Activating Your Pelvic Floor with Guided Visual Imagery: 8 Verbal Cues

An estimated 1 in 4 women activate their pelvic floor incorrectly. Common mistakes include breath-holding, bearing down, or contracting the abdominal muscles. The most common cue that people know of is “to squeeze like you are stopping the flow of urine.” While this cue works for many people, others may find that they are squeezing too much, and activating their abdominals and gluteals as well. This post will go through 8 alternative verbal cues that you can use to better activate your pelvic floor muscles.


1. Squeeze like you’re trying to slow the flow of urine. A gentler activation means you are more likely to find the right muscles. Thinking of slowing the flow rather than stopping the flow may make it easier for you to activate the pelvic floor without the glutes and abdominals kicking in.

2. Squeeze like you are trying to hold up a tampon. You may feel this more in the front/vaginal area.

3. Squeeze like you are trying to suck up a diamond through a straw.

4. Imagine the gentle movement of a jellyfish moving through water. Gently contract and relax your pelvic floor muscles to match that movement.

5. Imagine dropping a pebble into water, and all the ripples going out. Now imagine using your pelvic floor muscles to collect the ripples and pull the pebble back up and out of the water.

6. Imagine a zipper running from your vagina to your pubic bone. Now imagine doing up that zipper.

7. Imagine your pelvic floor muscles as elevator door. Now imagine closing the elevator doors and going up to the top floor.

8. Squeeze around the back passage as if you are in a crowded lift and you are trying not to pass wind. This cue is not as popular as some of the others, as it can feel more posterior. However, research shows that the use of this cue results in 85-90% of women correctly contracting their pelvic floor, compared to only 65% when using a “stopping the flow” cue. (Ben Ami, N and Dar, G 2018)


Now remember, the movement is very small and should feel like a subtle squeeze and lift. You can use whichever cue or cues work best for you, and if you are unsure if you are correctly activation the right muscles then be sure to check with a women’s health physiotherapist.

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