Andrea Speir and her business partner, Liz Polk are Speir Pilates, a hard-core pilates studio with a soft and beautiful esthetic we love here in L.A. Whether you’re pregnant, postpartum or you’re looking to improve your sex life, learning how to exercise your pelvic floor can be a game-changer. Andrea Speir is a mama of two and an expert at strengthening your pelvic floor through pilates. We asked her to share these three (surprisingly simple!) exercises that can easily be done at home. Useful for everyone, but especially for new moms and moms-to-be!
Props: You’ll just need a pillow for most of these exercises!
EXERCISE 1: Bridge
Why: This exercise activates and strengthens the slow twitch muscles of the pelvic floor. These muscles must be strengthened and shown a little love because they work to hold up the weight of your organs, and so over time as we age or post-pregnancy, they can weaken due to losing elasticity and the weight bearing down on them.
- Lie on your back with a soft pillow between your knees. Knees are hip bone distance apart and parallel.
- Gently hug the pillow with the inner thighs, while thinking about lifting the pelvic floor in and up.
- Curl the tailbone under and lift hips up toward the ceiling.
- Still hugging the pillow, roll the hips back down to the mat, releasing the hug on the pillow slightly.
- Hug the pillow and repeat the curl up.Reps: 10 times
EXERCISE 2: Low Curl
Why: This exercise gets blood circulating through the pelvic floor with the opening and closing of the legs. As the legs open, the pelvic floor releases slightly. As the knees hug together, the muscles activate. It’s a good endurance exercise for the body. The addition of the curling crunch helps to strengthen the lower abdominals, which will also help this entire body build strength.
- Place a pillow folded in half at the low back. Hands stack palm over palm at the nape of the neck. Curl tailbone under and find a “C’ shaped curve with the spine. Inner thighs and feet are parallel and together.
- Gently curl up a few inches, hugging inner thighs together.
- Curl back down, separating knees shoulder distance apart but keeping feet together (*think of a butterfly’s wings opening and closing).
- Repeat.Reps: 8-10 times
EXERCISE 3: Hip Dancing
Why: This exercise builds strength in the slow twitch muscles of the pelvic floor with the constant activation on the pillow. The hinging action will bring a circulation through the lower body from the biggest muscles of the body, the legs. It also teaches the body to engage the pelvic floorwhen moving the body in different directions, so you can then carry that connection out into your daily life and engage those muscles!
- Set up on the knees with the pillow hugged tightly between.
- Hinge at the waist, leaning your upper body forward and bringing hips back over heels.
- Hug the pillow and lift back up to a flat back.Reps: 8-10 times
Right now, you can catch Andrea for outdoor pilates on their roof at sunrise and sunset in West Hollywood, California!