how to do pelvic floor exercises

Pelvic Floor Exercise: Why & How To Tone Kegels

fact checked

This article was scientifically reviewed by Human Sexuality expert Dr. Laurie Mintz. She is a professor, researcher, private practitioner and Fellow of the American Psychological Association.

With all the lifting, stretching, running and sweating so many of us do at the gym however many times a week, we’re here to tell you about one muscle set you may be neglecting – at the expense of your sexual pleasure.

‘Oh no’, you’re probably thinking ‘not only am I being told that I’m not getting all the sensual enjoyment I deserve, but I have to exercise more, too?’ Hate to say it, but yes. However it’s not all bad; what we’re going to walk you through in today’s article is actually quite simple, and totally worth it.

So first things first; what’s this magical muscle that’s going to make your pleasure that much more prominent?

Enter the humble Kegel, which is the more widely-used term for your pelvic floor muscles. Kegel exercise is beneficial for men as well as women. Today’s tips are aimed more at the fairer sex. However, when it comes to the basic workout moves, they apply to both sexes. Doing pelvic floor exercises (correctly) right, pose valuable benefits that go well beyond pleasure and include, but are not limited to the following:

Easier Arousal

Exercising and having healthy Kegels will increase blood flow to your entire pelvic region, which will help you to get more fully aroused and ready for lovemaking, which in turn makes your orgasm much more likely to happen!

More Urinal (and Fecal) Continence Control

A number of women, especially after childbirth and during advanced years of age, experience ‘dribbling’ from time to time, be it when they laugh, sneeze or cough. Think of your pelvic floor as a hammock that runs from your tailbone to the front of your pelvis; they help to support and hold a number of your organs including your bladder, keeping it in check while you stay in totally control.
Faster recovery from childbirth and preparation for pregnancy: doing Kegel exercises before or after childbirth can help you to overcome or avoid the aforementioned leakage, and have you feeling more like your pre-delivery self much faster. Because childbirth can take such a toll on your pelvic floor muscles, some women experience lessened arousal and enjoyment from sex after pregnancy. Your pelvic muscles are responsible for the contractions you feel during climax, meaning if they’re in shape, your orgasms will be, too!
With reasons and benefits like these, you might be asking yourself ‘why in the world am I not exercising my Kegels?’ But we’re going to ask you to slow down a bit, because first we’ve got to answer the question ‘how do I exercise my Kegels?’ (which is what you should have asked first, BTW).

Locating Your Kegels

Perhaps one reason why our Kegels go ignored is because making sure that you’re working the right muscles can be tricky. To make sure that you’re wasting no effort and exercising the correct muscles, start by placing two fingers in your vagina and squeezing on them with your vaginal muscles. Those are the muscles we’ll be focusing on in the workout tips to come.

Exercising Your Pelvic Floor

There currently exist several methods for exercising your pelvic floor and strengthening your Kegel muscles. A number of women use Kegel exercise weights, which are worn within the vagina and held there until the muscles are strong enough to graduate to heavier and heavier weights. Less commonly is the practice of electro stimulation, during which an electrical current is run through your pelvic region, causing your muscles to twitch, flex and tense. 

Before trying either of these, check with a pelvic floor physical therapist, as many do not advise the weights. In fact, while this article can be a helpful starting place for Kegel exercises, it’s always advisable to make at least one appointment with a pelvic floor physical therapist to make sure you are doing the exercises correctly. Additionally, if you have any type of pain with penetration or vulva/vaginal pain in general, Kegels are not advised but seeing a sexual medicine MD and a pelvic floor physical therapist is – in this case, it is loosening and not tightening the muscles that the therapist will work on. This is why doing tightening exercises on your own if you have pain can cause more problems.

The method we’re going to focus on, however, is the manual one, in which you, without any exercise aides, work your muscles into shape.

Since you’re just starting out, try your first few workout sessions lying on your back. After emptying your bladder, lie down flat on your back with your knees up and shoulder width apart.

Now, tense those muscles you found earlier. Flex for five seconds, and then release for five seconds. Repeat this as many as four or five times in a row for your first exercise session, and repeat this process once a day until you feel comfortable and strong enough to do more than one session a day.

Another exercise is to flex these muscles for 5–10 seconds quickly and in a row. 

Ideally, you will graduate to three sessions of 10-second repetitions every day. It may take a while, and you may not notice results after the first few days, but when you do notice them, you’ll be glad you stuck with the program!

Any questions?

When Should I Do My Kegels?

One of the great things about pelvic floor exercises is that you don’t need to be at the gym to do them. In time as you become more and more comfortable and confident that you’re tensing the right muscle set, you can do you exercise routine any time at all – even while writing an article about doing Kegel exercises!

I’m Not Sure I’m Doing Them Right – Now What?

Still, again, never hesitate to consult a pelvic floor PT for their expert opinion, because that’s what they’re there for. They can offer you some very helpful tips to make sure you’re focusing on the correct muscles. You can find a pelvic floor PT at https://pelvicrehab.com/.

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