Kegel exercises help to keep the pelvic floor muscles strong. As we age the muscles naturally become weaker, often eventually resulting in a problem with incontinence (urinary or faecal).
Keeping your pelvic floor muscles strong, will help to lessen the chances of you getting this problem later on in life.
If you are young and reading this, it’s important you read on.
Weak pelvic muscles, are not something that just old people get.
These muscles can also weaken after child birth, and after various surgeries, so keeping them strong from a young age is often recommended by healthcare professionals.
Kegel exercises are also recommended for women that have vaginismus (tight vagina) by many healthcare professionals.
According to sex therapist Dr Ruth, doing kegels regularly can also increase sexual satisfaction in the bedroom for some women.
A Basic Way To Do Kegel Exercises
NOTE: If you cannot feel your pelvic muscles contracting/clenching, or have a bulging feeling in the pelvic area, stop doing kegel exercises until you have seen your healthcare professional.
You can do kegel exercises anywhere. No one will be able to tell you are doing them. You can do them sitting down, laying down, or standing up.
You can even do them while sun bathing, on the bus, on the phone, watching tv, or when you are bored waiting in a shopping line.
So ladies, you should always have the time to do them.
Kegel exercises focus on clenching, then releasing the muscles in the anal area, vaginal entrance, and the urethra (the part where you pee).
Guide for Quick Hold Kegels:
(1) Find an area and position (sitting,standing or laying down) you are comfortable in.
(2) Take a few deep breaths to relax.
(3) Now draw up/clench your anal passage as if you are trying not to pass wind (fart). Or you could visualize it as, trying to hold a marble in the anal passage entrance. As you do this you should feel a lifting feeling. Hold onto this then…
(4) Draw up/clench up the muscles around the vagina, as if you are trying to get a tampon up (or you could visualize trying to hold a marble there). Hold onto this clench then…
(5) Draw up/clench up your urethra (the part where you pee).
(6) Hold onto the above for 1 second.
(7) Release the clench and relax these muscles , then quickly squeeze up (steps 3 – 7) again.
Do this set 10 times. (If you are new to kegels you may need to start with just 3 – 4 sets)
(8) Now follow on to the long hold variation below.
NEXT – The Long Holds:
When doing the long holds don’t over squeeze your tummy, clench your buttocks, or hold your breath.
(1) Do the same steps 1 – 7 as above. But this time try to hold the clench for 10 seconds, before releasing, and relax completely in-between. (If you are knew to kegel exercising you may need to hold the clench for just a few seconds, and over time, work your way up to 10 seconds).
(2) Do this set 10 times. (If you are new to kegels you may need to start with just 3 – 4 sets)
Aim to do the Quick hold set, and the Long hold set above, regularly. Many healthcare professionals recommend 10 sets of each, 3 times a day.
Always Lift and Squeeze your Pelvic Floor Muscles When…
You are lifting, running, jumping, coughing, or sneezing
This is often referred to as the Knack
NOTE: When I was getting used to doing kegels, I started with just 3 -4 sets of the above exercises until I got used to it. I then gradually worked my way up to 10 sets each time.
The aim is to strengthen these muscles, not to over strain them.
Why Do Some Professionals Say The Above Kegel Exercises Are Not Correct?
Many healthcare professionals have there own version of what the correct kegel method is.
Often what these healthcare professionals are meaning (according to my Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist) is, what the correct way to breath should be, when doing kegel exercises.
In the video above, it mentions to breath slowly and not to hold your breath while doing the exercises.
It does not tell you to exhale as you clench (pull up) your pelvic floor muscles like the video below does (approximately 1 minute into video). Then to inhale (take a breath in) and exhale while you hold the clench (kegel) for the required amount of time.
When I asked my Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist what the correct kegel method is, she told me that both of the above kegel exercise versions above are correct.
She followed on to say that some Pelvic Floor Specialists don’t mention when you should be inhaling, or exhaling while doing kegel exercises, because too many patients then focus on their breathing only, instead of focusing on, and using the correct muscles while doing kegel exercises.
Please NOTE: I chose the video above to give you an idea about the breathing technique some Pelvic Floor Specialists advise you to do. The video above (approximately at 3.50 minutes) also adds hip exercise variations for other pelvic floor muscles.
You may want to talk to your healthcare professional to see what method they would prefer you to do.
Article brought to you by Ms Tight
“DISCLAIMER: I am not a health care professional, the information in this article is based on my own personal experience of living with vaginismus, and what I have learnt. If you have any concerns about your health, it is best to seek advice from a health care professional – Full disclaimer)“.