines simultaneously.  This may give you a sensation of pulling together the two lines of a cross drawn across the base of your pelvic floor.  The contraction is “flat”, there is not “lifting”.

Follow the process described in step 3.

Coordinating the contraction with your breathing

During a long exhalation of about 15 secs, as though you are gently saying “SSSSSSSSS”, contract the muscles. 

Now do the same thing with the letter “FFFFFFFFF”, letting your breath come out a little faster, and then with the sound “HHHHHH”.  For the latter your breath will come out even faster.

Finally you can try doing these contractions while laughing, coughing, jumping or preparing to jump.

These exercises will allow you to coordinate muscular contractions of the superficial muscles of the pelvic floor with ordinary everyday breathing patterns. At the beginning you will do this while performing these exercises.  Then you will begin to notice that you do it automatically whenever necessary.

You could try to exercise regularly so as to maintain a level of tonus in these muscles which are not often utilized in our sedentary lives.

Always remember that after an intense contraction, always allow for a relaxation of equal length


The Female Pelvis, Anatomy and Exercises by Blandine Calais-Germain