How to do Kegel Exercises for Strengthening
How to do Kegel exercises – this expert article teaches you the 5 essential steps for effective kegel exercises. Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist Michelle Kenway walks you through the position and technique to ensure that you understand how to do kegel exercises correctly.
Read on now to learn:
- The position for kegel exercises
- Correct posture for upright Kegels
- How to activate your pelvic floor muscles
- How much rest is required; and
- How to avoid tiring your pelvic floor muscles.
Step 1 − Position your body
Position your body where you can best feel your pelvic floor muscles working. This might be lying down on your back, or on your side. You may feel your pelvic floor muscles working better when you sit or stand. Sometimes the best position to start your Kegel or pelvic floor exercises is lying down so that you don’t have to lift your muscles against the downward force of gravity.
Step 2 − Attend to posture
Keep your low back curved slightly inwards as you exercise your pelvic floor muscles, regardless of the position you are in. If your back is slumped forward, then your kegel exercises won’t be as effective. If you are sitting or standing, then sit or stand with your spine tall and lift the crown of your head up towards the ceiling
Step 3 – Activate your pelvic floor muscles
Knowing how to do kegel exercises correctly involves correct muscle activation. Squeeze and lift your pelvic floor muscles by squeezing your pelvic openings (your anus, vagina and urethra) and lifting them up inside your body. It’s really important that you learn to contract your pelvic floor muscles correctly right from the start.
Try to keep breathing normally as you squeeze and lift. Try not to hold your breath or change your regular breathing pattern – if you think about it, if you can’t hold your pelvic floor muscles up against your normal breath, it’s going to be almost impossible for you to hold them against the force of your cough or sneeze.
Step 4 − Relax your pelvic floor muscles
The next step is to fully relax your pelvic floor muscles as you slowly lower them back to their starting position. Make sure that after each attempt to contract your pelvic floor muscles you let them relax and recover. A couple of deep breaths can help you relax your pelvic floor.
Try to avoid the big mistake of holding your pelvic floor muscles on all the time without resting them, as this can cause you pelvic pain and even interfere with the way your muscles should work.
Step 5 − Rest your pelvic floor
Take at least 15-20 seconds to rest your pelvic floor muscles before starting your next exercise. This allows your muscles to recover from their effort. If your muscles become fatigued they will be difficult to contract and will not strengthen well. In the past it was sometimes suggested that women should perform up to five hundred Kegels a day. Fortunately for all of us this is no longer the case.
Over-exercising your pelvic floor muscles will fatigue your pelvic floor and may make your pelvic floor problems worse. It’s not a case of the more pelvic floor repetitions you do the better! What is important is that you do your pelvic exercises correctly. Make each attempt your best and stick to the current scientific guidelines for how many repetitions and how often you exercise.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR, Michelle Kenway
Michelle Kenway is a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist and author of Inside Out – the Essential Women’s Guide to Pelvic Support. The Inside Out exercise DVD and book show women how to strengthen the pelvic floor and exercise effectively with pelvic floor safe exercises.