Should we ditch kegels and use squatting instead for pelvic floor rehab?
Yes and no is the simple answer. Do we squat much during our day for a start?
Well yes we actually do – every time we get up and down off the floor or a chair we are doing a ‘mini’ squat. And certainly you can squat in a way that helps restore function to the pelvic floor and also in a way that adds extra pressure and exacerbates the issues.
Thing is if you carry a lot of tightness or tension, if you have weak glutes or less than mobile ankles it will really affect the quality of your squat. But yes you do need to be able to perform a pelvic friendly squat regularly throughout the day so the key is to learn how to do an effective squat and that isn’t the deep squat that comes to mind when squats are mentioned.
It could be said that the whole of the 12 week pelvic floor course I run whether it be online or in person is a squat progression course – gradually lengthening muscles, reducing tension and building strength and mobility. Learning how to ‘lead with your bum’ in a sit and stand and how to alignn yourself so you reduce pressure on your pelvic floor in every part of your life leaving your pelvic floor to lengthen and release tension so it becomes more functionable.
It’s not just a case of crashing down in a squat and hoping for the best.
Squats can also be useful to assess what you need to work on – do your knees swing in towards each other, do you lose balance, do your feet flatten or turn in or do you end up on the sides of your feet? All signs of where you need to work on as well as what is preventing your pelvic floor from rehabilitating.
So no, you shouldn’t just resort to 20 squats a day to regain function in your pelvic floor pelvic floor function is regained from lengthening the pelvic floor muscles and learning to be able to release tension here. That happens to be similar to what you need to cover to be able to squat well – regain strength in your glutes, hamstrings and calves. Increase mobility in your hips and ankles and ensure correct alignment in your spine, pelvis and ribs.
If you are interested in a comprehensive pelvic floor restore programme do check out my online course which you can find here.
Rosie Dhoopun supports women through pregnancy and postpartum with exercise classes and birth preparation. She offers online and in person courses in East Suffolk