How to Feel Your Kegels – How to Kegel Exercises for Women Episode 2

How to Kegel Video Series Episode 2

If you can’t feel your Kegels you’re not alone.

One of the most common problems women face when learning how to kegel is feeling their Kegels and using the correct technique.

Learn how to Kegel with Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist guidance.

Kegel Video duration: 5 mins

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Kegel Exercises Video Series

What Causes Difficulty Feeling Kegel Exercises?

There are many reasons why women may have difficulty feeling their Kegel exercises including:

  • Weak pelvic floor muscles
  • Overactive (too tight) pelvic floor muscles
  • Previous injury and damage to the pelvic floor nerves and muscles (pregnancy /childbirth/ pelvic floor surgery)
  • Wasting or thinning of the pelvic floor muscles with increasing age
  • Lack of previous Kegel Exercise
  • Lack of correct instruction about correct technique
  • Our pelvic floor muscles are hidden from our own view
  • We don’t often learn to consciously contract our pelvic floor muscles in every day life without reason to do so.

Typical Mistakes Learning How to Kegel

There are a number of mistakes that are frequently made when learning how to kegel. Instead of using the correct technique of lifting and squeezing in and around the three pelvic openings, common mistakes include:

  • Squeezing the buttocks and inside thighs
  • Drawing in abdominal muscles
  • Breath holding
  • Straining and pushing the pelvic floor downwards.

How Pelvic Floor Physiotherapists Check Kegel Exercise Technique

Pelvic Floor Physiotherapists may use a range of different techniques to check for correct exercise technique. These techniques can include:

  • Watching the movement of the three pelvic openings during pelvic floor exercise
  • Internal self examination to feel pelvic floor muscles moving (this is the most commonly performed method)
  • Ultrasound to view the pelvic floor muscles moving
  • EMG (electromyographic) measurement of muscle activity.

Techniques to Help Feel Your Kegels

There are some techniques most women can try at home to help them find their pelvic floor muscles and check correct kegel exercise activation technique. These techniques include:

  • Stopping or slowing the flow of urine using an inwards lift and squeeze of the pelvic floor muscles (this technique is best used only as a test, no more than once a week and only if you don’t have problems emptying your bladder)
  • Contracting the muscles in and around the anus as if trying to avoid passing gas (wind)
  • Sitting on a rolled hand towel and feeling the movement of the pelvic floor muscles lifting and lowering when activated
  • Sitting on an exercise ball and leaning slightly forwards to feel an inward squeezing movement around the pelvic openings with Kegel exercise
  • Touch the perineum (the skin between the anus and vagina) with a clean finger and notice your finger lift slightly inwards as you activate your pelvic floor. This technique can help you to feel whether your pelvic floor is bulging outwards with your effort.
  • Feeling a couple of centimetres (half inch) inside the vagina to touch the back wall (closest to the rectum) lift and move slightly forwards with correct activation.

Techniques to Help Pelvic Floor Relaxation

Knowing how to kegel exercise involves knowing how to contract and then relax the pelvic floor muscles. Some women find it difficult to relax or feel their pelvic floor muscles relaxing having once contracted.

For some women relaxing the pelvic floor muscles feels like a lowering down and letting go sensation in and around the pelvic openings. If you can’t feel your pelvic floor muscles relaxing they may have already relaxed or alternatively they may still be contracted.

You may be able to encourage your pelvic floor muscles to relax between exercises by:

  • Taking a couple of deep breaths
  • Gently bulging your lower abdomen forwards.

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We Welcome Your Comments


  1. Hi Michelle, I don’t want to sound like a drama queen but I’m 7 days post Partum and trying to do kegels. They don’t feel very tight which is really getting me down. I keep crying all the time because I just feel like I will be like this forever. I used to be able to do them no problem. I can slightly do them lying down but definitely cannot do them standing up. Is there any hope for me? My pushing stage was 2 hours long and my baby was born “face to pubes” as they call it. I was told not to stand for long periods of time ie 20 mins. When can I start being active again? And how long can I stay on my feet without fear of damaging my pelvic floor muscles? I also have a lot of pain which I thinks is coming from my public bone? When I go for a wee I can never empty my bladder fully because I cannot squeeze the last drops out because it hurts to squeeze/push. Have I seriously done damage to myself or can I repair this? Sorry for this massive message but I am seriously seriously not coping with this

    • Michelle Kenway Physiotherapist says

      Hi Amanda

      It’s very early days and things will get much better from this point onwards. Your pelvic floor muscles have been stretched and like any muscle injury this will take time to settle. Imagine you had a bad calf muscle strain – this would prevent you from walking well for quite a number of weeks while the muscle healed. The same is true for the pelvic floor after childbirth added to this you will be very tired and muscles don’t work well when fatigued.Try to get a balance of rest and activity that feels comfortable for your body and allows your pelvic floor to heal involving gentle walking, lying down and sitting. This video should help you empty your bladder, avoid straining to empty at all costs bladder emptying video

      I hope this helps you a little Amanda

  2. Over the past few days I’ve been researching Kegel exercises, specifically how to be sure that I’ve been doing them correctly. I can’t even say how many articles I’ve read… I lost count awhile ago! But I just had to say that this video was the first one that gave me some actual helpful tips on how to know that I’m doing them correctly, specifically the thing about using a towel or an exercise ball. Very informative! And I’m very happy to say that I finally know that I’m doing them right! Thanks for making this great video.

    • Michelle Kenway Physiotherapist says

      Hi Angel

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. I hope you’re making good progress with your exercises. Yes agreed the towel roll is a great strategy for feeling your pelvic floor exercises.

      All the best

  3. Johanita Borman says

    I am 2 weeks post a total abdominal historectomy. How long should i wait to start these exercises? I have barely any pain. Just feeling a bit tired.

    • Michelle Kenway says

      Hi Johanita
      When to commence Kegels after abdominal hysterectomy depends should be upon your specialist’s instructions or guidelines, if unsure maybe you can phone his/her rooms and ask if there are any specific post operative guidelines for you relating to your post operative situation. Some women do commence Kegels too soon, or too strongly post operatively only to find that some pelvic discomfort develops. First and foremost be sure you understand the correct Kegel technique, commence gradually when you do with just a few short and gentle contractions lying down and progress over time to standing up exercises. Most women commence around 4-6 weeks post op hysterectomy however this can definitely vary according to your surgical procedure and post op complications so that there is no one rule fits all.
      Best of luck

  4. So impressed wth your site, and its content, just wishing I had found this long ago.
    Have had pelvic instability for almost 13 years, pain in psoas everyday, and only thanks to constant physiotherapy have managed to remain active & mobile. But so good to find a physiotherapist specialising in pelvic conditions!!
    I am 3 weeks post op from TLH & repair of site of 2 caesareans. The site of the op drain was through my injured psoas, so my main pain complaint has been almost exclusively there. Plus post op infection & antibiotic complications.
    My question is from a pelvic physio point of view please: when do/should/can I commence kegel excercises?
    Theres so much variation in opinion, I read in the UK they start post op Day 2!
    I tried week 1& 2 with pain resulting, & I tried last night with same. Should I just wait until 6week check up? & will this hamper my muscle recovery. I would be very pleased to get your advice, as I wonder if this is normal.
    I have just bought your book online to help me through the next steps as the movement advice has been very limited. I am so looking forward to getting it!

    • Michelle Kenway says

      Hi Charmz
      Thank you for your kind feedback. Yes you are right there is wide variation in when to recommence kegels after pelvic surgery. We usually don’t commence until around 4 weeks post op. to allow for some post op. repair and when they do commence, usually lying down very gently and just a few at a time – they should never cause pain so be guided by what your body tells you in this regard. If you are unsure phone your specialist and ask the receptionist for your specialist’s preferences in this regard. Since everywoman is different when to start your kegels post op can definitely vary from woman to woman. Hope this helps – you may like to watch this video for post op. kegel exercises guidance too

  5. I’m watching your kegel video. Is it ok to do kegels standing up? I read somewhere that you shouldn’t do kegels standing up. Please advise. Can you do hula hoop if you have uterine prolapse or pelvic prolapse?

    • Michelle Kenway says

      Hi Renee
      It is great to do Kegels standing up – your pelvic floor needs to be able to work for you in upright so upright pelvic floor training is desirable. Some women with weak pelvic floor muscles may need to start their kegels laying down so that they are not lifting against gravity, just to help them get the right action. Once again, these ladies usually progress to upright standing kegels so that they get the strengthening benefits of lifting against gravity and training in the position their pelvic floor muscles actually need to work for them.

    • Michelle Kenway says

      Also, there is no issue with hoola hoop placing pressure on the pelvic floor to the best of my knowledge, always be guided by symptoms too when it comes to prolapse – if an exercise causes you symptoms, then you are probably best to modify or avoid it.

  6. Hello Michelle, It’s always good to see your new videos, and revise the kegel floor
    exercises. I always like checking on the things I shouldn’t do. Although I don’t have a lot of success because of ray treatment I am always trying for some success. Thanks Michelle.


    • Michelle Kenway says

      Hi Billy
      Great to hear the reminders are helpful to you! I hope that something ‘clicks’ and that in some way your life is made a little easier with your knowledge