The Best Posture for Kegel Exercises that Strengthen your Pelvic Floor

The best posture for Kegel exercise helps you get maximum benefit from your pelvic floor strengthening.

The position of your spine is a major factor determining the success of your Kegel exercises.

This Physical Therapy exercise video teaches you the best posture to get the most strengthening gains from your Kegel exercises.

Please scroll down below this video for more information on posture and pelvic floor training.

The Best Posture for Kegel Exercises

There are 2 key principles underlying the best posture for your Kegels:

  1. Choosing antigravity postures
  2. Correcting your upright posture

Let’s examine these principles in turn and how to put them into practice.

1. Choosing Antigravity Postures

Your pelvic floor muscles sit at the base of your trunk. These muscles form a hammock that helps to hold up (support) your internal pelvic organs against the downward force of gravity.

When you’re lying down your pelvic floor muscles are more relaxed than when you’re in an upright posture. This is because your pelvic floor muscles don’t need to work against the downward force of gravity when lying down.

Therefore most women find it easier to do Kegel exercises lying down with the downward force of gravity eliminated.

Lying down posture for Kegel exercises is useful in some circumstances such as:

  • With weak pelvic floor muscles
  • During later stage pregnancy and early following childbirth
  • Returning to Kegels after hysterectomy or prolapse surgery
  • With prolapse problems when the pelvic floor feels heavy to lift

Doing your Kegel exercises lying down trains your pelvic floor muscles to work when you’re lying down. Unfortunately strength gains made with pelvic floor training lying down don’t fully transfer to standing upright. This is because pelvic floor muscles strengthen most effectively in the position they’re trained.

Pelvic floor muscles need to be trained in upright sitting and standing postures working against gravity.

The 2 main benefits of training in upright posture are:

  1. Your pelvic floor muscles work harder when you’re upright
  2. Pelvic floor muscles need to be trained to work well when you’re upright rather than only when lying down

This is one of the reasons why the best posture for Kegel exercises is antigravity i.e. sitting or standing upright.

2. Correct Your Upright Posture

You can adjust your upright posture to get the maximum benefit from your pelvic floor exercises.

Research has compared pelvic floor exercises sitting upright using three different postures 1:

  1. Slumped supported sitting – leaning against the back of the chair with the spine slumped forwards (below left)
  2. Upright unsupported sitting – sitting with the back positioned forward from the backrest with an inward curve in the lower back (below middle)
  3. Very tall upright unsupported sitting – tall sitting with the back forward from the backrest and inward curve in the lower back (below right)

Slumped Posture Tall unsupported posture Upright unsupported posture

Research Findings?

This research showed that the most pelvic floor activity during pelvic floor exercises occurred when the spine was curved inwards sitting away from the back of the chair in unsupported upright and tall unsupported sitting (shown middle and right above) rather than slumped leaning against the back rest (shown left) 1.

What’s the Importance of the Lower Back Curve?

The shape of your lower back curve affects your pelvic floor muscle activation and the success of your Kegel exercises.

Using the back rest of a chair changes the position of the spine to a bent forward or flexed position. Slumping forwards allows some of the core muscles to relax 2 .

The best posture for Kegel exercises is the spinal position where the core muscles are most active which involves sitting with an inwards curve in the lower back and away from the back of the chair.

Suitable Alternatives to Using a Backrest

Try to avoid doing your Kegel exercises sitting with your spine slumped against the back of a chair.

You’ll get more strengthening benefit sitting away from the backrest of the chair with good upright posture. Alternatively you can sit upright on a stool, Yoga or Swiss ball for your pelvic floor training.

Key Points for Best Posture for Kegel Exercises

To get the most strengthening benefit from your Kegels:

  • Use upright postures for your Kegels such as sitting or standing
  • Maintain the inward curve in your lower back and avoid sitting slumped using the back rest of the chair

More Information

» Kegel Exercises for Beginners

» How Many Kegels Should You do a Day? (Physiotherapy Video Guide)

» The 5 Kegel Mistakes to Avoid (for Effective Pelvic Floor Exercises)

» 2 Chest Stretches for Overcoming Rounded Shoulders

Pelvic Floor Exercises Daily Workout CD

Pelvic Floor Exercises Daily Workout Audio CD (Download or Hardcopy)

Learn how to strengthen your pelvic floor and train along with Michelle using her daily pelvic floor training workout.

with Michelle Kenway Physical Therapist

Track 1 – Introduction to Successful Strengthening

Track 2 – Finding your Pelvic Floor

Track 3 – Feeling your Pelvic Floor Muscles

Track 4 – Using the Correct Pelvic Floor Exercise Technique

Track 5 – Beginners Pelvic Floor Exercises Workout

Track 6 – Intermediate Pelvic Floor Exercises Workout

Track 7 – Progressing and Maintaining your Strength

 

Learn More

References

1. Sapsford, R. Richardson, C. and Stanton W. (2006) Sitting posture affects pelvic floor muscle activity in parous women: an observational study. Aust J Physiother. 52(3), pps 219-22.

2. Sapsford et al (2007) Pelvic Floor Muscle Activity in Different Sitting Postures in Continent and Incontinent Women Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.Volume 89, Issue 9, September 2008, pps 1741-1747.

Comments

  1. What do you think of the new machines some physicians have that do kegal exercises while you sit in a special chair? Here in usA it is called Emsella chair.

    • Author: Michelle Kenway Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist says

      Hi Samantha theres actually no good scientific evidence supporting the magnetic chair for pelvic floor, the magnetic field contracts the pelvic floor muscles for you. If it seems to good to be true it usually is …this doesn’t work long-term. Best to contract your pelvic floor muscles yourself for long term results. Women that use the chair usually say that any change disappears as soon as they stop using the chair. Probably best to save your hard earned cash

  2. I had pelvic prolapse surgery 1 1/2 years ago using robotic surgery, 4 hours, at Weil Cornell hospital in NYC. It was a severe prolapse and neglected. I have hardly any scars- all faded. Your people should know. Now I am going to do more exercise and will review your suggestions because I want to be aware. Consider the robotic and choose your doctor carefully. I interviewed six. Thank you for helping me keep my positive results.

  3. Thanks Michelle, very helpful as usual!
    ALEXANDRA

    • Author: Michelle Kenway Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist says

      Great to hear Alexandra, thanks so much for your feedback

Pelvic Exercises Physiotherapy

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