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How to use the Pelvic Floor Muscles and the Gluteals

Posted Nov 09 2009 10:00pm

“Pelvic Floor Muscle.  People often ask me “Is it ok that I clench my gluteals when I engage my pelvic floor?”  Other than trying to cue them to release their glutes, is there anything you recommend to try to separate the two? (I have to admit that I, too, am a glute clencher….I can let them go once I’m engaged in my PFM but I always initially fire them with my PFM.)” Teacher

My favorite way to get people to understand their pelvic floor muscles (PFM) is using the physioball.

Lateral shifts on physioball

Lateral shifts on physioball

  • Have them sit on a physioball.
  • Moving the lower spine in flexion and extension, drawing a line from the pubic bone to the tailbone.
  • Now draw a line from both sitz bones.  This will cause a lateral shift.
  • Draw a circle from the pubic bone along the rames  to the sitz bone to the tailbone and then the other side.  Make circles clockwise and counterclockwise.
  • This get the client in touch with their pelvic floor bones.
  • As if you pelvic floor bones were a circle, narrow to a smaller circle. Practice that a few times.
  • Add with narrowing the pelvic floor bones, lifting the surface of the pelvic floor off of the ball.
  • You also could use a chair or sitting on a chair.

A great image from Marika Molnar, Physical Therapist for New York City Ballet,

“Pick a raisin up with your PFM.”

Remember the squeezing of the gluteals will tuck the pelvis.  With the pelvic floor lifts, the spine is in neutral.  Eventually you can take the pelvis in posterior tilt through engaging the PFM.  Using the gluteals is using the superficial muscles to engage.

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