How to Perform Kegel Exercises Correctly | Kodjoworkout

How to Perform Kegel Exercises Correctly

Kegel-ExercisesWhat are Kegel Exercises?

Kegel exercises are a form of exercise designed in the 1940s by world famous gynecologist Arnold Kegal, which strengthen and tone the pelvic floor muscles. It is particularly important for women to keep the pelvic floor strong as these large, layered, hammock-like muscles support the bladder, lower bowel and internal sexual organs. They also help to make sex enjoyable as well as keep the spine and pelvis stable. Women are more susceptible to damage that causes weak pelvic floor muscles. This is primarily caused by:

  • the physical stresses of childbearing
  • over stretching during the act of giving birth (vaginal delivery)

Other causes of weak or damaged pelvic floor muscles are:

  • aging
  • obesity
  • straining due to constipation
  • accident
  • hormonal changes after menopause

Exercising your pelvic floor muscles and maintaining their strength will help to avoid problems caused by weakened muscles, such as

– stress incontinence- an involuntary leakage of urine, especially when laughing,     exercising, coughing or sneezing
– vaginal prolapse- bulging and downward protrusion of the vaginal wall
– uterine/bladder/bowl prolapse- one or more of these organs can sag, often through the vaginal walls
– painful or unsatisfying sex- a feeling of having a loose vagina
– inability to fully control the bladder or bowel

Kegel exercises are performed by repeatedly contracting and relaxing the pelvic floor muscles. It is important that the exercises are performed correctly as over tightened or overworked pelvic floor muscles can also cause problems, such as being unable to relax the muscles in order to have a bowel movement or to comfortably engage in penetrative sex due to extreme tightness.

Read on for a guide on how to perform Kegel exercises correctly, whether after giving birth, to correct already weakened muscles or as a daily preventative measure.

How to Locate Your Pelvic Floor Muscles

The easiest and most recommended way to find your pelvic floor muscles is to squeeze the muscles around your vagina and back passage whilst lifting them up. Imagine that you are stopping yourself from urinating and passing wind at the same time.

Try finding the correct muscles by attempting to stop the flow of urine when using the bathroom. Make sure you only do this once or twice as it may cause you to retain urine, which can cause infection.

When you have found the pelvic muscles, relax and empty your bladder fully.

Another way to check that you are exercising the correct muscles is to put a couple of fingers into your vagina. You should feel a slight squeeze on your fingers when you contract during the exercises.

You may still be unsure whether you are performing your exercises correctly, in which case you can try the following methods:

  • Use a mirror to see your pelvic floor contracting. You should see an inwards lifting of the perineum away from your mirror, not a downwards movement.
  • If appropriate, ask your significant other if he can feel you tighten around him whilst lovemaking.
  • Place a hand on your perineum, which is the area between the vagina and anus. Whilst squeezing, you should feel it move inwards and upwards then loosen when you relax.
  • Sit on a rolled towel whilst performing Kegel exercises to heighten the sensations and make you more aware of the squeezing and relaxing motions.
  • Place a finger on the end of your coccyx (tailbone) and as you squeeze your pelvic floor you should feel it move forward slightly.

How to Perform Kegel Exercises Correctly

1) FORM

  • Your pelvic floor should not move downwards
  • Your spine should stay straight and stable
  • Your buttocks, abdomen and thighs should not contract when you squeeze
  • You should feel muscles loosen when you relax
  • All of your muscles above your stomach should stay relaxed
  • Don’t hold your breath whilst performing the exercises
  • Don’t bear down or push when squeezing
  • Focus completely on the muscles you are exercises

Top pelvic floor muscle isolating positions:

  –Try sitting in a chair with legs wide apart, torso leaned forward, and arms resting on your legs.

-Try kneeling on the floor with your buttocks resting on your heels, torso leaned over thighs and arms out in front of your or by your sides.

2) KNOW YOUR SQUEEZES

Slow contractions increase strength

Fast contractions help muscles cope with pressure

3)  BEGIN

Happy medium– squeeze for 3 seconds and then relax for 3 seconds. Repeat 10 to 15 times.

Repeat this routine at least three times a day.

4)  ADVANCE AND MAINTAIN

When you have mastered the Happy Medium routine, incorporate the fast and slow squeeze routines below.

Fast– Squeeze and release the pelvic floor muscles 10 times in a row, try to complete this in 15 seconds

Slow– Squeeze muscles for a hold of around 5 seconds and release. Again, repeat 10 times and try to aim for 50 seconds to complete the set.

Keep increasing of seconds per squeeze for the Happy Medium until you can easily complete 10, 10 second contractions back to back, remembering to relax for 10 seconds between each squeeze.

5) PERFORM after childbirth

Following childbirth, your pelvic floor muscles are usually weakened and it is vital to perform pelvic floor exercises often throughout each day. Pelvic floor strength will vary from individual to individual so don’t feel disappointed if you cannot get the hang of the exercises immediately. Keep trying and eventually they will become second nature.

After locating your muscles (following vaginal delivery, make sure you wait until you have no perineal discomfort before trying finger insertion), as described above, you can start by doing:

  • 6-8 repetitions of 4-5 second holds resting briefly in between each squeeze. Try to squeeze as strongly as you can.
  • Follow with 10 fast squeezes (squeeze and lift quickly and tightly and then let go).
  • Take a break then repeat this again. You should complete 2 sets in total.

Aim to do this all at least 3-4 times per day. If you find this difficult and cannot feel your muscle “relax” after each squeeze, then you may need to start with even shorter holds (2-3 seconds) and even less repetitions (4-5).

As your pelvic floor muscles become stronger you can slowly increase the length of your holds and repetitions. It is vital that you contract and hold the muscles before and during certain physical actions to counteract any detrimental effect on your progress. Sneezing, laughing, or lifting can put pressure on the abdomen and subsequently pressure on the pelvic floor muscles.

Whenever you lift your little one, the pram, or his nappy bag be sure to squeeze your pelvic floor “in and up”. A good technique to remember the upward movement is to think of each squeeze as an elevator going up floor by floor. Remember to ‘squeeze when you sneeze’.

Try to schedule a few minutes each day to really focus on the exercises. For beginners, it’s easiest to perform pelvic floor exercises when lying on your side or Your back with your knees bent.

6) KEEP IT UP

Like any other muscle, you must use the pelvic floor regularly to avoid losing it. Carry on with the exercises until they become a natural part of your daily routine. Try to carry out exercises whilst doing routine tasks, like when you watch your favorite soap opera, brush your teeth, or eat meals.

When your usual routines become too easy or boring, consider downloading a smartphone application (app) specifically for Kegel exercises. There are many different apps with routines from beginner level to advanced. Remember to keep your form and isolate the correct muscles. Try not to over train. Speak to your gynecologist or general practitioner if you are experiencing any issues with tightness or inability to have a full bowel movement.

7) ENJOY!

As you perform your Kegel exercises correctly, you will reap the benefits by having a more fulfilled sex life, confidence and relief from symptoms that you may have been suffering with. Consider using an exercise log (smartphone apps may also be used) to keep track of your sessions and progress. You may use the sample log below and print copies to record progress weekly. You will be at an advantage as you age by keeping your pride and independence and avoiding the use of incontinence aids which can be expensive and embarrassing to purchase.

Remember that you can perform Kegel exercises discreetly anywhere. If you are performing them correctly, no external muscles should contract and give you away.

Don’t be afraid to speak to your doctor, nurse or gynecologist about what you are doing. They can help you locate your pelvic floor muscles and assess the physical condition of the muscles before you begin your exercise program.

Enjoy your new found strengths between the sheets. Try performing squeezes during intimate moments, how you do so is up to you! You and your partner may begin to feel the difference in the tightness of your grip as you get fitter and this could improve your love-life dramatically, especially if you had been suffering with looseness and lack of sensation.

When you begin to achieve results by gaining strength, spread the word to your female friends and colleagues. Refer them to this how to guide and they too will be happy experts in no time. Sharing is caring! Continue to refer to this guide on how to perform Kegel exercises correctly from time to time in order to ensure you are on track and don’t slip into incorrect practices.

Sample Kegel Exercise Log

Monday

I spent ____ minutes exercising.

I exercised my pelvic muscles ____ times.

At each exercise session, I squeezed my pelvic muscles ____ times.

Tuesday

I spent ____ minutes exercising.

I exercised my pelvic muscles ____ times.

At each exercise session, I squeezed my pelvic muscles ____ times.

Wednesday

I spent ____ minutes exercising.

I exercised my pelvic muscles ____ times.

At each exercise session, I squeezed my pelvic muscles ____ times.

Thursday

I spent ____ minutes exercising.

I exercised my pelvic muscles ____ times.

At each exercise session, I squeezed my pelvic muscles ____ times.

Friday

I spent ____ minutes exercising.

I exercised my pelvic muscles ____ times.

At each exercise session, I squeezed my pelvic muscles ____ times.

Saturday

I spent ____ minutes exercising.

I exercised my pelvic muscles ____ times.

At each exercise session, I squeezed my pelvic muscles ____ times.

Sunday

I spent ____ minutes exercising.

I exercised my pelvic muscles ____ times.

At each exercise session, I squeezed my pelvic muscles ____ times.

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