How to Kegel
Pelvic Floor Exercises: Experience the Power of the Secret Squeeze
The pelvic floor is a hammock of muscles that supports a woman’s pelvic organs: the bladder, uterus, vagina, and rectum. The most prevalent types of urinary incontinence are directly linked to weak pelvic floor muscles. Thus, strengthening this area is essential to the success of a healthy pelvic floor and key to curing incontinence and other related issues.
Think of it as your own personal workout that you can do anywhere — without ever having to set foot in a gym. Most women who attempt pelvic floor exercises don’t do them correctly without proper instruction, so be sure to read this section carefully!
STEP #1: FIND THE PELVIC FLOOR MUSCLES
Since you can’t see these muscles, you need to learn how to feel them. You’ll know if you’re doing the exercises correctly if you feel a lifting and tightening of the muscles around the vagina from the pubic bone to the small of your back. Do not tighten the large buttock muscles (gluteus muscles) or your abdomen; instead, concentrate on the area around your vagina.
Here are a few options to help you understand where and when these muscles are working:
- The next time you’re on the toilet, stop the urine flow mid-stream. You may not be able to stop the stream completely, but you now feel the area where you need to concentrate your efforts. (Note: Only use this as a test to find the pelvic floor muscles. Doing it too often can cause bladder problems.)
- Feel the muscles firsthand. Prop yourself in bed, leaning slightly back. Slowly and gently insert two fingers into your vagina. Contract or pull up your muscles as if you’re trying to pull your fingers up. You should be able to feel some movement around your fingers. Then, cough or bear down. You should feel a downward movement, exactly opposite from doing a pelvic floor contraction. Now: quick, pull up and inward. Practice this a few times to get the hang of it.
STEP #2: START EXERCISING!
We recommend doing two sets of traditional and assisting exercises each day.
- Long Holds: Contract your muscles and hold for as long as you can. Take a five second rest between each hold.
- Quick Flicks: Squeeze tight, then quickly relax, squeeze, relax, squeeze, relax in quick succession. Do as many as you can in 15 seconds.
Kegels are not only good for a healthy pelvic floor; they also work wonders for your sex life (and your partner’s!). So start exercising wherever and whenever you’d like!