Are pelvic floor muscles part of your core?

Understanding your body

The simple answer is yes.

Physiotherapists and fitness professionals often talk about “core muscles” but it may be unclear what these actually include. The core means the centre or main part of the body, and the term refers to the muscles and structures around the pelvis, lower abdomen and lower back.

The muscles that are included in this group include the abdominal (tummy) muscles, the lower spinal muscles, the gluteal (bottom) muscles and the muscles around the hip. They also include the pelvic floor muscles.

One way to think about it is that the core is a barrel shape, with the diaphragm at the top and the pelvic floor at the bottom.

It is important to think about the pelvic floor when you are undertaking core exercises or fitness programmes. It is worth doing your pelvic floor exercises as well as other core exercises, or even at the same time! You may want to perform a pelvic floor contraction before, and during, a core exercise such as a plank.

It is also extremely important to ensure that the pelvic floor is not under undue stress when performing other exercises. Check you are not straining or pushing down on your pelvic floor, or “gripping” on to it when doing a challenging exercise. Always make sure that you relax your pelvic floor muscles fully between exercises too.

Finally, do see a pelvic health physiotherapist if you have any concerns about your pelvic floor, or if you experience symptoms such as urinary leakage when you do any core exercises.

Send this to a friend