Class #4800

Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor

30 min - Class
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In this class, Wendy Foster focuses on strengthening your pelvic floor, core, and inner thighs. This small, but mighty Overball allows for creative ways to work your muscles more deeply. Wendy gives you clear cues and amazing tips to make each movement safe and effective. Pelvic floor exercises are important to maintain during your pregnancy; however, this is also a great Postnatal class and beyond.
What You'll Need: Mat, Overball

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Hi, I'm Wendy. And I'm here with Anne today, and we are gonna show you some exercises that you can do during your pregnancy using the Pilates Ball. So you're going to want to have a nine to 10-inch inflatable Pilates Ball that we will use inflated. And then we'll also show you some exercises with a deflated ball that you can use during your pregnancy. And it's great to have a deflated ball for any time that you might be even sitting at your desk for an extended period of time, driving in a car.

It can really help get your baby in their optimal fetal position, which can help with labor and birth. So having a deflated ball and just placing it under your sacrum a little bit can really help give your hips a little bit of a lift and help also you move a little bit more throughout some of the seated exercises. So we're gonna start with a deflated ball and you'll just come to a seated position. You'll place the ball underneath your sitz bones, and it's pretty deflated, it's almost all the way deflated. All you want is just an inch or two, and you can see how when it's underneath your sacrum, it just kind of helps to again, lift your hips up a little bit higher.

It tilts your pelvis, gets it in the right position so that your baby has a little bit more space in there to move around and to birth. So the first exercise we're gonna do is just the little pelvic curls. So you're going to want to take a little curl as you exhale and just move your pelvis as you roll back a little bit and then inhale, come back up. (Anne inhaling) Perfect. So just starting to really move that tailbone towards your pubic bone as you curl, and then inhale, just reverse the moves.

Great job. Doing a few of those, remember to draw that belly in like you're giving your baby a nice big hug with each exhale. And thinking about really starting that curl right from your tailbone and not so much rounding through the upper back. You wanna stay open through your chest as much as possible and really focus on that low back as you exhale, sliding the shoulders down, beautiful. And inhale.

A couple more. You can do this again sitting at your desk. If you're working throughout the day, coming to a red light, if you're driving and you have it underneath your sitz bones as you're driving. Inhaling up, last one, exhale, pelvic curl, beautiful and inhale up. So we're gonna do the same thing, but we're going to do it with a little bit of a hinge now.

So keeping that spine nice and straight, keeping the ears in line with the shoulders, the shoulders in line with the ribs, and the ribs in line with the hips, so you're not over-arching in that low back. You're just gonna stay nice and hinged and just inhale, hinging back and then exhale, draw that belly in, and come forward, gorgeous. Inhaling back, you can have your hands behind your knees, exhale up. And I like to bring my gaze up towards the ceiling and then straight ahead at the wall. So keeping my eyes a little bit lifted can help you just stay lifted in general and stay open through the sternum, beautiful.

Couple more. Inhaling backstaying long, but sliding those shoulders down and exhale, wrapping that baby with that breath as you come back up. Last one. And exhale, gorgeous. All right, so now we're going to take our inflated ball and we're going to go over to the wall and do some standing exercises.

So for this part of the routine, you're going to wanna take your inflated ball and place it behind your sacrum. So we'll put it right here on Anne, where you can see, and you'll just take the ball and lean up against the wall with the ball right at your sacrum or a little bit at the lower tail end of your sacrum, yep. Bend your knees gently and bring your feet out a little bit from the wall and just do a couple of hip circles, moving through your sacrum, through your pelvis. It's a great exercise again, to release tension through the hips, through the low back, and just get that mobility through the pelvis. See if you can go in the opposite direction, so clockwise and then counterclockwise.

You can move your rib cage. You can breathe into your joints and just get some motion, especially if you've been sitting all day, this can help take some of that decompression out of your spine as well. All right, and then you'll take the ball and you'll place it right below your bra strap or your shoulder blades and lean into it against the wall, yep. Same thing, you'll wanna bring your feet out in front of you, pressing through your feet nice and evenly, and just softening through the knees. We're just gonna do some arm circles.

So just standing there gently, you'll just inhale. Reach your arms up (Anne inhaling) and exhale, bring your arms down. (Anne exhaling) Yeah, good. So inhale, reaching up and exhale down. (Anne exhaling) Yeah, so inhale, open through the chest palms, face forward and exhale, pressing your arms down like you're moving your arms through honey.

(Anne exhaling) Open through that chest, get that sternum lifted. Last one, inhaling, lifting, staying lifted as you exhale, press through and then we'll reverse the directions. Inhale, reach those arms up. (Anne inhaling) Palms face out, exhale, (Anne exhaling) press down, beautiful. You can have your knees a little bit bent or straight if that feels okay for you.

We'll go into some squats in just a minute. (Anne exhaling) Yes. Getting that motion through the shoulder girdle, opening through the chest. Last one, inhale, reaching the arms up (Anne inhaling) and bringing your arms down. (Anne exhaling) Good, go ahead and straighten your legs if you had them bent, yep.

And here, you're gonna bring your arms out in front, yep. And we're gonna do some little scissor arms, so just stay standing. Inhale, reach one arm down as the other arm goes up (Anne inhaling) and try not to shift or twist, exhale, use that core and pelvic floor and come right back to center. Beautiful. Other side, inhale, reach up, but slide that shoulder down and then exhale. (Anne inhaling)

Pull that belly in and meet right at center. (Anne exhaling) One more time, each side reach through those fingertips and exhale (exhales) lifting up. Last one on this side. (Anne inhaling) And exhale. And then you can add a little squat.

So as you inhale, bend those knees, reach one arm up and then exhale, come back to center, beautiful. Inhale, other arm reaches up and your tail is gonna go straight to the floor. So you're not gonna stick that tail out and arch your back, but you're gonna press through your heels and bring your tail straight to the floor. Gorgeous. Inhale, lifting without twisting (Anne inhaling) and exhale. (Anne exhaling)

(Anne inhaling and exhaling) Last one, each side, reaching to the fingertips, sliding the shoulder down (Anne exhaling) (Anne inhaling and exhaling) And exhale, great job. So staying right here, you'll bring your arms right back up, pull your shoulders back, and again, press through the feet ... You're just gonna bring one arm out to the side as you inhale, yup, and exhale, use those obliques. (exhales) Draw the belly in to pull that arm back, (Anne inhaling) inhale, other side reaching out and exhale, pulling everything through the center. (Anne exhaling) Inhale, lift and open through the chest (Anne inhaling) and exhale. (Anne exhaling)

And one more time on this side and then we'll add those squats and again, or you can just stay standing, it's up to you. So inhale, open the arm out as you bend those knees and press through the feet and exhale back in. (Anne exhaling) Yup. (Anne inhaling) So the ball is like a nice little massage (Anne exhaling) along your spine, (Anne inhaling) it can help with that rib cage alignment. (Anne exhaling) It can help if you're having some shoulder issues.

(Anne inhaling) And it also gives you a little bit support when you're leaning up against the wall, doing some standing work. (Anne exhaling) Inhale as you reach out (Anne inhaling) and exhale back. (Anne exhaling) And one more time on the right inhale, (Anne inhaling) reach and arms come back. (Anne exhaling) Arms come down, great job at the wall and we'll meet you back on the mat. All right, so now you wanna take your ball and you're gonna come down onto your side and we'll do some sideline work.

So remember, when you're coming down onto your side during pregnancy, you wanna do that log roll. Instead of using your core to come down, you wanna use your upper body and walk your hands forward, coming down to your side. Or if you have to come to your back, then you would roll over to your back. So here, we're gonna extend our legs nice and long, and we'll take the ball, and you just wanna put it right in between your, just above your ankles, yep. And you can point your toes and sort of relax your legs a little bit and your feet.

And remember when you're in a sideline position, you wanna still maintain that ideal alignment, which can be challenging, especially during pregnancy, when you have that belly pulling you forward. So feel free to use that arm to really support yourself. You're gonna lengthen that top leg away from your ribs, yep. And all you're gonna do here before we do anything with the legs is just take that post-tenure lateral ribcage breath, so inhaling into the sides of the backs of the ribs and just exhale, draw that belly towards your spine, focusing on the obliques, those waist muscles, and focusing on just sliding your shoulder down, finding some ease. And you can feel that just by line here on your side and engaging your core, you can really feel those waist muscles start to engage.

Great job. So now you're gonna start to inhale, and this time as you exhale, take that top leg and just sort of squeeze it into the ball a little bit and that'll make those core muscles fire a little bit deeper and also start to activate the leg. So inhale lengthening, and exhale. Just squeeze that ball. (exhales) Yep, and you can feel your pelvic floor, think of zipping up through your pelvic floor, through the legs, all the way up into your core. (Anne exhaling) And if you're in your first trimester, you can inhale (inhales) and see if you can exhale.

And maybe you can just lift your legs up just a little bit off of the mat, (Anne exhales) if that feels okay for you and then lower your legs down. So it just a little micro-lift. It doesn't have to be a huge lift. (Anne exhaling) But if you're in your second or third trimester, you're gonna wanna keep your legs down like Anne and just continue to squeeze that ball with our inner thighs or pelvic floor in our core to make sure that she doesn't belch her belly out. (Anne exhales) Great job.

Last one, inhale lengthening, and exhale. (Anne exhaling) All right, and then we're gonna come up and go over to the other side. So we'll have your legs this way. Coming down onto your side with the log roll straightening the legs. Remember, really think of lengthening that top leg away from the rib cage, placing the ball just above the ankles and pointing the toes, finding that alignment, sliding the shoulder down, inhale lengthening, and exhale, just engage the abdominals, engage the pelvic floor, and draw that belly towards your spine, beautiful.

Inhale lengthening out through the toes, out through the crown of the head. Exhale, working the obliques on this side. (Anne exhaling) And oftentimes you might find that you're stronger on one side than the other with your obliques. And if that's the case, you can just do a few extra breaths, a couple extra reps on one side that might be a little bit weaker. And now you're gonna start to exhale.

Squeeze that ball with the inner thighs using your pelvic floor, engaging with the obliques, inhale lengthening. And exhale, sliding the shoulder down, reaching through the toes, beautiful. It can be hard just to stabilize in this position too. So you wanna make sure your legs are just a little bit in front of your hips, not straight out from your hips, gorgeous. A few more, inhale.

Remember if you want, you can exhale and squeeze and lift your legs up just a few inches if you're in your first trimester. If you try that exercise and you notice that your abdominals are bulging out or there's any kind of coning through your core, you're gonna wanna keep your legs on the mat. (Anne exhaling) Two more breaths, inhale, keep lengthening and stay long and then engage the core, the pelvic floor. (Anne exhaling) Beautiful. Last one, inhaling into the back (Anne inhaling) and exhale.

(Anne exhaling) Gorgeous, great job. So now we're gonna roll over onto our back and you'll take that ball. You'll have your knees bent with your feet flat on the floor, and you're gonna take the ball and put it underneath your feet. So lift one foot up and then the other. And find that position, first of all, just do a couple little pelvic curls so you can find that neutral pelvis.

Remember where you're not too arched and you're not too tucked, where you have a tiny space in between your low back and the mat, and ideally your shoulders and the back of your ribs and bra strap are on the mat nice and wide. Once you find that neutral pelvis, you'll just hold it there, reach your arms down long, press through your fingers, even your pinky fingers, and you're gonna inhale lengthen here. All you're gonna do is exhale. Engage that core and just present to the ball with your feet, really activating the backs of the legs. Yep, inhaling then (Anne exhaling) exhale, wrapping everything up, creating that, intercourse it with your exhale (Anne exhaling) and inhale.

(Anne inhaling) And you wanna make sure that when you're breathing, everything's engaging, but that there's no constriction and there's no shortening anywhere, right? So the hips stay nice and long. You're just pressing into the ball with the whole foot. Really activates the backs of the thighs. Last one.

(Anne inhaling and exhaling) And then here, you're gonna stay nice and long as you inhale and see if you can just exhale. Press in with your right foot and just bring your left knee up to a tabletop position. (Anne inhaling) So sort of a little march, yep. And then inhale, tap it down. Yep, same side, keep going, so you're gonna exhale.

Use that core in that pelvic floor to pull the leg up, beautiful. Inhale, tap. (Anne inhaling) And you wanna bring that knee right up to a 90 degree angle, (Anne exhaling) so you can stay in that ideal alignment and tap. (Anne exhaling) And exhale, recruiting the pelvic floor, right to there, perfect. Loving the pointed toes.

Helps take some tension out of the leg. Last one. And you're pressing in with that right leg as the left leg lifts. And we're gonna switch to the other side. So pressing with that left foot and exhale (Anne exhaling) without wobbling through the hips, yep.

And tap it down. Imagine those hips are just bolted down to the floor or there's a big seatbelt right over those hips so you're not gonna rock and roll around or switch your weight from one side to the other. (Anne exhaling) Gorgeous, nice. Nice and wide through the shoulders and remembering to really recruit that pelvic floor and lift up as the leg lifts up. (Anne exhaling) Two more.

(Anne inhaling) (Anne exhaling) And then you're gonna go ahead, bring that leg down, keeping your feet on the ball, same thing, keep those hips bolted down. You're just gonna do a little clamp. So you're just gonna inhale, bring that right knee out to the side (Anne inhaling) and then exhale. Draw the belly in, recruit that pelvic floor, squeeze the other leg, and then see if you can do the other side. So alternating sides, if that feels okay for you, your sacrum is flat on the mat so you're not gonna arch your back or shift your alignment.

Inhale. Yup. Pelvic floor, core, inner thighs squeeze together at the end, other side. (Anne exhaling) You can also do just six or eight on one side and then switch to the other side. You don't have to alternate.

It's a little bit more challenging to alternate in between each move. (Anne inhaling and exhaling) Beautiful, nice job. Inhale other side, shoulders look gorgeous. Ribs are down. Up, one more time.

This side. (Anne inhaling and exhaling) And the last one, inhale and as you open, but just enough so you can still stay in that ideal alignment and exhale back. (Anne exhaling) Good, so you're gonna kind of shake your legs out a little bit. Okay, so this is a little bit more of a core exercise here, even though we've been doing a lot of leg work. And it's just a leg slide.

So the goal here is to keep your shoulders and ribs on the mat, no arching, no flaring. Inhale lengthening, exhale, draw that belly in, and gently roll that ball out in front of you. (both exhaling) See if you can flex your feet and then exhale, pull the ball back in. (Anne exhaling) Good, so inhale nice and long. Exhale, use that core to push out.

(Anne exhaling) Inhale, flex your feet, reach through the heels, and then exhale, use that core to pull the ball back in. So think of drawing your pubic bone towards your ribs and your ribs towards your pubic bone and stay nice and strong in the core. (Anne inhaling) No wrinkles in the shirt, so no compression. Flexing the feet, (Anne exhaling) exhale, pulling back. One more (Anne inhaling) (Anne exhaling) Gorgeous, flex your feet, reach through the backs of the legs out through the heel, and exhale, pull it in. (Anne exhaling)

Fabulous. All right, go ahead and take your feet off the ball. We're going to come to a bridge position. You'll take the ball and place it in between your inner thighs and get ready for some bridging. And you want the ball right at the meet of your inner thighs, remember not at your knees.

And this really helps with alignment. It helps recruit those inner thighs, which can really help with your pelvic floor balance. So we're going to start here just with a couple little pelvic curls. So as you exhale, imagine rolling that imaginary marble from your pubic bone up towards your ribs and then inhale, rolling it back. So getting more movement through that pelvis, through that lumbar spine.

Good, and then if it feels comfortable for you, you're gonna take that pelvic curl and travel all the way up through your spine, engaging your core and coming up to a bridge or a modified bridge, whatever feels comfortable for you, pressing through the fingertips, keeping your shoulders down and then exhale, travel back through. So again, reversing the moves as you come all the way back to a neutral pelvis. (Anne inhaling) Beautiful. A couple more of those. So maintaining that spinal mobility can really help during pregnancy, help prevent any upper back pain or lower back pain.

And the ball, you're not really squeezing it. It's just there to remind you to press through the insides of your ankles and the insides of your inner thighs, yup. And then exhale, roll on down. (Anne exhaling) Last one like this. Exhale curl up, (Anne exhaling) Beautiful, inhale at the top nice and wide through the shoulders and exhale, roll on down.

We're going to add the arms, so you're going to exhale bridge on up, (Anne exhaling) roll through the spine. Inhale, reach your arms back behind you if that feels okay. Stay there. Exhale, roll on down. (Anne exhaling) Inhale, bring the arms back down towards your sides.

(Anne inhaling) Good, and again, exhale, tuck, curl, and bridge up soft through the sternum. Inhale, float those arms back behind you. But your shoulder blades draw down, exhale, roll through the spine. (Anne exhaling) Beautiful. And float the arms back.

One more just like that. You've got this. Keep pressing through those ankles, pressing through the heels, reaching out through the knees, inhale, reach your arms long, stay long through the spine. Exhale, roll on down, (Anne exhaling) keep reaching and then bring your arms all the way back down. Pressing through the arms here, bring a little bit more energy through the heels.

And instead of rolling through the spine, you're just gonna do these little booty lifts. So you're just gonna exhale, lift your hips straight up, and then inhale deep down. And exhale, press up (exhales) and inhale deep. So you're working right where that gluteal fold is, right where your booty is, again, working the backs of the legs, pressing through the arms without that articulation, but staying neutral and still recruiting the core. (both inhaling and exhaling) Good, nice and easy through the joints.

Three more. (Anne inhaling and exhaling) Two and one. Fabulous. All right, now we're gonna come over off to our side and come up to a seated position, and we're gonna do some spine stretch using the small ball. So you'll sit with your legs open, gorgeous.

And I like to start with my knees a little bit bent, especially during pregnancy. It can really help get a little bit more mobility through the spine. If your hamstrings are tight and your legs are straight, it can really put you out of alignment and you won't get as much of a stretch or as much movement through the spine. So we'll place the ball right about by the knees and your hands will be on the ball. You wanna keep your arms straight.

Inhale sitting up nice and tall. And as you exhale, you're just going to do the spine stretch where you come forward, look down at the ball, and reach your arms away so the ball rolls up onto your hands, onto your wrists. And then exhale, curl and come back, beautiful. (Anne exhaling) Great, so inhale sitting tall, exhale as you roll forward, it's not a big rounding through the low back. It's more about really getting into that upper back, creating some space in between the shoulder blades and exhale coming right back up to that neutral position.

Couple more. (Anne exhaling) Great job keeping those knees bent. Reaching forward. Shoulders draw down. Last one, going straight forward, reach out through the fingertips, beautiful.

And then exhale, come right back up. So now we're just gonna take the ball over to the left side. Basically do the same thing, but we wanna try and open up the right sides of the ribs. So you're gonna exhale, travel through the spine as you drop your chin, reach through the fingertips and keep that right booty and that right heel on the mat. Don't lift up and then come all the way back up.

Yeah, so inhale. Keep it on that left side. Exhale as you reach, really opening up through the sides of the right side of the rib cage and then exhale, come back up, yep. One more, same side. So exhale as you reach, (Anne exhaling) keeping the shoulders drawing down towards the ribs, inhale and then exhale, come back up and then we'll go over to the right side and open up the left side of the ribs.

So inhale, starting nice and tall. Great job. Exhale, (Anne exhaling) reaching through the fingertips, especially that left hand. And then slowly coming back up, get into the left side of the ribs, stretching out those intercostal muscles that sometimes can get really tight especially during that last trimester, the last few weeks and months of pregnancy. (Anne exhaling) And again, exhale reaching, keeping that left leg and left heel down.

And up, one more. (Anne exhaling) Great job. Reaching through the fingertips and slowly coming up, nice. All right, so go ahead here. And we're going to come to a kneeling position now.

You might wanna put a towel underneath your knees or roll up your yoga mat a little bit more, so it's a little more padded. And we're just gonna start with the ball in between our inner thighs. So again, you want it up right about halfway up in between your thighs there, yep. And when you're in a kneeling position, same thing. You wanna check that alignment.

So you don't wanna be too tap, but you don't want your ribs to be too forward. So bringing your ribs back just a little bit, beautiful, yep. Relaxing the glutes. You can put one hand on your chest and one hand on your belly, yep. And all you're gonna do here is we're just gonna inhale as you bring your booty down towards your heels and then just exhale straight up.

(Wendy exhaling) Yep. So inhale as you deep back towards your heels, you're staying in a nice straight line and then exhale, come right back up. Try not to arch that back. You just wanna keep it just as beautiful as it is without changing the alignment. (inhales) You'll feel this a little bit in your thighs. You wanna squeeze that ball with your pelvic floor and your core.

(Anne inhaling) Just a couple more. These can be kind of a thigh burner depending on if you've stretched out or not yet today. Great, one more after this. Exhale, really lift up. (Anne exhaling) Last one.

(Anne inhaling) And exhale. (Anne exhaling) Whew, great job. We'll go ahead and take that ball, put it in your hands. And when you're holding the ball in your hands, you wanna hold it underneath a little bit, so that the insides of the elbows go up towards the ceiling, yep. And you wanna give a little bit of pressure so you're squeezing that ball just a little bit.

And we're just gonna do some bicep curls here. So focusing on the biceps, all you're gonna do is squeeze that ball just a little bit and then exhale. Keep squeezing it as you bring it in and draw that belly in, yep. And inhale straighten. And exhale, (exhales) lifting up through the pelvic floor, yep.

Focusing on those biceps, inhale, (Anne inhaling) exhale. (Anne exhaling) Beautiful. If you have a second ball or if you have a pillow, you might put that in between your inner thighs, again, just to help kind of zip everything up and give you a little bit more stability. Squeezing that ball at the bottom really helps. Last one.

And down, great job. Go ahead and take this. So now we're gonna come down to hands and knees for a modified push-up position. And we'll place the ball in between our inner thighs. So come to the soft part of your thighs, the soft part of your knees, you'll place the ball in between your inner thighs and your feet will be up towards the ceiling and you'll come down to a modified pushup position.

So just hold this position first. Again, slide those shoulders down, yep. A modified position means you're just gonna inhale, bend those elbows just slightly. You don't have to come all the way down, just inhale, try and bring them back, beautiful. Exhale, draw that belly in (exhales) and come up, gorgeous.

So it's just a micro pushup. You don't have to come all the way down. I'd rather have you keep your alignment, than come further and pinch your shoulder blades together, and compromise your form, all right? So use that ball to remind you to engage your core, to really center. Three more, inhaling down, exhaling up. (exhales) Two, (Anne exhaling) and one.

And then you'll come back to a child's pose. Take that ball out, put it underneath your forehead, yup. Open those knees up a little bit wider, taking a few extra breaths to relax and release. And you can take this time to connect with your baby through your breath. Just a slight pause in your day.

And you can stay here for as long as you'd like or you can come on out. (Anne exhaling) Great job today, mamas.

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Comments

2 people like this.
This is an important class because there's so much more to pelvic floor tone than Kegels and just pinching off imaginary pee.  There are some great additions to the classics like push up and hip hinge that are great for bringing additional support into multi-muscle moves like push up.
2 people like this.
I liked all the exercises but I could understand if I was strengthening my pelvic floor by doing them or if I was supposed to do some additional contraction every time Wendy said, "Recruit that pelvic floor."  Was I supposed to, like, add a Kegel every time she said that or was I already using my pelvic floor by squeezing the overball and activating my obliques?  Pelvic floor "activation" is hard to feel so it would be good to trust we are "pulling it together" when doing the more obvious gross motor in this class.
1 person likes this.
Wendy, I thoroughly enjoyed doing this class, and will use it for my beginners students and several woman with pelvic floor issues. I think this is a lovely class for anyone who needs to reconnect, pace themselves, and experience a nice, moderate level class. Thank you for the awesome lesson.
Thank you Julie! I'm so glad you like the class. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions moving forward:) Wendy
Allison- great question! Yes think of doing a kegel but by lifting UP instead of bearing DOWN. It's subtle. Just by doing this routine, changing the position of your legs, feet you are turning on your PF. The added focus & time of ensuring the PF is firing before you move to the gross motor is an added benefit. Thanks!
I will certainly use these moves for pelvic floor strengthening.  Thank you

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