How To Do Kegels
The pelvic floor muscles, which support the uterus, bladder, rectum, and small intestine, also known as the “Kegel muscles,” were first described in 1948 by Dr. Arnold Kegel, a gynecologist who invented the pelvic floor exercises as a non-surgical treatment for genital relaxation.
Incorporating Kegel exercises into your daily routine can help ward off pelvic floor problems including urinary and fecal incontinence, and, it can also improve sexual pleasure. The most important thing is that you learn to isolate those Kegel muscles and then commit to a daily routine.
How To Do Kegels Exercises
*Kegel Exercises (Some Tips)
Preparing To Do Kegel Exercises
Find your pelvic muscles. Before you do your Kegel exercises, it’s important to find your pelvic muscles. These are the muscles that form the floor of your pelvic floor. The most common way to find them is to try to stop the flow of your urine mid-steam. This tightening is the basic move of a Kegel muscle. Let those muscles go and resume the flow of urine and you’ll have a better sense of where those Kegels are. If you have any medical problems that may prevent you from doing Kegels safely, be sure to talk to your doctor before doing Kegel exercises.
- Note that stopping urination mid-stream is not to be used as the Kegel exercise. That is just used as a means to help you find the Kegel muscle and become familiar with it.
Make sure you have an empty bladder before you begin your Kegels. This is important. You don’t want to do your Kegels with a full or a partially full bladder or you may experience pain while you do your Kegels as well as some leakage. Before you start your exercise routine, do a bladder check so you can perform these exercises as efficiently as possible.
Concentrate on only tightening your pelvic floor muscles. Your Kegel exercise should focus on these muscles only, so you should avoid flexing other muscles such as your buttocks, thighs, or your abdomen, for best results. To help your concentration and the efficiency of your movements, make sure you breathe in and out as you perform each set of Kegels instead of holding your breath. This will help you relax and get the most out of your pelvic muscle exercise.
- One way to keep your muscles relaxed is to place one hand on your belly to make sure that your belly is relaxed.
- If your back or belly aches a bit after you complete a set of Kegel exercises, then it’s an indication that you’re not doing them correctly.
Finding a comfortable position. You can do these exercises either sitting in a chair or lying on the floor. Make sure your buttock and tummy muscles are relaxed. If you are lying down, then you should be flat on your back with your arms at your sides and your knees up and together.
Doing the Kegel Exercises
Squeeze your pelvic floor muscles for five seconds. When you’re just starting off, this is a great exercise. You don’t want to strain those muscles too much by squeezing them for too long. If five is even too long for you, you can begin by squeezing those muscles for just 2-3 seconds.
Release your muscles for ten seconds. Ideally, you should always give those pelvic floor muscles a ten-second break before you repeat the exercise. This gives them enough time to relax and to avoid strain. Count to ten before you begin the next repetition.
Repeat the exercise ten times. This can be considered one set of Kegels. If you started off by squeezing those muscles for five seconds, then squeeze them for five seconds, relax them for ten, and repeat this exercise ten times. This should be enough Kegels for one time and you should do the same set of ten 3-4 times a day but no more.
Build toward squeezing your pelvic floor muscles for ten seconds at a time. You can increase the amount of seconds that you squeeze those muscles each week. There’s no need to do them for any longer, or to do more than one set of them per time. Once you’ve reached the magic number of ten seconds, stick to it, and continue to do one set of 10 10-second squeezes 3-4 times a day.
Do pull-in Kegels. This is another variation on the Kegel. To perform a pull-in kegel, think of your pelvic floor muscles as a vacuum. Tense your buttocks and pull your legs up and in. Hold this position for 5 seconds and then release it. Do this 10 times in a row. It should take about 50 seconds to complete.
Here are two variations on the laying down position for Kegels:
Getting the Results/ Benefits of Kegels
Perform your Kegel exercises at least 3-4 times a day. If you really want them to stick so you can reap the benefits of Kegel exercises, then, you have to make them part of your daily routine. Performing 3-4 times a day should be doable, as each Kegel session won’t last very long and you can find ways of fitting Kegels into your daily routine. You can aim to do them in the morning, afternoon, and evening, so begin to do them like clockwork instead of worrying about scheduling a time to do your Kegels.
Fit Kegels into your busy routine. The best part about doing Kegels is that you can do them without anyone knowing. You can do them while you’re sitting at your desk in your office, having lunch with your friends, or just relaxing on the couch after a long day at work. Some women do them while sitting at stop lights when driving. Though lying down and isolating your Kegels and focusing hard is important for beginners, once you get the hang of isolating those muscles, you can do your Kegels almost anywhere at anytime.
- You can even make a habit of doing them during a routine activity, such as checking your mail or email.
- Once you’ve found a set of Kegel exercises that works for you, you should stick to this routine instead of doing even more Kegels, or doing them more strenuously. If you overdo it, you may suffer from straining when you have to urinate or move your bowels.
- Just remember that while stopping urination mid-stream is a great way to locate your Kegels, you should not actually do your Kegels routinely while urinating or you may suffer problems associated with incontinence.
Expect results in a few months if you do Kegels regularly. For some women, the results are dramatic; for others, Kegels prevent further urinary tract problems. Some women get frustrated because they do Kegels for a few weeks and don’t feel any difference. However, some women may not actually notice the difference after doing Kegels, even though there is actually a difference that has occurred internally.
Continue doing your Kegels if you want to keep incontinence at bay. Kegel exercises can help greatly with incontinence, especially after childbirth. If you want to keep those muscles strong and to keep incontinence away, then you have to continue doing your Kegels. If you stop them, even after months of exercise, your incontinence problems can often return.
*More Tips on Kegel Exercises
- Try not to hold your breath, squeeze your buttocks or thighs, pull your tummy in tightly, or push down instead of squeezing and lifting.
- As you become more confident with these exercises, you will find that you will be able to do them standing up. The important thing is to keep practicing throughout the day and you can do them while you’re washing the dishes, waiting in a queue, or even sitting at your desk in the office, during television show commercials, or when you are stopped at a stoplight while driving.
- You can preform slow and quick Kegel exercises any time and no one will be aware of what you are doing. Some women find it easy to incorporate them into their routine while driving, reading, watching TV, talking on the phone, or sitting at a computer.
- Pregnant women can perform Kegel exercises.
- Imagine your lungs are in your pelvis and relax your perineum on inhale and draw up on exhale.
(Adapted from How to do Kegel Exercises.)