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Pilates & Pelvic Floor: Pilates Exercises to Help Your Pelvic Floor Function

Pilates & Pelvic Floor: Pilates Exercises to Help Your Pelvic Floor Function

Clinical Pilates stands out as the preferred exercise modality for both pregnancy and post-natal mothers. It’s low-impact and effectively engages pelvic stabilisers, enhances mobility for stiff backs and hips, and maintains strength as pelvic ligaments experience increased laxity. The clinical approach ensures that exercises are personalised based on the individual’s stage in pregnancy or postpartum, effectively minimising and managing conditions such as abdominal separation, round ligament pain, sciatica, and pelvic girdle pain commonly referred to as lightning crotch..

But did you know..

Opting for Clinical Pilates extends benefits beyond what you may realise for your Pelvic Floor Function. The Pelvic Floor muscles work in synergy with deep core stabilisers, the diaphragm, and the chest wall, and Pilates principles specifically target the efficiency and imbalances within these muscle relationships. Therefore, when executing Pilates exercises with a neutral pelvis and spine, correct breathing technique and adequate load, your pelvic floor will incidentally be getting a functional workout. This enables your pelvic floor to adapt to variations in intra-abdominal pressure and trunk muscle activity that naturally occur throughout the day.

Pelvic floor activation can be completed in isolation, (often referred to Kegel exercises) where you may complete a series of of contractions and relaxations to strengthen your pelvic floor, with the volume and frequency increasing as they become stronger. This is a great start, however, research indicates that individuals facing urinary incontinence can experience greater long-term effectiveness in maintaining urinary continence by engaging in just one Clinical Pilates session per week for a minimum of 8 weeks.

 What you can do to help your Pelvic Floor Function:  

  1. Practice activation of your pelvic floor at home. When doing so, you shouldn’t see or feel any movement in your hips or core, you should only feel your pelvic floor lifting and lowering.

  1. Practice lifting/squeezing your pelvic floor when you breath out and lowering/letting go of the pelvic floor contraction with your breath in. This is the optimum way for your pelvic floor to function and move with your diaphragm.

  1. Try and do a body scan every day, this may be through meditation which allows you to highlight any tension in your body (including pelvic floor) and ‘let go’.

  1. See a Women’s Health Physiotherapist at Kinematics to assess your current pelvic floor function. Some Women will have an overactive pelvic floor and completing ‘lifts/squeezes’ of your pelvic floor may make it worse! Therefore, having an assessment means that your program is tailored to your needs.

  1. Discuss your options regarding exercise with your Women’s Health Physiotherapist to ensure your current exercise regime is appropriate for you and your pelvic floor function.

5 Pilates Exercises to Help Your Pelvic Floor Function

Pelvic Floor with Diaphragmatic Breathing:

Take a big breath in and on the breath out gently contract your pelvic floor and as you breath in let it all go. Repeat.


  • Place 1 x red (heavy) spring on and hands in the small loops.
  • High kneel in neutral spine.
  • Draw belly button to spine and breath out as you pull.

Repeat 3 x 12.

Standing Splits for Adductors:

  • Place 1 x yellow (light spring on).
  • Neutral spine, avoid extending your lower back.
  • Begin by lengthening legs as you breathe in and abduct the hips into the splits as far as you feel you have control.
  • Breath out and you pull your legs back together.

Repeat 3 x 8-12 each side. 

Short Box Plank: 

  • Place 1 x yellow (light spring) on.
  • Elbows on the box set up short ways and knees under your hips.
  • Tuck ribs down, breathe in and draw belly button to spine.
  • Breathe out and extend knees away from your body.

Repeat 3 x 8-15.

Pallof Press: 

  • Place 1 x blue (medium spring) on.
  • High kneeling on the reformer, in neutral spine.
  • Hold small loop, breathe in and bring belly button to spine.
  • Breathe out as you push arms straight forward while avoiding any rotation and the trunk.

Repeat 3- 8-12 each side. 


At Kinematics, we offer both hands-on treatments, one-on-one and small group Clinical Pilates classes. The combination of these services ensures you receive optimal support for your pregnancy, pelvic health, and beyond!

 Whether you’re embarking on your pelvic health journey or seeking help navigating your body through pregnancy, you can book an appointment online here or give us a call on us on 9421 3661.

By Sophie Barker

Senior Physiotherapist, Clinical Pilates + Women’s Health