7 Expert Tips for Effective Kegel Exercises
By Michelle Kenway, Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist
All too often women become disheartened with their pelvic floor workout and cease their Kegel exercises as a result. Fortunately, some simple and effective training techniques can help to ensure that your pelvic floor workout does what it should - improve pelvic floor strength, overcome bladder control problems and enhance intimate sensation and response.
Remembering the following 7 points during your routine is your key to successful Kegel Exercises.
Position yourself where you can best feel your pelvic floor muscles working upright or lying down. Great starting positions include lying on your back, on your side or kneeling with forearms resting on the floor. In these positions your pelvic floor muscles don't need to work as hard to lift against gravity.
Try to maintain an inward curve in your low back with your chest lifted and spine tall. Research tells us that when Kegels are performed with slumped posture, the pelvic floor muscles are less active and therefore don't strengthen as effectively.
A correct Kegel is a lift inside and squeeze of your pelvic floor muscles, in and around your three pelvic openings; your urethra or urine tube, vagina and anus. Correct Kegels do not involve abdominal in-draw, buttock squeeze or straining and pushing down.
When starting out, perfect your Kegel technique before trying to increase your strength. Perform gentle exercises at first, and when sure of your technique, make your contractions progressively stronger. Ultimately use your strongest effort with every exercise.
Continue breathing and lifting your pelvic floor muscles during your exercise - avoid breath holding. If you can't contract with a breath, contracting against a sneeze will be impossible.
Squeeze, lift and breathe for up to 10 seconds. When starting out, you may not be able to maintain your contraction longer than a couple of seconds. With practice you will achieve increasingly longer contractions.
Pelvic floor relaxation is a vital yet frequently overlooked element of Kegel exercises. Having contracted your pelvic floor muscles, take the time to relax and return your pelvic floor to its resting level. Allow your pelvic floor muscles sufficient time to recover fully before commencing your next exercise.
How many Kegels?
- Try to exercise your pelvic floor muscles every day
- Aim for up to 10 second contractions every exercise
- Repeat up to 8-10 exercises in a row (one full set)
- Perform 3 sets daily
Pelvic floor exercises should be incorporated into women's workouts as an essential part of their regular training regime. Commitment to ongoing pelvic exercises will help you maintain your pelvic floor health and help you to feel confident in your pelvic floor again.
Disclaimer: This is intended as general information only, not as a substitute for medical advice. The author accepts no liability to any person for this information, or for loss or damages incurred as a result of reliance upon the material contained herein.