While we often don't pay attention to the pelvic floor until something becomes a problem, the pelvic floor muscles are the foundation for your body's core. Pelvic floor muscles are a web of muscles, tendons and ligaments that both help stabilize the pelvis and support the organs of the lower abdominal cavity like the bladder and uterus.


Pelvic floor muscles, along with deep muscles along the spine, the transverse abdomens and diaphragm form the "inner unit" that is the focus for developing core strength in Pilates. This foundation, along with the flutes, is often called the "powerhouse."  


At Via Pilates we integrate pelvic floor work into many group classes through Pilates-based movements and Dr. Bruce Crawford's Pfilates program. Private pelvic floor exercise-focused appointments incorporating both mat and equipment techniques are available.

pilates bridge

Signs of a potential pelvic floor problem?

Pelvic floor problems often occur when the pelvic floor muscles are stretched, weakened or too tight. Weak pelvic floor muscles may occur from an early age or may become problematic after certain life stages such as pregnancy, childbirth or menopause.

  • Accidental leakage of urine during exercise, laughing, coughing or sneezing

  • Urgency to get to the toilet

  • Overactive bladder

  • Difficulty in emptying bladder or bowel

  • Pelvic floor prolapse

    • in women, sometimes felt as a bulge in the vagina or a feeling of heaviness, discomfort, pulling, dragging or dropping

    • in men, may be felt as a bulge in the rectum or a feeling of needing to use their bowels but not actually needing to go

  • Pelvic area pain

  • Painful sex

pelvic floor weakness graphic
What is PFilates?


According to board certified urogynecologist Dr. Bruce Crawford, bladder control is a fitness issue and deserves a fitness solution.


In 2008 Dr. Crawford began investigating a more practicable method of pelvic floor fitness training by studying over 100 yoga, Pilates and personal training movements. Through this research, he discovered a series of simple Pilates-based exercises that passively engage the pelvic floor. Dr. Crawford found that when a voluntary pelvic floor contraction (Kegel) is added to the Pfilates movement, both the slow twitch and fast twitch muscles of the pelvic floor are engaged, and much stronger pelvic floor contractions are achieved...from 20-400% stronger than an isolated Kegel exercise.


Clinical data from The Center for Pelvic Floor Medicine indicates that partaking in the Pfilates program can lead to an average improvement in bladder symptoms by 78% in as little as 4 weeks.

PFilates for the Pelvic Floor*

*The information contained herein is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Clients with serious medical conditions should always consult with their healthcare practitioners before beginning any Pilates or other exercise program. Always inform your instructor of any injuries or health conditions prior to any exercise session.

What affects pelvic floor strength?

Pelvic floor conditioning in both men and women can be affected by a number of things:

  • Not keeping pelvic floor muscles active or over working them 

  • Pregnancy regnant and having babies

  • A history of back pain

  • Ongoing constipation and straining to empty bowels

  • Being overweight or obese (BMI over 25)

  • Heavy lifting (e.g. at work or the gym)

  • Chronic coughing or sneezing, such as that due to asthma, smoking or hayfever

  • Prior injury to the pelvic region (e.g. a fall, surgery or pelvic radiotherapy)

  • Age


Pelvic floor muscles can be consciously controlled and trained so that pelvic floor muscles help to actively support the bladder and bowel. Like other muscles in the body, pelvic floor muscles become stronger with a regular exercise program. 

pfilates pelvic floor
skeleton pelvic floor