birth place

Workout programme

Stage One Pelvic Floor Exercises

Technique, holds, and repetitions of the pelvic floor

Start in a comfortable position, either sitting, lying down, or even standing.

Take a big breath in and out. Try to relax your body and make sure you are not starting out holding your breath.

Now gently squeeze from the back passage, then as if you are holding in a wee, lift upwards gently towards your lower abdomen (but do not draw the tummy in too strongly).

Try to make sure you are not holding your breath, tensing your legs or buttocks, and are not squeezing so strongly that you can’t hold the pelvic floor and breathe at the same time – this may take some practice.

Don’t worry if you can’t feel much of the squeeze initially – it is still important that you squeeze gently. Visualise the squeeze and keep practicing – the sensation should improve over a period of a few weeks

Try a few different positions to see where you feel it best – such as on all-fours, lying on your side, or standing with your back against a wall, knees slightly bent and feet a couple of steps away from the wall.

Once you have the hang of finding these muscles, see if you can practice increasing how long you can hold them for and then practice a series of quicker squeezes.

You are aiming for a maximum of:

Ten second holds

Ten repetitions of these

Ten quick squeezes

This whole set of exercises needs to be repeated three times a day. If you are unable to achieve 10 seconds holds, start with just a few seconds and build up to it.

It can take time to see an improvement in your pelvic floor strength and it can take about six weeks for the exercises to feel easier. Generally, it can take three to six months to start developing good strength and function in these muscles.

Although repeating the exercises requires patience and hard work, it can avoid the need for surgery or any other further interventions. If you don’t have symptoms now, the exercises can reduce your chances of having problems later in life.

Possible different levels of exercises:

Have you mastered the above contraction and holds of the pelvic floor in a static position? Have a look at Stage Two of our Program.

Still struggling with stage one? Please contact your midwife, GP or other healthcare practitioner who can refer you to your local specialist pelvic health physiotherapist.

Stage Two Pelvic Floor Exercises

So now you are able to contract your pelvic floor in a static position and hold it. Let’s see if you can add these steps into some basic movements:

Stand on one leg

Start position: Standing upright.

Draw in the pelvic floor as before and hold as you then take your weight onto one leg and balance. Hold up to ten seconds (but build up slowly) then relax and place the foot back on the floor. Repeat up to five times for each leg.

Sit to stand


Start position: Sitting.

Contract your pelvic floor as you did before and hold in a sitting position – see if you can hold it as you go into a standing position. Once standing, let go and relax. Sit back down and then repeat this process up to ten times.

Step up

women on step

Start position: Stand facing the bottom step of a step or stairs.

Place your foot on the bottom step and then contract the pelvic floor – hold as you bring your other foot up to the same step. Relax and step back down. Repeat this five times on each leg to make a total of ten repetitions.

Mini wall squat


Start position: Stand with your back against a wall, feet a step or two away from the wall, knees slightly bent.

Draw in the pelvic floor and hold as you bend your knees a small amount and then return to the starting position. Relax the pelvic floor and then repeat up to ten times.

Stage Three Pelvic Floor Exercises

Mini jumps

Start position: Standing upright.

Draw in the pelvic floor as before and hold as you do a mini jump. Repeat up to ten times.

Mini hops

Start position: Standing upright.

Draw in the pelvic floor as before and hold as you do a mini hop. Repeat up to ten times for each leg.

Once you are able to complete these three stages, return to your usual exercise gradually. See Resources page for further information.