This is what I did Friday in Portland, Oregon:
1. I taught a course and met some really incredible people.
2. I hung out with the Alignment Monkey.
3. I didn’t have any Chai Tea.
4. I passed about 100 places where I could have easily had an organic tea and a hand-made vegan and humanely raised carrot muffin. For $17.00. But I didn’t. Mostly because I was stuck in traffic (bridge problems, then a stalled-truck problem) for an hour.
5. I mentioned that the “postural muscle”/”non-postural muscle” classification system was misleading and shouldn't be taught.
6. I stumped some people.
7. I went home.
8. I read some emails.
This is one of them:
“I am wondering if that is what Kegels are - repetitive conscious contraction of a muscle that is designed to be in constant contraction in order to create greater "strength." Would you disagree with that?”
9. I answered this email and now I’m sharing the answer with you because I think it’s important. Also, I’m lazy.
My answer (only edited for better grammar and spelling and stuff):
I would have to disagree because the pelvic floor is not "designed to be in constant contraction.” The pelvic floor is simply muscle that (should be) innervating whenever it is loaded. This happens when are upright but more or less so, depending on our height from the floor or if we are sitting, standing, walking or bathrooming or sexing or...whatever. Each position or movement requires a unique response from every muscle.
The action of the pelvic floor muscle, like every muscle, is position and load-dependent. If this muscle group was "designed to be in constant contraction" then when we laid down it would be generating the same force with a smaller load, which should not be happening in muscle.
The postural/non-postural classification system is not helpful and decreases one's understanding of anatomical function. To think that "postural" muscles are those that have a unique design in that they are continuously contracting at a fixed or pre-set amount or are controlled in a unique manner makes it easy to miss the fact that muscles should be responding, moment by moment, to loads we place on them -- which is the defining characteristic of ALL skeletal muscle. There is no unique feature or program in some skeletal muscles that render them different from each other in terms of function. Ideally, the quantity a skeletal muscle innervates is based on position and internal and external forces -- nothing else.
I would entirely agree with you in that with somatic ability comes the probability that we will create dysfunctional patterns, but these patterns are based on how we choose to move (cognition) rather than an inherent property contained in a "type" of muscle -- meaning, that all individual muscles should be responding to more natural, reflex-driven movements instead of being dominated by these arbitrary "strength" notions we have created. I would also agree that "exercise" done for the purpose of "exercise" or spot-treating correctives are further exacerbating the issue and not moving us closer to restoring the proprioceptive system, which is the system that allows the muscles to respond correctly to stimulus.
10. Then I took a nap.