How to Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor-

Although pelvic floor weakness is a common ailment among women, it often remains undiagnosed and untreated. Since many remain too confused or too embarrassed to discuss this issue with their doctor, the frustrating symptoms surrounding pelvic floor dysfunction may remain shrouded in mystery.

Earlier in this series, Elizabeth discussed her history of pelvic floor weakness and reviewed the kGoal. Today we’ll explore another system for strengthening the pelvic floor.

Roll for Control ® by Phoenix Core

My client was suffering from issues stemming from pelvic floor weakness and found great results through with Roll For Control®. The program was developed by Janet Hulme MA, PT as part of a series developed specifically to relieve back pain as well as to improve balance, bladder control, and bowel health.

Hulme, whose work has had a major impact in the fields of incontinence and women’s health, has been a practicing physical therapist, professor, researcher and author for over 30 years. Her research has focused on chronic pain, bowel and bladder health, childbirth education, bio-feedback, women’s health clinics, and even entrepreneurship.  

The organization Phoenix Core Solutions has developed varying core-centric programs such as:

Mature Woman: Prolapse, Balance, & Aging

Men: Bladder, Bowel, & Sexual Dysfunction

Gastrointestinal & Bowel Dysfunction

The Roll For Control® kit is one of PCS’s Personal Care Kits and costs $39. It includes the Roll for Control Exercise DVD and booklet, Beyond Kegel™ ball, a band and a clip to secure the band. Since I borrowed the kit from my client, I also had access to the Wonder W’edge.™  The Wonder W’edge™ can be utilized with these exercises but is not included in this kit. It can be purchased separately for $31.95.

Although I was skeptical about the proposition that this pre-packaged kit would have the answers to a set of problems plaguing so many people, I started in on the booklet and video, and was happy to find the reading material is presented in a clear and precise way. This ensures that an individual with no previous knowledge of anatomy or exercise science can follow along.

Additionally, the DVD is very methodical. Not only are the demonstrations of the exercises slow and precise; it also displays a 3-D views of the pelvic floor to illustrate how the Roll For Control™ exercises activate the pelvic muscles! This is WAY more detailed than just sitting around doing kegels. It is BEYOND kegels!

Blocks in proprioceptive awareness often persist due to an inability to visualize our anatomy and how it functions. In the provided literature, the phrase “pelvic rotator cuff” was really eye opening. Although I know the anatomy of the pelvic area, it never occurred to me to think of it as another rotator cuff! Visualizing the pelvic floor in this fashion was a game changer because a somewhat mysterious concept had been simplified. Here was something I knew I could explain to my clients to help them further their own physiological awareness and improve their functional movement patterns.  

Instead of targeting one muscle group at a time, the object of the Roll For Control® system is to teach the muscles how to work together in a balanced way. The exercises taught for this program utilize small movements.

The exercises are performed in a seated position with the feet flat on the floor. Using the ball or the band for resistance, the individual focuses on the rolling internally and externally of the legs to target the adductors and obturator muscles, respectively. Once those muscles get stronger, one can progress to a more challenging ball/band combo.

Illustration A shows the muscles known as: Piriformis, Superior gemellus, Obturator internus, Quadratus femoris, Obturator externus, and Inferior gemellus which control lateral (outward) rotation.

Illustration B shows the muscles that control medial (internal) rotation: Glute medius, Glute minimus, Tensor fasciae latae, Adductors brevis, Adductor longus, and the superior portion of the Adductor magnus.

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Now, regarding the mysterious Wonder W’edge™. The wedge can be used on it’s own as a form of inversion therapy and can also be added to the Roll For Control® regime. The concept of inversion therapy is nothing new, but using the W’edge is not as extreme as hanging upside down by your ankles. Traditional inversion therapy uses the theory that having the hips elevated on the wedge allows the internal organs to realign in the pelvic cavity and can allow for training of core musculature without gravity loading the spine. This can be especially beneficial for people suffering from back pain, something that often goes hand in hand with pelvic floor dysfunction.

The material used for the equipment is good quality and I definitely think you get what you pay for in that department. I love that the program uses exercise science to help people learn about and target the problem. There are no fancy gadgets, jade eggs, or vaginal pendulums. Just simple, straightforward exercises that focus on retraining the entire pelvic floor musculature complex.

Something I say to my clients a lot is that no muscle works in a vacuum; every muscle works in tandem with other muscles. It makes sense that pelvic floor weakness is not going to be solved by kegels alone. Yet despite the fact that this issue is so common for so many women, like many taboo or uncomfortable subject matters, it goes undiscussed.

Hopefully this series will continue to lift the veil, and encourage more women to ask questions about their anatomy in order to learn steps towards living a wholly fit life.