PFM Impact

There is a body of evidence that pelvic floor muscles (PFM) have to contract strongly and reflexively in order to grant continence. Up to now the focus of research on muscle function has been on the concentric and isometric muscle action.



So far no light has been shed on the reflexive type of contraction and displacement during impact loading on the PFM, like in coughing, running, jumping activities that typically provoke incontinence.

Course of action

PFM displacement can be recorded with an electromagnetic tracking system, complemented by vaginal surface electromyography that displays concurrent electrical activity during functional activities. The presented study aims at a deeper understanding of PFM kinematics and activity during impact and therefore helps to elucidate PFM action related to incontinence pathophysiology. The outcomes would instantly benefit the PFM diagnosis and development of specific training programs.


The pelvic floor muscle activity is higher than the resting activity in all measured exercises and therefore potentially therapeutically effective. It increases with increasing intensity (speed, jump height, etc.). The kinematics of the pelvic floor during impacts does not lead to a stretch-shortening cycle (eccentric-concentric) as assumed. - increases in magnitude with increasing intensity.

Looking ahead

Exercises generating involuntary, reflexive activation of the pelvic floor muscles are added to current therapy concepts. Further studies reflexive activation and kinematics of the pelvic floor muscles are planned.

This project contributes to the following SDGs

  • 3: Good health and well-being