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strengthen your hips and pelvic floor
This Livestrong article by Greg Presto, CPT discusses several reasons why you might want to try some variations of the well known wall sit exercise to strengthen your hips and pelvic floor. I really enjoyed this conversation with Greg, and here are some of my takeaways from the article. There is also a link to the full article below.

Heather Jeffcoat

There are a number of reasons why you might want to include the classic wall sit into your exercise routine

But did you know that there are variations that can really target certain muscle groups to strengthen your hips and pelvic floor?

Here are some of the facts and science that can really help you maximize the effectiveness of this simple exercise.

1. It Can Train Your Pelvic Floor

The article begins by highlighting some reasons why adding a resistance band into your routine can help:

If you're ready to take the classic wall sit to the next level, try adding a resistance band around your thighs while opening and closing your legs. Also known as a banded wall sit with hip abduction, this variation targets more of the smaller muscles in your glutes, and with the right focus, it recruits your pelvic floor muscles.

When doing a wall sit with a resistance band, engaging your pelvic floor also ensures that your spine stays in a neutral position and remains stable, says Heather Jeffcoat, DPT, founder of Fusion Wellness & Physical Therapy.

That's because when your pelvic floor is contracted, your transverse abdominis (deep core muscle) is also engaged. Your transverse abdominis creates stiffness throughout your core and stabilizes your trunk, which can help protect your low back.

Also known as the "corset muscle", strengthening and toning the TA can really go a long way toward reducing "muffin top" or "mommy belly", as so eloquently stated over at the Moms Into Fitness website. Here at Fusion Wellness we always have resistance bands on hand, and our trained therapists can guide you through proper techniques to get you on your way to reducing or even eliminating "mommy belly".

2. It Strengthens Your Smaller Glute Muscles

When you think of your "glutes" your mind probably goes directly to the gluteus maximus muscles, but there's much more to a toned butt and hips and stong core than just targeting the largest muscles in your body. Fine tuning your routine to include the gluteus medius can yield results that go far beyond the norm to strengthen your hips and pelvic floor.

... targeting your gluteus medius — the smaller glute muscle that wraps around the outside of your hips — as you do in a banded wall sit with hip abduction is just as important.

The gluteus medius also plays an important part in daily activities, like walking or climbing stairs, by keeping your pelvis and hips level and stable.

3. It Activates Not Only Your Transverse Abdominis, but Your Obliques TooExternal Oblique Muscles

Toning your core involves not only working on the glutes and TA, but also your oblique muscles. Here I refer to the Biology Dictionary for their definition and the accompanying image to the right:

Oblique muscle refers to two abdominal muscles – the external and internal obliques. These provide trunk flexion and rotation. The external oblique is the thickest and runs from the lower ribs to the iliac crest. The internal oblique lies under the external muscle and also originates at the iliac crest before reaching the pubic bone. Here, it joins a sheet of connective tissue shared with the transversus abdominis muscle.

So how do we make wall sits affect the obliques? The answer lies in how much attention you pay to your spine during the exercise:

Wall sits are basically wall squats with an isometric hold. In a wall squat, you slide your back down against a wall until you're in the wall sit position, hold for a few seconds, then press back up.

These deep core muscles stabilize your spine to keep it upright. Without them, your back could sway to the sides, Jeffcoat says. So when you're keeping your spine stiff during this exercise as you lower down into a squat, your obliques are working. And by engaging your pelvic floor muscles, you train these deep core muscles even more.

4. It Gets Your Heart Rate Up

Our last tip is a nod to looking at the body as a whole system, rather than isolated parts. Anything you do to get your heart rate pumping is going to have beneficial effects on your overall wellbeing.

Because you're sitting still, you might not think of wall sits as a cardio exercise. But in a July 2013 study in the ​Journal of Sports Sciences​, when people held isometric wall sits for bouts of two minutes, their heart rate soared to 139 beats per minute — as high as it might get on a light jog.

Adding a resistance band to this move makes it even more taxing and can help drive your heart rate even higher. So you could incorporate the resistance band wall sit into a heart-pumping circuit of other moves and get your cardio fix, too.

Click here for the full article on how to strengthen your hips and pelvic floor with these exercises.
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