Is the Pelvic Floor supposed to be engaged in ALL exercises?
The question of Pelvic Floor (PF) engagement is the subject of many debates and workshops in the Pilates world… and the answer to it can be quite different from one school of thought to another. From my understanding, Pilates teachers did not really talk about the PF until about 15-20 years ago when Physiotherapy protocols started mixing with the traditional Pilates methodology, but nowadays some Pilates teachers can get quite hooked on the issue and “won’t let you move” until you know how to activate your PF.
I believe it is important to understand that whether we talk about it or not and whether we know exactly how the PF works or not, the exercises themselves- the movements you perform and the instructions you follow will all encourage the activation and the stretching of your PF muscles in the same way that they will for all other muscle groups in the body. The PF muscles will naturally engage with all movements in Pilates and so there is no need to worry about it too much. I personally prefer to think about the bones of the pelvis drawing together- the sits bones (the bones you feel when you sit straight on a hard chair) drawing towards each other and the hip bones drawing towards each other. These actions combined with “pulling your abdominals in and up” will get your Pelvic Floor working in harmony with everything else in a very organic way.
Clearly, if anyone suffers from a dysfunction of the PF, they should be seeing a specialist and should be given rehabilitation exercises that will help them recover and resume normal, healthy function.